Dave Reneke | A good month for stargazers

Do you read your stars? Do you follow their advice? If so you’re into astrology, not astronomy.

A lot of people get these two terms mixed up and it’s easy to do when you think that they both have their origins in the stars overhead.

Astronomy is a science that deals in factual observation, the study of the heavens and how we got here. The two don‘t readily get along.

Not many people realize this but astronomers don’t peer though telescopes anymore, it’s all done remotely from air conditioned rooms. How times have changed.

Amateur astronomers on the other hand still haul their scopes out in to the sticks, often travelling for hours to find pristine dark skies.

“They have been responsible for several important discoveries in the past few years,” said Dave Reneke from Australasian Science magazine.

JUST LOOK UP: Stargazing is fun and lets you escape the troubles of the world for a while.

JUST LOOK UP: Stargazing is fun and lets you escape the troubles of the world for a while.

“One day an amateur astronomer may be the first one to warn us of an approaching asteroid on a collision course with Earth, if one’s out there.”

OK all you budding sky watchers, grab your telescopes. Take a peek around sunset and look west, you’ll see brilliant Venus, the ‘evening star,’ blazing brightly.

It will continue to light up the morning twilight till after all stars have been washed from the sky. 

“If you miss it don’t sweat, it’ll still be there for a couple more weeks,” Dave said.  “This month, Venus will begin to make its way towards the horizon, joined by the red planet Mars which can be found sitting just above it.”

Standing outdoors, mesmerized by our night sky on a summer’s night or early morning, you might just forget all about the political dramas going on for awhile. At least the stars make sense. The full Moon and Venus are the brightest objects in the night sky this week.

Here’s a cool tip, download an amazing phone app called Sky View.

“It’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever used in astronomy. Simply point to anything in the night sky and it will tell you what it is,” Dave said. “Ask and it will find planets, stars and constellations for you in a matter of moments, plus it’s got tons of interesting facts and figures on astronomy.”

Want some more free stuff? Head to Dave’s website www.davidreneke.com and download a whole range of material.