Star Dom is the view of the starry sky. Under favourable conditions and in low-light locations, about 3000 to 6000 stars can be seen with the naked eye, all of which belong to the Milky Way galaxy – as well as the Andromeda Galaxy and the two Magellanic Clouds. The number of stars detectable with modern large telescopes is over 10 billion.
Observing constellations with the naked eye
The arrangement of the stars in the firmament of the heavens has always fired people’s imagination, and early on individual stars were grouped together to form images. Fallen warriors symbolically moved to the starry sky and monsters of the underworld fought battles with heroes. Special powers were felt from certain regions of the sky, and so the signs of the zodiac we know today came into being, which have different names and meanings among other peoples.
The mythology of Orion
The warrior hunted the Pleiades, the seven daughters of Atlas. Arthemis sent the scorpion to kill Orion, which it did. Thus Orion perishes in the West when his killer, the Scorpion, rises in the East.
Orion, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper or the celestial W (Cassiopeia) are clearly recognisable constellations that are easy to find. Orion, for example, is a constellation that is visible throughout the winter. The constellation gives the appearance of representing a tilted hourglass. It is easiest to recognise the three belt stars of the mythological hunter Orion, who fights the bull (lat. Taurus) in the night sky. You soon also recognise Orion’s shoulder, head and foot stars.
The Big Dipper is clearly visible almost all year round and is an equally clearly recognisable constellation. It is indeed reminiscent of a handcart, with a trapezoidal cart body and drawbar. This constellation is part of the Great Bear.
Observing shooting stars with the naked eye
You have been shown them as a child to make a wish. They are clearly visible to the naked eye and appear whenever small particles from space enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up there due to friction. This can be rock dust, which can range in size from 2 mm to 30 cm and beyond.
What is actually moving?
If you watch the sky for a long time on a clear night, you will see that the stars do not stand still. They rise in the east – and set again in the west. In earlier times, people concluded from this that the visible firmament under the earth’s disc is completed into a hollow sphere from which the stars rise and also recede again. Since the stars, with a few exceptions, do not change their position in relation to each other or their brightness, they were thought to be fixed to this sphere and were therefore given the name fixed stars (Latin: stellae fixae).
… and yet it rotates
It took centuries before people realised that the stars do not revolve around the Earth – but that the Earth revolves around its polar axis in space.
The stars appear to move in the sky because the Earth rotates on its own axis. This rotation causes certain parts of the sky to become visible to the observer within 24 hours. (24 hours: that is how long it takes the Earth to make one complete rotation).
During the day, the sun appears to rise on the eastern horizon due to the earth’s rotation, remains in the sky for a few hours and then sinks again behind the western horizon, apparently setting. At night, you can see the apparent movement of the stars. There is not only sunrise and sunset. There is also moonrise and moonset, and stars and planets are also referred to as rising and setting. Of course, this applies to all celestial objects.