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Skywatch for the week of December 5, 2022

Skywatch Monday 12-5-2022.mp3

Mon Dec 5, 2022 WHY BUY A TELESCOPE?

You can spend lots of money buying a telescope and then be unhappy with the results. Before you buy one, ask yourself: what do you expect the telescope to do? Most small telescope views fall far short of the incredible images that we get from great observatories or space telescopes. So why buy a telescope? Well one of the principle joys of the telescope is the excitement of finding these objects in the sky, and knowing that they really are out there. A good starter telescope is a Newtonian reflector with a 6 inch mirror on a Dobsonian mount, which uses big one and a quarter inch eyepieces. Such a scope should cost between 200 – 400 dollars. Begin your research on the internet, or e-mail me at jbell@irsc.edu for advice.

Skywatch Tuesday 12-6-2022.mp3

Tue Dec 6, 2022 FIRST TELESCOPE PURCHASE

Big box stores and department stores are great places to buy a lot of things, but when I buy a telescope, I don’t go there. Yard sales often have telescopes, but there’s a good reason why they’re in a yard sale, and it’s probably that those particular ‘scopes are hard to operate. Look out for flimsy tripod legs or cheap aluminum and plastic bolt-and-wingnut attachments from the tripod to the tube. A good starter telescope is actually a pair of binoculars, which cost under a hundred dollars. If you mount them to a camera tripod you can aim them just like a regular telescope. Then consider getting a Newtonian reflector with a 6 inch mirror on a Dobsonian mount. Begin your research on the internet, or e-mail me at jbell@irsc.edu for advice.

Skywatch Wednesday 12-7-2022.mp3

Wed Dec 7, 2022 GIOTTO AND THE STAR OF WONDER

In the year 1301, the Italian artist Giotto di Bondone saw a comet. It was bright and glorious, but it had no name; centuries later it would be called Halley’s comet. In 1305, Giotto painted a fresco called, “the Adoration of the Magi,” which can still be viewed in the Arena Chapel in Padua, Italy. Above the Creche, Giotto painted Halley’s comet, portraying it as the nativity star. Could the comet have been the star? This weekend Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium will investigate, in its thirtieth annual presentation of “Star of Wonder.” Shows are on Friday night at 7 and 8:30 pm, and on Saturday afternoon at 1 and 2:30 pm. Call the IRSC Box office at 462-4750, between 11 am and 3 pm today through Friday.

Skywatch Thursday 12-8-2022.mp3

Thu Dec 8, 2022 DECEMBER FULL MOON

Today the full moon rises at sunset. You’ll find it to the east of a bright, red starlike object – the planet Mars, within the borders of the constellation Taurus. December’s full moon is known as the Big Winter Moon – that’s according to the Creek and the Seminole Indians. To the Algonquin Indians and to colonial settlers, this is the Long Night Moon, another reference to the beginning of winter, when days are short and nights are long. The Sioux call this the Moon of Popping Trees, perhaps because the cold air freezes water, causing the trees to crack and pop. The Winnebago name it the Big Bear’s Moon, and the Cheyenne say it is the Moon When the Wolves Run Together - pack hunters searching for food before the snows of winter.

Skywatch Friday 12-9-2022.mp3

Fri Dec 9, 2022 STAR OF WONDER 2

Tonight and tomorrow afternoon, Indian River State College’s Hallstrom Planetarium will feature its thirtieth annual presentation of "Star of Wonder". In this program we use the planetarium to show you what the skies looked like from Judea over two thousand years ago, to see if we can discover the Nativity star, referred to in the gospel of Saint Matthew. We’ll look at sky phenomena such as comets, meteors and planets. And if skies are clear tonight, the Treasure Coast Astronomical Society will set up their telescopes after the shows so that we can view three planets – Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars - on the south lawn of the Planetarium. To get tickets for “Star of Wonder,” call the IRSC Box office at 772-462-4750, between 11 am and 3 pm today.