If you’re lucky enough to live on Saipan and you have a small telescope or a pair of binoculars to enjoy the beautiful night skies that Saipan has to offer, then every clear night will provide you and your family with an opportunity to enjoy viewing the heavens and it’s stellar delights from your own yard or apartment deck.
It doesn’t take a very large telescope to enjoy viewing the night skies here on Saipan. A telescope with an 80mm or 90mm aperture (objective lens size) will do nicely, especially when viewing the moon and planets. Using a variety of eyepieces for example (10mm, 20mm and 30mm) can vary your telescope’s magnification and make your observing experience an even more enjoyable one by seeing even more details of the planets such as the bright planets Venus and its crescent phases, Jupiter and its moons, and Saturn, its rings or the moon’s cratered lunar surface and mountain ranges. Some of the winter skies highlights that you can enjoy viewing is the Winter Triangle in the constellations of Canis Major, Canis Minor, and Orion. In the constellation of Orion (in the middle of Orion’s sword) you can view the spectacular Orion Nebula (M-42) through your telescope or even using binoculars (example: 7x50mm) will also provide a splendid view of the spectacular great nebula in the constellation of Orion (Orion the Hunter). See the accompanying public domain Wikipedia image of the Winter Triangle. Some of the fun of stargazing under Saipan’s beautiful clear winter skies is viewing the Winter Triangle’s brightest primary stars such as Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon, which are easy to spot and fun to observe. The kids can even draw their location in the Winter Triangle as an astronomy science lesson in their school notebook to show to their teacher and classmates. I’ll talk about some more stargazing activities in a future article. Stargazing is an enjoyable educational and entertaining experience for your whole family that you can enjoy under the beautiful clear Saipan night skies.
Other images shows my 90mm 3.55-inch f/7.8 Mystery refractor telescope that I use to observe the heavens with on Saipan. If you’re going to do some casual or even some serious stargazing, then I would recommend taking a short drive over to Fishing Tackle & Sporting Goods in Susupe on Beach Road to check out some of their splendid line of telescopes and binoculars. They’re the experts on telescopes and binoculars and they can answer your questions about the kind and size of telescope or binoculars you need to start your stargazing activities with on Saipan.
Norman Butler, PH.D. (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Norman Butler Ph.D. is a retired astronomer and has been a Saipan resident since 2011. Butler, who holds advanced degrees in Physics and Astronomy, was an opticalman (submarine optical navigational equipment) in the U.S. Navy throughout the 1960s and worked at Haleakala’s AMOS Observatory on Maui in astronomy and optical engineering starting in the 1980s. He is an award-winning amateur telescope maker (https://tinyurl.com/y4eerxot) and has authored five popular books on binoscopes.