MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Why do I see more stars with the naked eye in the southern hemisphere?

Date: Thu May 3 03:35:25 2001
Posted By: Miha Zadnik, High school student
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 988682556.As

The southern hemisphere has its share of very beautiful bright stars. This is mostly because the disk of our galaxy, the Milky Way, cuts through the southern sky more than it does the northern sky. Also, because light pollution in the southern hemisphere is smaller than in the northern hemisphere (due to less land than water surface and fewer developed nations), there are usually more stars visible in south than in north. Finally, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies, are visible from the south but not from the north.

Astronomers like the southern sky because, in addition to easy viewing of the Milky Way, there are several other interesting objects that are not always seen from the north (however, you need a telescope to see them). Check out this sample.

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