June 5, 2020

Join Forces with the Great Star Count!

Good news; its time to take action in the fight against light pollution!

On October 20th, 2008, Windows on the Universe will be launching the 2nd Annual World Wide Star Count as part of its citizen sciece based initiative. The premise is dirt simple; look outside your particular locale and report what you see. Last year, we participated in the first annual star count, to much success! We were the only reports gathered from northern Maine… this year, we’ll most likely be reporting from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, were competition (and light pollution) is a bit more fierce. This is one way ordinary folks can contribute to real science; weather you live in a pristine or light polluted area (i.e. most of us!) the Great Star count wants to hear from you! Last year, I simply spoke my impressions of the sky into a digital voice recorder, and then reported them online soon after. What you are doing is looking at a particular constellation and then comparing it with a chart online; no fancy equipment necessary. I thought that the resulting world wide chart from last year also provided a useful illustration of were the amateur scientists were! Too bad we don’t happen to be on one of our epic around the world treks; we could nail some remote sites.

I would advise anyone unfamiliar with the night sky to start practicing a few nights prior; this is also a great activity for school groups, and a great public awareness activity. Many people may groan when hearing the term “light pollution,” as we tend to be oversaturated with fears and causes in today’s society. Show them the Milky Way, however, or lack there of, and they’ll immediately grasp the implications. Also, don’t forget to conduct your observations after astronomical twilight, or about an hour after local sunset to eliminate light extinction by twilight. Northern Hemisphere observers will be targeting Cygnus, the Swan, while folks down under will be viewing Sagittarius the Centaur. Both are well placed for observation at this time of year.

The Count runs from October 20th to November 3rd. last year, over 19,000 folks participated. New Moon occurs on October 28th and thus will be well out of the way. Remember, the goal is to measure manmade light pollution! This will also be a great opportunity to introduce the neighbors (and trick or treaters) to the stars. Tell ‘em Astroguyz sent you! Next week, as a part of this on going initiative we’ll be doing a piece exposing the horrors of… light pollution!  


  1. UFO-Sichtungen…

    Wurden Menschen tatsächlich von Außerirdischen entführt? Eine interessante Dokumentation präsentiert erstaunliche Belege….

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