STARS OVER FLORIDA
Florida's sky differs from that of other parts of our nation,
because the state is nearer the equator. Visible here are certain stars of
the southern hemisphere not seen further north-such as the famous
Southern Cross, and Canopus, second brightest star in the heavens.
Also, there are better views of the relatively low-set bodies of Sirius,
Fomalhaut, Spica, Antares. Another advantage is the presence of warm
winter nights. Open-air star gazing can be enjoyed at leisure.
There are many places in this state where one gains a full view of
the sweep of night-treeless marshes, rivers, lakes, quiet bays. The air is
usually clear and free from smoke. Along the sea coast the equability of
temperature between day and night prevents fog and mist.
The distance of stars form the earth is measured by light years-a
light year being the extent light travels in one year, about sixteen trillion
miles. This is approximately 186,000 miles a second.
No knowledge of astronomy is required to make an acquaintance
with the prominent stars and star groups. All of these can be located by
relative position in the sky, after one has first identified the Big Dipper.
Most people recognize the Big Dipper, though some confuse it with the
constellation (star group) of Orion. True enough, Orion suggest a dipper.
But the real Big Dipper is unmistakably greater than this, and over in the
north, following a