I had every intention of doing a street program last night with the Moon, Gemini, Saturn as the featured showings. But when it came down to it I was just to tired from a busy day of work around the home and care of the family - besides clouds and haze had rolled in. Low and behold about 10 p.m. things cleared out some. I felt a evening of quiet contemplation with some of my old friends and buddies was in order - time to ponder and enjoy the simple things like the movement of the sky over an hour or how far is that star and what is it's Arabic name. I had my trusty astronomy chair, iced green tea, and backyard lighting off and I was ready to go! I had these items to guide me on my evening foray into the sky, my old things; Collins Guide Stars and Planets by Ian Ridpath held together with packing tape, Miller Star Wheel, and my all time favorite "The Star Guide" by Steven Beyer not so held together even with packing tape. Some newer things to enjoy like a fresh LED flashlight, June issue of Sky And Telescope, along with my new S&T Pocket Sky Atlas.
What a fun evening with the stars and constellations. I was remembering back to when I was 10 years old learning the sky for the first time. Seeing the seasonal change of the sky over just a few hours, learning the actual names of stars from the ancient cultures. Light years and star type or class did not mean to much back then, but the thrill of seeing and tracing the sky did. The sky became my best buddy and friend and has remained so ever since. Sometimes it is good to just get out to watch the movement of the sky and not get to complex with it. Just enjoy it. I know where the constellations are at just about anytime, but let's use the Miller Star Wheel anyway to relive the past and enjoy the present. I love the turning of the sky! Beyer's book assigns a star to seek out during the evenings of each month and I proceed to seek out these stars assigned to April and May; Arcturus, Izar, Eta Draconis, Giena, Alphecca, Spica, Rastaban, Zeta Herculis. With the help of my trusty aids I rediscover their type, sizes, distences, temperatures ect. But the most important thing for me is seeing them and learning their names handed down from the past! They are life long friends who are there all the time, in season and out. They are waiting for us to go and discover them.