Stargazing: Beautiful Scenery that is Everywhere by @_NancyRadke

The joys of stargazing and cloud-watching are that they go with you wherever you are, as long as you can see the sky. Summer, winter, the season doesn’t matter nor does the surrounding landscape. What does affect stargazing is the amount of light on the ground, or if there is a full moon, which hides the stars around it.

Stargazing

If you are in a city with many lights, it is difficult to see more than a few stars. But get away from the city and the sky reveals that it is covered with stars everywhere. In Alaska, the stars were often joined by the Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights decorate the night sky with beauty and color. This is especially lovely during the dark winter months when we only have a few hours of sunshine.

The Joy of Stargazing

Stargazing was probably one of my greatest joys when growing up on a ranch. I used to sleep outside during harvest time so that I could look at the stars. They rotate around the North Star, so that the Big Dipper acts like the hands of a clock. I used to be able to tell time by them, since I saw them so often. When I rode my horse at night, which I often did, I would try to see how close I could come to the actual time by reading the star rotation. The same can be done with the sun during the day.

Cloud-watching is best done with cumulus clouds. The big fluffy kind that lets you imagine figures and landscapes, and that constantly change as you watch them. Teach your children the names of the different kinds of clouds, the names of some of the stars, and the constellations. No matter where they are in the world, the information will enrich their lives. If they travel to the Southern Hemisphere, the stars will rotate in the opposite direction and there will be different constellations, but the basic knowledge will get them started.

Star Rotation

I usually mention the stars in my western books. The pioneers used the stars to set their directions, placing the wagon tongue at night to point north.

Nancy Radke