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Thread: Switching hemispheres

  1. #1
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    Red face Switching hemispheres

    No, I don't mean brain hemispheres. :-p

    Who here has traveled to either southern or northern hemisphere for the first time and, familiar with your native hemisphere's constellations, looked up at a mostly (aside from celestial equator overlap) unfamiliar sky?

    What was that like for you?

    I've imagined traveling to Australia (Cairns or Perth) and looking up. And being disoriented!

    Care to share your experience in this regard?
    Dip me in ink and toss me to the Poets.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    No, I don't mean brain hemispheres. :-p

    Who here has traveled to either southern or northern hemisphere for the first time and, familiar with your native hemisphere's constellations, looked up at a mostly (aside from celestial equator overlap) unfamiliar sky?

    What was that like for you?

    I've imagined traveling to Australia (Cairns or Perth) and looking up. And being disoriented!

    Care to share your experience in this regard?
    I went to Australia in 2006, but I don't think I got any chances to look at the night sky, because we spent the whole time in big cities; although I think Cairns, at the time, was small enough to enable some skywatching, but I sadly don't remember much, if at all. :/

    I do recall looking in Celestia a few years ago, seeing if I could find my favorite star from Cairns, which I could, but barely. I don't know if its highest point brings it above the horizon haze in Real life.

  3. #3
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    Done it a few times - I tend to look for really obvious equatorial constellations (upside down of course) and work from there. Still very confusing! It is actually easier to go somewhere a little light polluted first so you are not lost among all the dimmer stars

  4. #4
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    Smile

    I'm a native of Chicago and still live nearby. During September of 1969 I was on R&R away from Vietnam to visit Australia. The night lights of Sydney were bright, and I was busy with "real world" activity. On the day of return to Vietnam I had to awaken in predawn darkness to catch the morning plane. I did notice a fat waning crescent Moon tilted as it would appear while a waxing crescent during the evening from north of the tropics. I wasn't surprised, since I was already an amateur astronomer and expected it.
    For astronomical graphics and data visit
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  5. #5
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    I spent about a month in Australia in 2002, and it was interesting looking at the sky when we were in the desert. I don't really know that it was any more spectacular, just unfamiliar. There were a few familiar constellations on the northern horizon.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Centaur View Post
    ...I did notice a fat waning crescent Moon tilted as it would appear while a waxing crescent during the evening from north of the tropics. I wasn't surprised, since I was already an amateur astronomer and expected it.
    That I would like to see. :-)

    And yes, the issue of being in a city/light pollution.

    Two years ago had opportunity to visit Cancun, which would be the furthest south I've yet traveled. We weren't able to go, and I was curious to see the night sky from there; however, all things considered I doubt we'd have strayed from the city after dark. :-\

    p.s. The closest I have yet to an unfamiliar sky of a certain degree was having moved here, extreme south of USA. During height of winter, the Big Dipper is not visible in the sky. Back home (upper Midwest), the Big Dipper is **always** in the night-time sky, year round (being circumpolar of course). That took some getting used to.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Done it a few times - I tend to look for really obvious equatorial constellations (upside down of course) and work from there. Still very confusing! It is actually easier to go somewhere a little light polluted first so you are not lost among all the dimmer stars
    I had this happen to me back in may. I was going out to Phoenix and it was the first time I had been out of Houston in a while. We stopped at a rest stop a bit after midnight and when I looked up, there were so many stars that I couldnt tell anything off to the south. Very confused, I went and took care of the reason why we stopped and when I came out, I looked up at the sky and immediately saw Scorpio.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    No, I don't mean brain hemispheres. :-p

    Who here has traveled to either southern or northern hemisphere for the first time and, familiar with your native hemisphere's constellations, looked up at a mostly (aside from celestial equator overlap) unfamiliar sky?

    What was that like for you?

    I've imagined traveling to Australia (Cairns or Perth) and looking up. And being disoriented!

    Care to share your experience in this regard?
    Minor example only, but first time I visited my brother in Buenos Aires from Germany, it took me a long time to get used to the sun being in the north instead of south. There was too much pollution, light and otherwise, to see any stars though.

    As a matter of fact Im back there right now, and lets not get started to getting my head around the fact that its in the middle of winter here right now.

  9. #9
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    The closest I ever got was a holiday in Italy. I remember being pleasantly surprised to see so much of Scorpius, as I was used to just seeing the top bit back home in the UK.

    Funnily enough, I've been on holiday further south, but somehow forgot to really check out the sky.

  10. #10
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    I went to Sao Paulo a few times. The haze prevented me seeing the LMC, but I liked being able to make out the Centaur.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  11. #11
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    For me the one thing that I do miss living in the northern hemisphere is the Southern Cross. I'm really looking forward to seeing that again when we visit home.
    That said what I do quite like in the north is the pole star. Very useful, thanks for that, I imagine I'll miss that too eventually.

  12. #12
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    I visited Australia around 10 years ago and travelled north from Melbourne up to join the Capricorn highway in NT. This is a journey through the outback. At night the sky was amazing, but not being an astronomer I had no idea what to look for. I couldn't find the big dipper of course, but I didn't expect to. I also drove down the Stuart highway from Darwin to Adelaide and the sky was pretty cool during those nights too, especially when we stopped for a few days around Uluru (Ayres rock). If only I had had google sky map on a smart phone back then !

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