Our sky notes are lovingly put together for you by our presenter, based on the monthly update element of some of our shows. You’ll need to come along to the planetarium for the full experience, but these are here to jog your memory and get you started. Just click on the month you want and get exploring!
How to Use our Sky Notes
Sky notes are put together per month and have the same layout. They start with a star chart, which is correct for certain times each night as detailed in the top left corner. As the month goes on, the sky slowly rotates from east to west, so the position in which you see the stars on one night will be repeated about 6 minutes earlier the next night. This amounts to about 3 hours over the course of a month. Visit In-the-sky.org for interactive star charts.
To use a star chart, hold it with the direction you are facing (north, south, east, west) at the bottom. The stars at the bottom of the chart will now mirror what you can see directly above the horizon in front of you. As you move up the chart, you move higher in the sky, with your zenith (the point directly above you) at the centre of the chart. The top of the chart shows the stars behind you, as if you were to crane your neck backwards and view them upside down! Turn the chart as you view different directions, so that the direction you are facing is always at the bottom (and hence the right way up!).
The rest of the sky notes detail what you can see this month, and when you can see it. There are a few suggestions of well-placed constellations, followed by when each planet is visible in the sky. This section also includes any planetary events such as conjunctions, and tells you when you can see them. The dates of each phase of the Moon are also stated, as well as any other interesting events that don’t fall under any other category. Some things will require binoculars or a telescope, but most of our sky notes consist of objects visible with the naked eye.