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By Cheryl Bac

Enjoying the night sky

Uploaded: Jul 16, 2020

When I heard about the Neowise comet earlier this week, it brought back memories from summer in up north Wisconsin. I remember going down to the lake in the middle of the night with my grandfather. He had set up a telescope at the end of his pier. I don’t remember what he showed me through the telescope, but I was awestruck by the spectacular sky. The stars in the Northwoods rarely disappoint, but that night was truly sensational.

This week I showed our kids some of the amazing images of the Neowise comet. I don’t think we’ll be able to see it well, if at all, from our home, so we decided to focus our stargazing on Jupiter, Saturn and the Big Dipper.

Our kids really enjoyed checking out the night sky right from the comfort of our home. We didn’t need any special equipment and we didn’t need to wake up in the middle of the night. However, they had such a great time that they asked me to wake them up at 4:30 to see Mars and Venus. Sadly I think it will be too cloudy for that adventure.

I don’t know much about astronomy, but I found out about stellarium-web.org and it has been extremely helpful. We’ve all greatly enjoyed the positive distraction from the coronavirus. And while I hope to one day take our kids to a quiet lake to appreciate the night sky in its full glory, it’s nice to be reminded that we can still see many wonderful planets and stars while we are stuck at home.