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    Re: Star finding techniques
    From: Greg Rudzinski
    Date: 2016 Apr 21, 13:14 -0700


    Civil twilight is the best time to identify navigational stars and planets. There is less visual clutter during this period. A pair of 7x50mm binoculars will help to see early twilight bodies. Jupiter can be identified with it's orbiting moons. Venus is way bright with a hint of it's phase visible. Stars twinkle and planets don't. Prominent northern constellations are Ursa Major (Big Dipper), Cassiopeia and Orion (The Hunter). The lead star of the Big Dipper is Dubhe and serves as a pointer to Polaris (Pole Star) of Ursa Minor (Little Dipper). The three stars in a row known as Orion's belt serve as a pointer to Sirius (Dog Star) the brightest star. The Big Dipper handle serves as a pointer to Arcturus (The Bear Watcher).

    That should get you started if viewing from north latitudes. Oh and Aldebaran is the bright star of Taurus on the opposite side of Orion's belt away from Sirius.

    Greg Rudzinski

    From: Bill Lionheart
    Date: 2016 Apr 21, 17:18 +0100

    Thanks Frank your brain gym idea made me think. Being in my 50s I try the exercise my brain with new tasks like trying to get good enough at morse  to have a descent CW conversation. More relevant to NavList, I am having a go at learning to recognise the navigational stars. When I first did the RYA YM ocean course  in the 1980s I had a wonderful teacher who would look up and see a star peep briefly from clouds of  the Oxfordshire sky and say " that is Aldebran " without any other reference points. How do I aquire that skill? Of course she learnt it from continuous practice on ocean passages. Any tips from the experts? I have yet to do any really long passages and the sky is rarely clear where I live in Derbyshire.


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