Tomorrow I’m going to go do a little stargazing and hopefully come back with some new timelapse, startrails images, and maybe a little knowledge of telescopes depending on who all ends up at the Orionids Meteor Shower Star Party.
I found this free program called Stellarium that basically loads up an Ultrasweet 3D Ultramap of the sky… which you can do tons of helpful stuff with: you can enable/disable things like constallations (lines or drawings!), labels, satellite orbits, see through the Earth, or remove the atmospheric haze. You can zoom in on anything, you can click on anything and it tells you what it is, you can sort objects by type (planets/nebula/galaxies), and there’s a night mode so everything turns red (to save your nightvision if you’re using it outdoors at night). You can advance (or rewind) the time to anytime you like, and reposition yourself anywhere on Earth to see how the sky looks. Man! That’s just, like, badass!
It’s like Google Earth, for the sky. I’m pretty amazed that you can zoom way, way in and click on ANY star. I don’t know the last time you checked, but there are A LOT OF STARS in the sky.
I think I’ll be using this a bunch to learn more about the heavens. Seriously this is mondo-helpful. If you’re into the sky, even just a little bit, you gotsta check this out.