This Week's Astronomy Video

IC4756 & NGC6633: Two oft-overlooked jewels of the summer sky

Two beautiful - and large! - open clusters of the night sky reside in a somewhat star-poor area of the sky. However, with a decent finderscope, both can be found easily by hopping through three constellations - Aquila, Serpens and Ophiuchus. Due to their size, wide field, "fast" focal ratio telescopes utilizing eyepieces with long focal lengths (or moderate ones with very wide apparent fields of view) are best for viewing these, short of using some of the "giant" astronomy binoculars - good 15x70, 20x80 or 25x100 binocs are also suitable.

Along the way, the double star Theta Serpentis serves not only as a guide post to the open clusters, but as a target itself! The stars may be more challenging to see in this swath of the Milky Way that contains few really bright stars from our perspective, but the time spent hunting down IC 4756 and NGC 6633 are well worth the effort. Check them out this week while the Moon revolves over on the morning side of the sky. 

For a detailed read on starhopping to IC 4756, see this link.

More information about Theta Serpentis - a double that's actually a triple star.

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The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Amateur Astronomy

Are you a beginner to amateur astronomy? Start here.

Are you new to all this amateur astronomy, stargazing, learning the stars and constellations and telescope stuff? Eyes on the Sky's "Ultimate Guide to Telescopes and Amateur Astronomy" can have you up to speed on all the basics of finding your way around the night sky, types of telescopes and accessories and those confusing-looking equatorial mounts in about an hour's worth of time.

Linked in to any social media sites? Eyes on the Sky is there too - please follow, like and most importantly share/retweet Eyes on the Sky videos so we can educate about both the night sky AND light pollution issues:

Eyes on the Sky astronomy videos are now closed captioned, allowing for translation into 58 languages as well as benefiting people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Or, watch at work! (Just don't tell your boss.)

Poorly aimed lighting that provides neither security nor safety"Dark-sky friendly lighting fixtures"

I talk about dark sky friendly lighting fixtures a lot - I mention them in most every video, in fact.  But what are they? Find various types of dark sky friendly lighting fixtures here, or try these lighting manufacturers - and if you still have trouble locating them, contact me.  

NEW AS OF JANUARY 2013: The U.S.-based home improvement store Lowes now carries dark sky friendly lighting with the IDA seal of approval - look for them in your store. Got a neighbor with a light shining in your bedroom or window somewhere in your home?  Here's how to approach neighbors about poorly shielded lighting.  You can also find the silver-crown light bulbs highlighted in previous "Dark Sky Facts" from these online retailers:  

"The astronomy field needs more energetic promoters like David. Congratulations to him, and I urge the rest of you to give him your support." - Dave Eicher, Editor - Astronomy magazine


Support "Eyes on the Sky" and light pollution reduction

Making "Eyes on the Sky" every week isn't free.  Not only do I spend 10 to 12 hours on each 5-6 minute video by the time I research, write, shoot, create graphics, edit and upload each video, but some graphics, music, costumes and other things I add all cost money.  So I'd ask one of two things from you: Please either change your own outdoor lights and encourage your neighbors to do the same, or donate a bit towards my efforts to spread the word through these videos.  Even as little as $5 helps - yes, really - but what would help more is a monthly subscription of $3 a month.  That's only $0.69 an episode!  And you don't even need a Paypal account; you can donate or subscribe with any major credit card you see in the button graphic.  Thank you - I appreciate your support!

Star Charts

Eyes on the Sky has free star charts you can download and use to see 'what's up!'

Not enough you say?  No problem!  Learn the stars that you can see each season of the year - even from light polluted areas - with these guides that take you through the constellations step by step in winterspringsummer and autumn

There are a lot of great free software options such as Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel, plus incredibly useful apps for smart phones such as SkEye (for Android) and perhaps the single best of them all, Sky Safari (available on both Android and Apple).