Space: Stargazers look for the Milky Way in July!

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Milky Way (credit: Fairy Devices Inc.)

Milky Way (credit: Fairy Devices Inc.)

Florida Travel guide to the stars for July 2012

Astronomers, it’s time to get cosmic! The next few weeks are one of the best to see the Milky Way – remember you need to find a dark sky in order to stare at the galaxy we live in.

If you’re a stargazer or love the Universe in general, get out to a dark sky and enjoy!

Find a dark sky

You need to get away from city lights and find a location, where it’s dark enough to see the Milky Way. Once you arrive, give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the darkness. And since we have a full moon at the moment, you’ll want to wait a few days till the sky gets darker.

If you’re not sure where to go for a safe area to view the night sky, the South Florida Amateur Astronomy Association has a map of Florida observing locations such as the Fox Observatory in Markham Park.

What to look for

You’re not going to see the bright band of stars that photographs illustrate – this is done with special photo techniques and long exposure times. To the naked eye you’ll see a star cloud – it looks like a mottled cloud in the sky or a faint band of light, and is created by millions of stars that aren’t bright enough to be seen individually.

Constellations

If you can, try and spot the constellation, Scorpius. Follow the curve in the scorpion’s long tail till you reach the stinger. This is where you’ll see some of the brightest objects in the galaxy.

The Milky Way

The star cloud we referred to earlier, is representational of the Milk Way for most people and even amateur astronomers. Technically, we are in the Milky Way Galaxy so anywhere you look is part of it!

Tell us…

What’s your favorite event for staring at the stars?