Cloudy skies! Nothing is more frustrating to astronomers. If you have an astronomy habit, what can you do on cloudy nights? One option – stay home and watch space movies, but how often can you watch “Star Trek” or “Star Wars?” Another option – plan for future clear nights. To do this, we use planetarium software. This computer software has information about objects and shows them on our computers. Planning is not nearly as satisfying as the real thing, but it goes a long way to help get the most out of opportunities under the sky.
Much of this software is a bit pricey, but there is a free program out there that anyone can download and use: Stellarium (stellarium.org). Give it a try.
To see the night sky, visit the Insperity Observatory on public night (except for cloudy nights), the first Friday of each month from sunset to 10 pm: humbleisd.net/observatory.
By Dr. Aaron B. Clevenson
Observatory Director, Insperity Observatory