WE HAVE STARS IN OUR EYES
One of our favorite summertime activities is stargazing on the beach. Luckily in Cayman, we get to experience summer all year round. Imagine this: sitting on one of the island’s many beautiful beaches, listening to the soft lapping of the waves while staring into the night sky with countless stars twinkling above you. You can smell the saltiness of the sea air as a warm tropical breeze caresses your skin. It doesn’t get more magical than this.
At our Beach House, one of the newest activities that we offer guests is the chance to stargaze with a knowledgeable guide. Exploring the night sky is a fun activity for kids of all ages and it is such a wonderful way to spend time together as a family.
From 7pm on Saturday, November 29th we are looking forward to welcoming celestial tour guide extraordinaire, Chris Cooke of the Cayman Islands Astronomical Society, who will be offering very useful information on stargazing and pointing out what we can see from our perspective in Grand Cayman – from the Andromeda Galaxy to constellations such as Orion the Hunter and the Summer Triangle (just to name a few!)
We understand that at first stargazing can seem daunting. After all, there is a whole universe out there! So we are sharing five top tips (courtesy of EarthSky.org) to help you connect with the night sky and inspire you to join us for a night of cosmic exploration.
Just look up. Most of us go through life looking straight ahead. But you’ve got to look up to see stars. Taking a walk at night? Look at the sky. In your car? Look out the window. Going outside before sunrise for a run? Gaze toward the horizon. You get the picture. Notice bright objects. Notice patterns among the stars. Just start looking up and noticing.
Use a chart. The Internet is great, but a computer is an unwieldy companion on stargazing adventures. What you want is a printed chart. Start with the easy-to-use charts at EarthSky Tonight. These daily charts are geared toward beginners, and each one presents something interesting to spot in that night’s sky.
Notice patterns among the stars. Here’s how most stargazers learn constellations. They find a noticeable pattern, and then they notice another pattern nearby. They build outward, going from stars and patterns they know to new ones. Notice triangles, curves and straight lines of stars. Some of these noticeable patterns are the same ones our ancestors noticed while sitting around a campfire telling stories.
Link up with astro-friends. Check out astronomy clubs in your area. For us in Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands Astronomical Society (CIAS) is the best bet. Experienced members are good sources of advice and CIAS often hosts stargazing events around the island.
Be faithful to the sky. One of the great things about becoming a stargazer is that you make a lifelong friend: the sky itself. It’s a friend that lives right next door. And like any friend, the sky changes in subtle ways from day to day and year to year. So, once you start watching it, be patient. You can’t learn everything about your friend at once. Be persistent. Watch the sky a lot and watch regularly. You’ll learn by looking! And you’ll make a connection with nature that’ll last your whole life long.