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Relaxing in a hammock star gazing

Summer Sky-Watching

One of the pleasures of warm evenings outdoors is lying back on a lounger or relaxing in a hammock and gazing up at the night sky. Because there’s much less light pollution than in more populated locations, and frequent cloudless skies, the viewing is often rewarding. Switch off the garden and pool lights, pour yourself a chilled drink and enjoy sky-watching in comfort…

The constellations, the moon, meteor showers and the International Space Station can all be seen easily with the naked eye, although you may find the villa binoculars enhance the experience.

The Constellations – any time of year

If you’re new to star-gazing, there is a variety of apps which use your smart phone or tablet camera to assist you in identifying the constellations, for example Google Sky Map.

Perseid Meteor Shower – every July and August

Summer sky watching - Perseid meteor shower
Photo: Dominic Alves

The Perseids are one of the brighter meteor showers of the year. Coming from the direction of Perseus, these tiny fragments from the Swift-Tuttle comet provide more than one meteor every minute. The peak dates for spotting these shooting stars is around August 9 to 13, although they can be seen on any dates between July 17 and August 24.

Our tip: Concentrate on one small part of the sky, rather than scanning too wide an area. Spot one and a multitude usually follow!

International Space Station – any time of year

Summer sky watching - International Space Station
Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The International Space Station is most easily seen within a few hours of sunrise or sunset because the sun reflects off the space station providing a good contrast with the darker sky.

The space station looks like an aircraft or a very bright star moving across the sky, although moving in a straight line and 30 times faster.

If you visit NASA’s excellent Spot the Station website, you can find up to date spotting information such as this below to help you decide exactly when and where to look. (For Cyprus viewing you need to choose Nicosia as the location.)

Summer sky watching - International Space Station sighting details
Example ISS sighting information from NASA

Alternatively, if you have an Android phone or tablet, download ISS Detector Satellite Tracker free app which can sound an alarm 5 minutes before the Space Station is due over your location.

Happy sky-watching!

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