The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 07, 1989, Page 10, Image 10

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    People wonder about stars -
Star-gazing is popular hobby, inspires sense ot awe
By Mick Dyer
Staff Reporter
Since the beginning of time,
people have fell an overwhelming
compulsion to look at the multi
tude of objects which fill the night
These objects were both the
subject of curiosity and inspiration
to generations of people all over
the world
And these objects that could be
seen but not touched had a very
real impact on people’s lives. From
very early on, sky-watchers de
tected patterns and repealing se
quences in the night sky.
During times when daily sur
vival was uncertain, these patterns
and sequences gave the universe a
sense of order and removed some
of the anxiety people had about
how little control they had over
their world. Subsequently, these
patterns and sequences were in
corporated into the mythological
framework of cultures around the
My, how things have changed.
Well, not really.
The human race doesn’t have
much more control over the planet
than it did during prehistory.
We’ve just developed a level of
technology that fools us into be
lieving so.
And we still look to the heavens
out of curiosity and for inspiration
For whatever reason, star-gaz
ing is a popular hobby.
Don Taylor, associate professor
of astronomy at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, said it is easy to
get started. All you need is a clear
sky and a star chart. He said star
charts that can be adjusted to dis
play a map of the evening sky
depending on the date and time of
night are available at some book
He also said he recommends
Sky and Telescope and Astronomy
magazines to provide information
to supplement the star chart. These
i r* Kife wWm %
‘One of the amaz
ing things is that
our eyes are sensi
tive enough to see
something several
million light years
away. It’s really
kind of marvel
magazines are available at most li
braries and some bookstores, he
“The advantage to these maga
zines is they also tell you when to
look at the planets, what phase the
moon is in, what you can expect to
see,” Taylor said. "Plus, they have
a lot of interesting things, if there is
a comet coming by or an eclipse.”
Taylor said there are three levels
of star-gazing: naked-eye viewing,
binocular viewing and telescope
viewing \ Ic said each level has ad
vantages and disadvantages.
For instance, Taylor said naked
eye viewing is a good way for be
fpnners to learn star names and
ocation, as well as constellations.
Taylor said if you know where to
look, you can even see our neigh
inning gaia^y, nuuiumiud, on
clear night. jj||
"One of the amazing things i.<B
that our eyes are sensitive enough®,
to see something several million®
light years away,” Taylor said "It’.®
really kind of marvelous.”
A light year is an astronomicaHj
unit of measure and equals the disaK
lance light travels in a year, n®
5,880,000,tXX),000 miles.
Of course, one of the disadvanB
tages of naked-eye viewing is th®;
lack of detail that can be seen wiling!
the unaided eye, Taylor said Bgg|
Taylor said with a pair of bin®,
oculars, star gazers can see son®
lunar features with some delai®§l!
follow the four bright moons ,
Jupiter, see globular clusters anBr
nebulae, as well as many moi®
“Comets, when they're aroun<Br
are often best seen with binoctflgjl
lars,” Taylor said.
With a small portable telescopM
'l aylor said the detail of what yt^gT"
can see is amazing He said with®
60 mm lens, star-gazers can of|B|
serve Jupiter’s moons and belHfe
Saturn’s rings, the polar cap dBj
Mars, many craters and other lunK
features, the Orion nebula asfBto
much more. m
“For about the price of a reasoB..,^
able stereo system, you can gcB
pretty nice telescope,” Taylor saj^TO
“It’s amazing to see what you <
see with them.” fjEj§B|
l aylor said star gazing can b »■
arouse and satisfy our sense ol sjBjg|
entific curiosity about the umverB
But star-gazing also can inspirB
sense of awe and wonder c
Would you like to communicate your thoughts and feelings
more effectively with others? Our group will help you to
become more direct and honest while respecting the rights
of others. We will meet for 8 weeks on Tuesdays, October
3-November 21,1:15-3:15. If interested, contact Sue at the
Counseling Center, 226 Administration, 472-3461.
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