During NAW 2014, the main attractions to look out for aside from Jupiter will be the Moon and, late in the evening, Mars. Saturn, with its spectacular ring system, rises early in the morning. The prominent constellation Orion will be on view, not to mention countless deep-sky objects such as nebulae and galaxies.
The Orion Nebula will be easily visible even in small telescopes. It is the closest starbirth region, but don’t expect to see any new stars popping into view as you watch – they take tens of thousands of years to appear.
For those willing to stay up until after 11 pm, there will be the unusual sight of the two brightest asteroids, Vesta and Ceres, quite close in the sky and near to Mars. But don’t expect a spectacular view – both are visible with binoculars only, and appear just as starlike points.
Astronomers are often asked how far into the Universe they can see. This really depends on the transparency of our atmosphere at the time, the light-gathering power of the telescope and the size of the object observed. Amateur astronomical groups have telescopes capable of showing you objects that are hundreds or even thousands of times fainter than the eye alone can detect. This means seeing objects such as galaxies which are nearly halfway to the edge of the observable Universe!