Enjoying the night skies in the Upper Arkansas Valley is easy, even without equipment, Jim Konowitz, a former organizer of the Arkansas Valley Astronomical Society, said.
Konowitz said some of the best places to go for sky watching are to the tops of passes, such as Cottonwood Pass, for a panoramic view, or deep in a valley, for seeing most of the sky.
Light pollution can prevent some stars from being visible, so Konowitz recommended that viewers get away from towns and cities.
“Buena Vista’s kind of bad with the prison lights, but Salida’s OK,” he said.
To start enjoying the stars, Konowitz said sky watchers should learn the brightest constellations for each season, as well as moon phases.
“Each season has a different constellation that’s brightest. One way to start enjoying would be to learn the brightest starts and constellations and practice looking for them,” he said.
He also said over time the moon changes, ever so slightly, the place where it rises and sets, so learning the pattern and watching for it can help amateur astronomers enjoy the sky.
He said more events visible with the naked eye can be found online at seasky.org.
Konowitz said to keep an eye out for Ionids later in the year.
“Right now, you can see all these planets. Mars is very visible, even without a telescope,” he said.
With a telescope or binoculars, Konowitz said satellites and other, less visible planets can be seen.
For more information about where satellites in the sky are, Konowitz said to visit the website heavensabove.com.
Information about nightly events throughout the year can be found at earthsky.org.
“You don’t need equipment to enjoy the night sky – anyone can do it,” he said.