Look Up In The Sky

By: Susanna Howard

Get in your element for National Library Card Month with amateur astronomy! The annual Perseid meteor shower wrapped up at the beginning of this month, but you still have a lot to look forward to. The Orionid meteor shower is September 26 to November 22, with its peak in the early morning of October 22, and the Geminid meteor shower will be visible from November 19 to December 24.

On Saturday, October 14, there will be an Annular Solar Eclipse, meaning the Moon will mostly block out the Sun, leaving just a thin ring of light around the edge. Crawfordsville is outside of the direct path of the eclipse, so we will only see a partial eclipse. Join us in the Donnelley Room from 10:00 – 10:30 that morning for a family-friendly presentation all about eclipses, and pick up some eclipse viewing glasses to keep your eyes safe!

These are the highlights, but in good conditions, you can see the stars any night. Optimal viewing conditions are out in the countryside, away from ambient light like streetlights, cars, and houses. Check the weather – if it’s cloudy, you won’t be able to see much. The Moon is beautiful and worth viewing with the naked eye or through a telescope, but if you want to get a good look at the constellations, wait until the new moon. Without the bright light reflecting off the surface of the Moon, the sky will be darker, allowing you to see dim, distant stars that are usually washed out. The Big Dipper, also known as Ursa Major, is one of the easiest constellations to find as it includes the bright North Star. Orion is also very beginner-friendly, as the cluster of three stars that make up his belt is very distinctive.

Want help getting started? We have a Stargazing book display on the second floor with everything you need to know. While you’re here, pick up a paper sundial craft kit at the Reference Desk. The how-to video is linked on our website, or you can go straight to the Crawfordsville District Public Library YouTube channel to find all our past videos.

Check out what’s happening on our website at or call us at 765-362-2242. The library is open Monday-Thursday 9a-9p, Friday-Saturday 9a-5p, and Sunday 1-5p.

The information in this article has been taken from the Smithsonian Magazine and the American Astronomical Society.

-Susanna Howard is a Library Assistant in the Reference and Local History department at CDPL.