Hidden In the Stars

January 25, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

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Have you ever taken the time to look up? Not at the ceiling but at the beautiful night sky. Those sparkly shimmering lights are not Unidentified Flying Objects but stars, our awe-inspiring galaxy.

The Milky Way is the derived name for our barred spiral galaxy, yes it does sound like a little ice-cream float however it is about 100-400 billion stars, roughly 100,000-180,000 light years in diameter.

It is a tough pill to swallow when you allow yourself to truly think about how much bigger our ‘sky’ now appears. Now think about how cosmically profound the existence of other planets are. Hyperventilating yet? Before you grab that paper bag and start chanting your ‘happy place’ song, take the time to acknowledge that “the only thing to fear is fear itself”. There is a blissful quality to ignorance, wrap foil around your head (so the aliens cannot read your mind), sit and wait for an invasion or buy a telescope and empower yourself with celestial knowledge.

Tele-what? Well, you can enjoy the star-lit sky with the naked eye basking in the romantic illusion of whimsy but if you want to accurately gauge the fathomless depths of the heavenly bodies above then you need the proper tools. A telescope is an optical instrument intended to make obscure objects appear larger than life using either, the refracting telescope method: which uses lenses or the reflecting telescope method: which uses mirrors, to garner and converge light.

Take a journey that will blow your mind as you view the world through the eye of your telescope and learn about your home outside your home.

One such mind-blowing nugget happens on the 6th June 2015 which is a celestial event of note: The planet Venus will be at its Greatest Eastern Elongation. Venus, contrary to popular belief, is not where woman come from even if it is a scorching hot and temperamental planet, the irony is sheer coincidence. Venus is a light reflecting planet also known as the morning or evening ‘star’, the second planet from the sun and as big as the earth, size being the only common denominator. When a Venus year is calculated in our time it is approximately 243 days long and it rotates slowly on its axis in the opposite direction to the earth. This planet reflects orange and appears bright because the surface is wrapped in between 28-43 miles of sulphuric acid (car battery acid) clouds. The surface of the waterless planet is lava-like rock and the extreme temperatures are amplified by Carbon Dioxide which is the gas that confines heat from the sun. Add the atmospheric pressure to Venus that’s 90 times stronger than the earths and you will have a ‘hell’ of a time.

Seriously wouldn’t you love to get a glimpse of this planet? Obviously from the safety of your own home, that is unless you have a death wish and a rocket ship. The hype of the celestial event on the 6th June 2015 is all about getting a decent look at Venus, either through a refracting telescope or a reflecting telescope instead of just wishing you worked at NASA.

Venus at Greatest Eastern Elongation sounds complicated but just means that the orbital path of Venus to the sun is at the perfect angle to be viewed by the avid star gazer on Earth at sunset. So go on, check out telescope reviews for good telescopes then immerse yourself in astronomy instead of your problems and find purpose within the stars.