November 18, 2017

13.10.11-The Great World-Wide Star Count Wants YOU!!!

Save our skies… (Photo by Author).

Ever wanted to do something about light pollution? Now you can, by bearing witness to the conditions of your (hopefully not deteriorating) night-time sky. This weekend, the Great World Wide Star Count gets underway, running from October 14th to the 28th.  Established in 2007, this annual event invites students, astronomy groups, and just plain ole’ individuals to look up and gauge the conditions of their local sky. The process is simple, and much like any good citizen science program, anyone can do “real science” after a brief ten minute tutorial straight off of the street. For northern hemisphere observers, Star Count has you locate and gauge the appearance of the constellation Cygnus; for southern hemisphere observers, your assignment is the look off towards the core of our galaxy and the “teapot” –shaped constellation Sagittarius. These are bright asterisms that are easily located even under suburban skies. (If you’re uncertain, drop us a line and we’ll guide you to em, its what we do!)

What good is the Star Count? Well, beyond just generating awareness, it also serves as a document over time of how night-time seeing is devolving. Such a record would go a long way towards enforcing tougher laws against light pollution, as well as highlight (bad pun intended) the buckets o’ money squandered every night lighting the bellies of aircraft and the like. And it takes no equipment except a web connection and a functioning set of eyes! So get out there, grab a neighbor, and join the legions of sky observers that are the Great World Wide Star Count!

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