The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction – and other things in the night sky

People are often looking for interesting things to do at night. Well, here’s a secret – you just have to go out and look at the sky. Believe me, there are some super wonderful things to see. Put the phone down and look up. Here, I will review all the best things to look at.

Should I use binoculars, a telescope or none?

First of all, let’s talk about telescopes and binoculars. I’ll go on and say it – if you don’t have a telescope, don’t worry about it right now. A beautiful telescope is expensive and you need to know what you are doing. In addition, it requires a certain configuration before using it every night.

What about the binoculars? The binoculars are wonderful. You can get a pair for not too much and you might use them even more than looking at the night sky. In addition, they are quite simple to use. Binoculars can do two useful things. First of all, they produce an enlarged image. If you look at the moon with binoculars, you can see many more details in the craters than just with the naked eye. Here’s a quick tip about the moon: Don’t look at a full moon. It’s super bright and you really can’t see too many details. If you are waiting for a beautiful crescent, you can see more shadows from the mountains and craters. Trust me.

Photos: Rhett Allain

The second thing that binoculars do is to increase the ability to gather light. Look into your eyes (use a mirror). Notice the size of your students. They’re not that big, are they? Oh, they get older when it’s dark. But all the light that your eyes detect must come through your eyes. Now look at the face of a pair of binoculars. Notice that the lenses are MUCH larger. This means that I can collect even more light. With a pair of binoculars, you can see things that are otherwise too faint to be detected with the naked eye in the dark sky. This is especially true if you are trying to see comets or nebulae.

Look at the planets

OK, let’s see some good things. Perhaps the best (and easiest) thing to see is the planets. With the naked eye, you can see five of the planets in our solar system (technically you can also see Earth). The visible planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. The remaining planets (Neptune, Uranus, Pluto) are too far away and too faint to see them without much patience and a beautiful telescope. That is, Neptune was not even discovered until 1846.