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Can't identify a star.

  1. Aug 29, 2008 #1
    I have always been facinated with the stars. I have never been actually able to identify them though. I guess I hadn't much care considering they all look quite similar to the naked eye.

    Today I was outside looking at the stars, and though there were a number of stars out there, the house lights made the majority of them look dim. One star did stand out though, and this was pretty bright.

    The star was facing South about 38 degrees off the horizon at 10pm EST. This is relative to FL, USA. It cannot be the North star becasue it is in the South, and it cannot be venus becasue Venus isn't underneath the Earth.... It had an intensely high magnitude. It didn't twinkle, and just to make sure its not a satalite, I'll check on it's position in a bit.

    Can anyone please help me to identify this bright celestial object? Maby step out on your decks, and take a look?


  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2008 #2
    Ok. Just checked, and it's gone. There are clouds out now though, so i'm not sure if they just covered it up, or if it was a satalite and flew away... It's been about an hour since I last viewed it.
  4. Aug 29, 2008 #3


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    Satelites are generally moving (geostationary sats are too faint)
    Saturn is visible at the moment. Check out http://www.nightskyinfo.com/
  5. Aug 29, 2008 #4


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    What you are describing is probably Jupiter. It is a magnificent sight, isn't it?
    If you look at it in some binocs you might just be able to make out the 4 visible moons all lined up.

    Check it out in a telescope if you can and you will see several dark bands across the disc of the planet.
  6. Aug 29, 2008 #5


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    Saturn is visible just after sundown (looking due west) for only an hour or so this time of year.
  7. Aug 29, 2008 #6
    It's probably Jupiter. Now, Jupiter is the brightest in the sky (except for Venus), and it tends to the south.
  8. Aug 29, 2008 #7
    Oh, ok. That explains it. Thanks!
  9. Aug 29, 2008 #8


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    The best way to learn the stars is to start with a naked eye astronomy book and begin to learn the constellations. When you have identified a constellation you can then find the names of the individual stars.

    Keep in mind that the planets move year to year, once you have learned the constellations you can watch the planets move across the sky.
  10. Aug 30, 2008 #9


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    Yes, it is almost certain to be Jupiter. Jupiter is about 40 degrees up at sunset, in the south (viewed from the US) and is brighter than anything else in the sky except Venus (which isn't up right now).

    Saturn is not very bright and you wouldn't notice it without someone pointing it out to you.
  11. Aug 31, 2008 #10
  12. Sep 11, 2008 #11
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