can we see in the sky?
If people living in towns
in England today look up at the sky, if it is
not too cloudy or smoky they may see
What we see in the Night Sky varies hour by hour, day by day, month by month and year by year. So if we want to know what we can see in the sky on any particular night we need a special Night Sky map. You can download this special map from the BBC Sky at Night web site, and also lots of other places - this Map is updated on the 1st of each month.
- The Sun (during the day) but never look directly at the Sun
Moon (sometimes, at night or in the morning or evening)
few of the very brightest fixed stars (some every night but not
always the same stars)
- The naked-eye planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter (at least one every
night, but very seldom all five on the same night)
- Comets (sometimes,
- Shooting stars (a few most nights if you watch
carefully and are patient)
Until about two hundred and fifty years
ago most people in England lived in villages rather than towns
and the air was much cleaner and there were no street
lights. Children then would have seen far more stars than we
can, all night every night. The Night Sky is still one
of the most wonderful sights in the whole world if you
see it away from towns with their street lights and polluted
air - it is best of all in the desert.
© Barry Gray May 2007