How to find the North Star in the UK and other things of interest in the night sky

Astronomy is one of my favourite hobbies. As far back as humans have walked the earth we have looked to the stars and wondered.

I find nothing so mind opening than on a dark night or early morning before the sun rises to look up at the sky view the stars and wonder.

Wonder about the meaning of it all, wonder if someone is looking back. It's a view to the past, which some people have difficulty in grasping but not something I will talk about today.

So to the topic at hand. The North Star or Polaris as is its proper name, because eventually with gravity and the earth's tilt it will not be pointing to the North forever. About 12000 years from now Vega will be the north star. I'm getting side tracked

So the first thing to find the North Star is actually very easy. Find Ursa Major (the Big Dipper)

Ursa Major

Ursa Major

So from here you draw a line from Marek and Dubhe (the stars on the right) straight up till you find Ursa Minor (the little dipper)

Simple as that. If it's in front of you, you are going north.

So what else is cool to see in the night sky?

Well the planets are always awesome but its not really possible to explain where they are as above cause well they orbit the sun like ourselves.

See the following link on how to see the planets one thing to note. Planets are brighter than stars when viewed from Earth (Sun excluded smart ass) 

Orion is another easy to spot constellation and is normally high in the sky all winter long.



Its very easy to see like this why it is called the Hunter!

It also has some of the largest and brightest stars in the sky.

The large star which on a clear night is red is called Betelgeuse. Its a red super giant star and its possible is already went super nova and the light hasn't reached us yet or it soon will.

The star on the bottom right is called Rigel. It is the brightest star on Orion and is a Blue/White supergiant. To put it in context it is 120000 times brighter than our sun and vastly more massive.

At this Scale Jupiter the most massive planet in our Solar system is about 2 pixels and the Earth is too small to see

At this Scale Jupiter the most massive planet in our Solar system is about 2 pixels and the Earth is too small to see

The famous Horsehead Nebula is also in Orion but you need a very powerful telescope to see it.

How amazing is this 

How amazing is this 

This has been very picture heavy but I can't help but love these images and wish I could myself go among the stars and explore, to quote one of my heroes

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
— Carl Sagan

To to finish I leave you this video of the scale of the universe and again to quote another of my heros

“I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up—many people feel small, because they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson

I'd love you to be as excited and amazed as I am by all this. Comments welcome.