On Monday night the boarders headed up to the playing fields to stargaze. The forecast was for a clear crisp night but as they walked up in their warm coats and hats, it was evident that most of the sky was overcast with clouds.
Despite the cloudy skies, the group was able to spot two stars in the south and west and another bright star in the northwest. With the help of a star map app, they identified the bright star as Sirius, in the Canis Major constellation, and the planet as Jupiter. As the skies cleared, they could spot other constellations such as the Great Bear, Taurus, Cassiopeia, Pegasus, and Cygnus.
One of the questions that arose during the evening was why Sirius twinkled so much. The answer is that the light from the star becomes distorted as it travels through the Earth’s atmosphere, similar to how heat can make the air shimmer. This effect is more pronounced when Sirius is low on the horizon, as the light travels through more atmosphere.
Although the group did not see any satellites during the evening, they are looking forward to another star-gazing session in the future. They plan to lie down on blankets to get a full view of the sky and become more familiar with the constellations.
Overall, it was a successful first venture into star-gazing and the group is eager to have another experience later in the year.