Planispheres: Guide To The Night Sky

Essay by ages_1College, UndergraduateA+, November 2002

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For my observational paper I wanted to do something different, but yet simple,

something that would state that you don't need a lot of money, or special equipment to

indulge into astronomy and actually enjoy it. I looked into maybe buying a small

telescope, but I thought I would get creative. So began my research into what ancient

astronomers used for stargazing, and what sailors would use as navigational tools. My

research led me to, what is now, a modern planisphere. I also searched on the Internet for

some sites that would show how to build and use a planisphere, but just in case I

wouldn't be able to build my own, I bought an inexpensive one at the local museum. In

addition to the planisphere, I also bought a star map, which in case I couldn't find a

certain star or constellation, I could use the map to offer me an extra guide.


observations took me on drives to Griffith Park, near the Observatory, for my nightly

stargazing. On one occasion I did borrow a telescope to try and catch a glimpse of Saturn,

and for the astronomical event of the year, which is the Leonid meteor shower early on

Tuesday morning, November 19.

On that Tuesday morning, I saw what was certainly the most fabulous meteor

shower any of us will ever see in our entire lifetimes rains down on earth. That Tuesday

morning I planned my observing location, along with my Astronomy Lab class. One

night I tried searching for Saturn, which is a bright planet and normally it would stand out

conspicuously, but bright stars surrounded it and you have to know which one it is. It's in

the northern part of Orion roughly in the middle of a large circle of stars, and...