But if you're like me, those little white dots in the sky can be a bit of a mystery - while I can see all kinds of shapes (a shopping cart and an open tin of "Lucky Star Pilchards" are just two of my discoveries which have yet to be officially recognized by NASA....), I struggle with recognizing the, umm, more conventional constellations.
Planets are equally confounding. Earlier in the week when I ran into the house, excited about spotting a new planet which NASA's Kepler mission had missed, my wife was a little too quick to point out that she didn't think planet Kulula and its 147 inhabitants counted.
That's why I've resorted to using Google's way-cool SkyMap app (see this earlier post on Stargazing for more details) - or other apps like Satellite AR or Space Junk Lite - to try to figure what's out there before announcing any more new discoveries. But even with all that technological help, it's clear that in our household, I'm still not viewed as an authority on the subject. Now I wonder if maybe I should plan to attend the next meeting of the newly-formed Brak River Astronomical Club (BRAC) and really build up some street cred. The club was started by Andrew Gray who is new to the area (I was a bit disappointed to read he'd relocated from from Cape Town and not planet Zorgon, but as Past-President of the Southern Africa Astrological Society, I guess he's still pretty knowledgeable).
The club held their first meeting on March 13th and plan to hold meetings on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 19h00 at the Eden Country Inn in Little Brak. The next meeting is scheduled for April 10th. They have a distinguished guest lined up who will try to help solve the mystery of what's out there as well. For just R20 you can join in the fun and have a bit of tea & coffee, too.
You can find out more details on the Great Brak River Community Network website or contact Andrew Gray on 044-696-5913 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org