June 5, 2020

Life in the Astro-BlogoSphere; Slight Return.

Have scope, will observe! (Photo by Author).

Nothing in this universe is permanent. Stars are born, happily fusing hydrogen for the majority of their Main Sequence lives, only to swell into bloated Red Giants and perhaps engulfing the occasional civilization orbiting them. It’s sobering to think that billions of years from now, the only evidence to say “Humanity too was Here” might be a few derelict spacecraft orbiting the Milky Way galaxy and broadcasts of Love Boat & Joanie Loves Chachi stretched to absurdly long wavelengths…

And as it is with stars, sitcoms and would-be-civilizations, so must blogs occasionally come to an end. No, never fear, we’re not closing up shop at Astroguyz, just shaking things up a bit. It’s been said that something like 80% of blogs go defunct six months after starting, and we’re proud to have carried the Astroguyz banner into battle since May 2007. Since that time, we’ve brought you news from the astro-sphere from near and far, and the blog has evolved into one that hopefully you’ve come to depend on to know what’s going on in the sky while discovering some rockin’ science books and science fiction along the way.

To this end, we’re moving our flagship feature of “Astro-Event/Astro-Challenge of the Week” over to Universe Today. You’ll still find what you’ve come to expect from this weekly feature; all that is strange, weird, and wonderful about this tiny corner of space and time that we share together. In its place, we’ll be resurrecting an oldie but goodie in the form of our monthly “Life in the Astro-Blog-o-sphere” post. But rather than a simple monthly news roundup, we’ll be getting back to our blogging roots and providing you with our own brand of commentary and insights in our very own unique Dave Barry-meets-Carl Sagan fashion because, let’s face it, the Internet can always use more basement blogger opinions out there, along with more cat videos. (I blog from a second story home office overlooking a Florida swamp and own a dog, thank you very much).

And of course, we’ll be continuing our Friday book review slot, bringing you the best in science and science fiction. It’s always amazing for us to think that what began as an experiment into this whole “web content creation/blogging thing” has evolved from something that we pecked away at in our spare time to something approaching a livelihood. You really can’t script this, as we simply wake up every day, start the computer, and engage.  We’ve had folks often ask how they can “work on the net,” and I know its cliché, but there’s really no over-nite successes. My only advice is “do what you do, and be ready.”

But back to the astronomy. We’ve got a rockin’ year ahead with three comets on tap, possibly one for the history books. And while 3 comets gives us a pretty good chance that one will fizzle, we bet that at least one will produce! And speaking of which, we plan on still doing our ever-controversial “Astronomy Top 100” list for the year. Like the universe, it just gets bigger and better each year, a true labor of love!




  1. Tom says:

    Sad to see another great blog sellout to Universe Today!

    I hope you get your 30 pieces of silver!

  2. Jack Troeger says:

    Good day David.

    An astronomer friend from South Carolina sent me the link to your article about light pollution in Universe Today.

    Thank you for your article. There are no dark skies left in Iowa where I live, but then 99.9% of Iowa has been converted by humans from native prairie to, well, corn ‘n beans, hogs, roads, cities, towns, and lights, lights, lights! I write…with a very distinctive style and sense of satire and humor, which sadly rarely appears in my written word, but is very present in my spoken words. A middle school – high school teacher without a sense of humor is, well, quickly eaten alive by his/her students!

    Speaking of students: I miss mine more than words can ever convey!! I am a retired earth science teacher of 30 years, all here in Ames, Iowa (population 50,500), with a Masters Degree in geology and a B.S. Degree in English. Yes, Virginia, there is a such a thing as a B.S. in English. I am also a lifelong (self-taught) amateur astronomer, or was, until cataract surgery in 2002 made doing astronomy impossible. Like you I love books, mostly nature, wildness, and wilderness, and some classic sci-fi.

    Because I can barely see stars even in the darkest of skies now, I have a unique viewpoint on light pollution and dark skies that most astronomers do not have, a perspective that drove me to develop a different attitude about our light blight plight. I was once like other amateur astronomers, fighting light pollution using the usual IDA weapons and ammo. However, I have since crossed over a threshold and through a portal to a much more logical and radical viewpoint and plan of attack.

    Though my lifelong sense of humor remains intact, my overall health now makes it very difficult to travel to sites where the sky remains dark and share my solution to light pollution in a much more detailed manner with others eye(piece) to eye(piece), a dream I had for years whilst teaching, but no longer retain.

    The essence of my response to fighting light pollution is based on reality and change. The reality is that we are failing, and that we must change how we attack light pollution and rescue dark skies, immediately, or all will be lost.

    I hope this won’t be true, but based on my past experience with many astronomers around the country, you will likely disagree with my approach, etc. However, I believe very deeply that if we astronomers hope to succeed in lessening light pollution we must change, we must diversify the way we fight to preserve the night, and that we must do so now! I hope that you will give my insights serious consideration and contemplation, even if you disagree.

    I first formed my solution to light pollution a decade ago when my sight was stolen by surgery. Since then, it has evolved and vaguely resembles my earlier considerations. For a variety of reasons I prefer to avoid forming an organization, to avoid money and members, and to avoid conflicts with corporations — lighting or otherwise. And unlike the approach taken by the IDA and others — a one-size-fits-all modus operandi — my M.O. relies on unique, local actions taken by local astronomers who know their own community better than outsiders.

    Please read my website and judge for yourself if astronomers are “winning” or “losing” their war on light pollution. It is not at all a complete or detailed accounting of my light pollution solution, but I learned long ago not to put everything “out there” and allow predators to wolf it down without pause for reflection and refraction.

    I hope to hear from you, pro or con, regarding my solution to light pollution. And if you have a mind to, hope you will share my website and dark sky views with others. Thank you. http://www.darkskyinitiative.org

    Sunny Days, Milky Way Nights (minus snow, of course!).

    Stargeezer Jack aka Dark Sky Guy, Dark Sky Knight.

  3. David Dickinson says:

    Thanks for your insightful reply, will check out your site, sounds interesting.

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