All cultures have a deep connection with the night sky. Indigenous Australians have maintained astronomical knowledge for tens of thousands of years. In the Western world, astronomy is one of the four original studies in a classical Liberal Arts education. But the night sky is everyone’s to share. The sky is, as they say, the common heritage of humanity.
In this blog, we go through how you might turn the most open room in your house—typically the sunroom—into an observatory. It’s something we think you should consider, even if the thought of doing astronomy has never crossed your mind!
WHY HAVE AN OBSERVATORY?
There are lots of good reasons to have an observatory! Astronomy is educational, which is so important for kids. It also keeps us adults stimulated, which is just as important. Plus, it’s fun!
Of course, building your own observatory is the optimal approach if you’re a serious stargazer. But of course, that’s not practical for most us. So, if we want to have a convertible observatory, how can we make do with what we’ve got? You just need to ask one question…
WHAT PIECES DO YOU NEED IN THE ROOM?
OBVIOUSLY, YOU NEED SOMETHING TO HELP YOU GAZE AT THE STARS.
But it depends on what you want to see. If you’re mainly looking for constellations and a general picture of universe, naked eyes do just fine. If you want to see a spectacular view of the moon (or 100,000 stars as opposed to just 3,000), grab yourself a pair of binoculars. And if you want to look far deeper into space and see the moons of Jupiter, rings of Saturn, or distant galaxies, then you’ll need a proper telescope (which, by the way, doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars!).
THEN YOU NEED SOME KNOW-HOW.
Observing from an observatory is a lot more fun if you know what to look for and what you’re looking at. The good news is that, these days, you don’t need to attend special courses nor even buy expensive handbooks. There are heaps of instructional videos on YouTube you can watch to get you started!
YOU ALSO NEED CLEAN WINDOWS.
Or if you’re serious and willing to weather the elements, you should have open windows so you can look straight through. Make sure it’s facing a direction with minimal light pollution.
Light pollution in Sydney, © MAAS.
HOW ABOUT THE FURNITURE?
Well, fortunately for your wallet, it’s not dissimilar to what you already have in your sunroom. For example, back in the day, Sydney Observatory furnished theirs with bentwood chairs. These were the inspiration for our now-discontinued Benta Chairs. Otherwise, just make sure you have enough storage solutions and you’ll be fine!
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, LOOK AT YOUR WALL ART.
First, let’s make it clear: you don’t have to go with overtly celestial-themed décor, replete with moons and stars. After all, it’s a sunroom too! But what you can do is look out for wall art and décor which suits both night and day. Our Filling the Void Oil Painting is perfect for this!
With these tips in mind, you’ll be turning your sunroom into an observatory in no time. Now go see those stars!