monthly skyguide, free star charts, constellation star charts, sky guide

Observing the Night Sky

Making practical observations of the night sky is a great way to extend a casual interest and make a real contribution to your understanding of astronomy. On occasions, your observing log may be of interest to professional astronomers attempting to piece together a complex and rare event (e.g. a supernova, comet or fireball). This symbiosis of amateur and professional is vital - amateurs can trawl large areas of sky each night whereas the professionals have to bargain for telescope time and dedicate this to very specific searches. Many comets and novæ (new stars) have been discovered by amateurs in the last century, the most famous UK amateur being George Alcock who has 5 comets and 5 novæ under his belt and he only ever uses binoculars to find them.

This section covers the basic skills you will need to master in order to make scientific observations:

You may download pre-prepared observing sheets (in acrobat format) from the download section of this website

Page last modified on 2005-01-20 © S.R.Parkinson 2004