Stargazing

Star DeckThe grounds of Fort Lewis Lodge are perfect for stargazing.

Far from the hustle and bustle, the dark, woodsy setting makes for some gorgeous night-time skies.

Visit the stargazing deck. Spread out a blanket, and look up.

For most people, the easiest grouping of stars to find is the Big Dipper. Look for seven major stars: Four in the “bowl” and three in the “handle.” The two stars on the outside of the bowl point to Polaris. Polaris is also called the North Star. Find it, and you can figure out which way is north.

Fun fact: The Big Dipper is not a constellation. It’s an asterism – a grouping of stars within a constellation. But the Big Dipper’s handle makes up the tail of the Great Bear, also known as the constellation Ursa Major.

This fall, there’s a chance to catch a glimpse of what could become one of the most watched comets of our time. The comet ISON, discovered just last year, is expected to travel close to the sun around Thanksgiving and possibly be bright enough to be seen in broad daylight.

In December, look for Venus to put on a spectacular show in the southwestern sky. On Dec. 6, the planet will be lit by a crescent moon and won’t be as bright again until the year 2021.

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