Now is the time of year when it’s nice to spend time outdoors at night. Many of us have more opportunities to head out of the city for fun during summer vacation, but we should remember to take time to look up at the night sky. Even without a telescope or binoculars, you can see a surprisingly large number of stars with the naked eye. August is also the time of year when the Perseid meteor shower, one of the three major meteor showers, occurs, and it’s highly recommended for beginner stargazers. (In 2022, the meteor shower is expected to peak around Aug. 13.)
Sefuri Youth House is the perfect spot for stargazing. Located in the nature-rich Sefuri Mountain range in Sawara Ward, visitors can enjoy a range of outdoor activities like nature watching and camping. It is also home to the Sefuri Observatory, which is equipped with a large telescope. Here visitors can observe the stars, planets and the sun and partake in many different activities led by astronomy experts. There are regular monthly stargazing sessions and astronomy classes for parents and children.
There are also some places in the city where you can see the stars. The Fukuoka City Science Museum in Ropponmatsu, Chuo Ward, holds regular monthly stargazing events on the roof of the building. Enjoy watching the starry sky of Fukuoka, which changes with the seasons, with your own eyes. In addition, the Dome Theater (planetarium) inside the museum broadcasts a variety of programs that allow visitors to experience starry skies that cannot be seen with the naked eye and to enjoy the night sky even on rainy or cloudy days.
Another recent trend that is gaining traction is online astronomical observation. Whenever there is a major astronomical event, such as a meteor shower or a lunar eclipse, observatories and other organizations around the world broadcast live images over the internet. Even if it is cloudy in Fukuoka, this is a convenient way to enjoy starry skies broadcast from areas where the weather is clear. There are many astronomical events coming up soon, such as the Harvest Moon in September and a total lunar eclipse in November. Why don’t you take this opportunity to turn your gaze skyward?