10 Best Sights for Astronomy
The Moon: So close it can be seen with the naked eye, the Moon is the perfect target for the budding astronomer who wishes to try out his new telescope. Try and see how many of the seas (well, sea beds, at least) you can make out!
Jupiter: The largest planet in the Solar system, and quite possibly one of the most beautiful. Things to look out for are its massive array of moons (at least four are visible at any one time) and the Great Red Spot.
Saturn: Jupiter may be the largest planet, but Saturn is one of the most distinctive, thanks to its massive, beautiful rings. Definitely one of the first things an aspiring astronomer should look out for with his telescope.
Mars: Also known as the Red Planet, Mars is our closest neighbor. If you turn your gaze towards Mars, keep an eye out for the tallest mountain in the Solar System, Olympus Mons, and the 3,000 kilometer long Valles Marineris.
The Great Orion Nebula: Its official designation is Messier (M) 42, and it’s one of the brightest nebulae in the night sky, being visible to the human eye at night. Marvel at the multicolored flows of gas and dust, like mother of pearl done up in rainbow shades!
Crab Nebula: The Crab Nebula is actually the cosmic tombstone of a star that went supernova nearly a thousand years ago. It still shines with the colossal energies released in the explosion, and its core, the Crab Pulsar, still flares its power into the heavens, as though to remind the night of what it has lost.
The Pleiades: The Pleiades are known to cultures around the world as many things: the Subaru, to the Japanese, the Matariki, to the Maori, among others. They are one of the most unique collections of stars in the sky – nowhere else will you find such a collection of bright stars so close together.
Praesepe Open Cluster: Also known as the Beehive Cluster, the Praesepe cluster is famous for containing a higher star population than most other nearby clusters.
Hercules Globular Cluster: A massive collection of stars, the Hercules globular cluster is a worthy target for the astronomer who wishes to test his observation skills against a target that is large, but faint.
Andromeda Galaxy: As the closest galaxy to us, the Andromeda galaxy contains well over a trillion stars – more by far than our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Perhaps you can spend your free time seeing how many of them you can study!
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