Field guide training: Astronomy – Part 1

For the purpose of navigation each field guide should be familiar with the secrets of the universe. Our blog article provides you with essential information.

Rangerausbildung: Der afrikanische Sternenhimmel

As a nature guide, it is essential to be well grounded in the knowledge of astronomy, in case the navigation system in the bush fails or you are separated from the group. Then the stars are a reliable tool for navigation to find your way back. A fundamental knowledge of the seasonal changes of the stars and the different stages of the moon help to achieve a deeper understanding of the natural phenomena such as solar or lunar eclipse or the tides along marine shores.

But observing the stars is not only about knowledge and soft skills. Since the beginning of mankind, humans are looking at the stars and try to understand their secrets. It is not a long way from science to come along philosophy to the question of existence and the beginning of everything when observing the stars.

Rangerausbildung: Afrikanischer Sternenhimmel ueber dem Camp

Before, a couple of important terms which are used in astronomy need to be defined in detail:

  • The universe is a theoretical model and a try to explain the existence of everything. This includes planets, stars, galaxies and the whole space with its matter and energy flows. It is known as a universal room, where everything that exists can be found. The universe is estimated to be 13,7 billion years old. Its existence is based upon the big bang theory.

  • The celestials include all objects outside of the earth’s atmosphere which can be observed when looking into the sky. Human-made objects such as satellites do not count. Celestials can vary from single planets like the earth to star clusters or far away galaxies.

Rangerkurs: Der Mond am nachtschwarzen Himmel
Rangerkurs: Der suedlich afrikanische Sternenhimmel
  • Our solar system consists of all objects that interact with the gravitation field of the sun. There are eight planets and their satellites, then also dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, meteorites and interplanetary dust.

  • A light-year is a distance which light travels in a vacuum within a year. With a speed of around 300,000 km/second; this means 10 trillion km per year in total.

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