THE night sky can fire up the imagination of children in a way few other subjects can.
Kids of all ages find it hard to resist the temptation to explore these jewels that glitter overhead in our dark western skies this time of year. So, what are you waiting for?
Few hobbies provide as much universal appeal as stargazing. It’s an activity that parents and children can enjoy together and it doesn’t require a lot of equipment to start. All you really need is a decent pair of binoculars , and they don’t have to be brand new. The ones in the closet right now will do!
What? It’s true, many parents are surprised to hear that, like telescopes, binoculars can be used effectively to find and study many deep space wonders like star clusters, comets and even distant galaxies. In fact, binoculars offer some clear advantages over the traditional telescope, especially when being used by kids.
Binoculars are lighter and require no assembly. This means it’s easy to take advantage of any clear evening sky. Just throw the strap around your neck and away you go. A pair of 7×50’s are OK but 10×50’s are better. Binoculars have a wider field of view than a telescope, so it’s easier to search the sky, and if you stumble across something really cool the wide view makes them easier to see and track .
Perhaps the most important benefit of binoculars for most families is the price. Binoculars are much less expensive than telescopes, you cane sky watch with your children without breaking the bank. In effect, you have two small telescopes right in your hand! For family whale watching or sporting events, your binoculars win out. Trying doing that with a telescope.
I just ducked outside while you were reading this to tell you Venus is now low in the south-west after sunset and ready to be called the ‘Christmas Star’ once again because of its brightness this time of year. Keep an eye out too for Mars, sitting almost due west at sunset. It’s the brightest object in this part of the sky and you simply can’t miss its reddish glow!
Hey, keep an eye out for the space station passing over the mid north coast this Thursday morning at 4.33am from the South and again on Friday morning at 3.43am but this time look more towards the South-west. Good luck!
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