chazzbanner (chazzbanner) wrote in little_details,

amateur astronomy

I have a couple of characters who are camping, in early autumn, and one of them has brought along a telescope - will do some 'star hopping', showing the other a few of the wonders of the skies. Naturally the story doesn't stay there :-) but I need the set-up!

I've used wikipedia and found links on telescopes, amateur astronomy and star-hopping. I also have my own field guide to the stars, so I know what constellations are in the sky in early October, and what celestial objects (Andromeda Galaxy, a famous double star, Pleiades).

I'm assuming for my purposes that the moon won't come out until very late, so... I know all about constellation charts, but how would the astronomy buff know what planets are visible, at what time? A monthly gazeteer of planet motions! like an almanac, or somewhere online that I don't know about? The other guy might ask how the heck he knows all this, and I want to give him an answer. :-)

I'm thinking Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Is it plausible for fictional purposes that all three of them would be in the sky (at a particular latitude) at the same hour, or would it be more realistic for a comment to be made, 'and so-and-so will rise later tonight. '

He'll have a tripod, that's important. Is there anything else to worry about? No problem with light pollution here.

Thanks in advance.

ETA: thanks for all your input!
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