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Big Bear Lake Adventures

Wilderness Safaris, in and around Big Bear Lake

NIGHT SKIES at BIG BEAR

Hoffman Websites
Butchers Block
Nottinghams Tavern
Sonora Cantina

OBSERVING THE NIGHT SKIES

Our stargazing section is setup to help us find our way around the night sky, and understand what we are looking at.   It doesn’t matter why we head out into the wilderness, at night a whole new world of celestial wonders opens up overhead, just waiting to be explored.

When it comes to stargazing, information is more important than equipment, and If you’re new to Astronomy, I strongly suggest that you forget about telescopes, because unless you want to spend most your time observing the planets, there not worth the effort.

Before you begin looking up at the night sky, download or go buy a star chart.  Since the earth is constantly orbiting around the sun, the positions of the stars are slowly drifting across the sky to a different position each night.  So to keep from getting lost, you will need a different star chart for each month of the year.  When you get to your observing site, you will need to find out which direction north is located and orient your star chart accordingly.  Finally, go grab a pair of binoculars or small spotting scope, a flash light, and you are ready for a enjoyable evening of exploring the universe.

NAVIGATING THE SKY

Astronomers like to use right ascension and declination coordinate numbers to locate objects in the sky.  We’re not going to get into all that; instead we will be using what is called a star hopping method to find our way around.  It is a lot easier, and a whole lot more fun.

Each observing session we post at Big Bear Adventures.com will begin by selecting a starting point in the sky; usually it’s an easy to find constellation, which is a fancy word for a grouping of stars.  Once we have our constellation located everything else we look for will be simply north, south, east, or west of that starting point.

Deep sky objects are usually the most fascinating and intriguing objects in the sky, so that will be one of the first topics we will post.

BASIC EQUIPMENT –

1. Star Charts & Information – A little knowledge goes a long way to increasing your enjoyment when exploring the night skies. Without some basic information on how the sky works or how to find celestial objects, you’ll never be able to fully appreciate our universe.  So as we said earlier, go buy a star chart or star guide before you head out into the wilderness, and if you have a computer, or small personal electronic device such as an itouch, netbook, etc., take a minute and download information, about some of our favorite celestial objects that we will be posting.  Make sure to select a chart for the appropriate month of the year.  We will begin posting our monthly observing pages next week.

2. Binoculars – There are a lot of wonders for the naked eye, but a decent pair of binoculars will make the exploration of the night sky a lot more enjoyable.  Click here for some ideas as to which type of binoculars are best for astronomical viewing.

3. Flashlight – To read your star charts.

Okay, that’s it, you’re now armed, and ready to go discover the universe.  Happy hunting!

The Andromeda galaxy is the closest galaxy visible to us in the northern hemisphere. This "island universe" is actually visible to the naked eye, but only under dark skies away from city lights.

The Andromeda galaxy is the closest galaxy visible to us in the northern hemisphere,and is actually visible to the naked eye, but only under dark skies away from city lights. The image is a result of a timed exposure through a guided astronomical telescope. The image below is closer to what you should expect to see through binoculars or a small spotting scope.

Under dark skies, such as the wilderness around Big Bear, this is what Andromeda will look like through binoculars.

Under the dark skies in the wilderness around Big Bear, this is what Andromeda would look like through binoculars.

When the moon is up, the night sky is to bright to go hunting for deep sky objects, so use your binoculars or small scope to explore the moon.

When the moon is up, the night sky is to bright to go hunting for deep sky objects, so use your binoculars or small scope to explore the moon.

When the moon is up, the night sky is to bright to go hunting for deep sky objects, so use your binoculars or small scope to explore the moon.

When the moon is in one of it's partial phases, the mountains and craters along the rim stand out in stark relief.

If your looking for information on Big Bear’s fascinating history, visit theBig Bear History Site.Com or go to the Channel-6 website program guide.  Here you will find the dates and times for the various historical episodes on Channel-6’s Big Bear History Show.

BLT
Butchers Block
Nottinghams Tavern
Old Country Inn

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