Few people other than avid amateur astronomers are aware of the “Stargazer's Almanac.” For those who subscribe to Sky and Telescope magazine, this almanac is provided free of charge in every January issue. Essentially, this little chart tells what is in the sky on any given night.
For those who don't subscribe, fear not. It is available for a paltry $4.95, plus shipping. It can be ordered at www.shopatsky.com.
The almanac is available for latitudes of 30, 40 and 50 degrees. Central Oregon is about 44 degrees north latitude, so the 40-degree almanac will work just fine. The “Stargazer's Almanac” clearly displays the time of sunset, sunrise, phases of the moon, rising and setting of the moon and all the planets. It includes the time and dates of all the meteor showers during the year, and the rising and setting of the brighter stars. The 2013 almanac even includes a note about Comet Ison on Nov. 30. I'll write an article about the comet later this year.
On the reverse side are complete instructions on how to read the almanac. The chart is made for those residing 90 degrees west or in the middle of the country. Not to worry for those living near the West Coast — there are several easy-to-understand charts on the reverse side to correct for time depending on your location.
The almanac is just another inexpensive tool to help you enjoy the heavenly delights that await you every evening. Get out there and experience the view from our spaceship Earth. Our ancestors did and it's free.
—Bill Logan is an expert solar observer and a volunteer amateur astronomer with University of Oregon's Pine Mountain Observatory. He lives in Bend. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.