Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Future Solution to Light Pollution?

Light pollution is a major problem, both for professional and backyard astronomers. It used to be that if you just went out into the countryside, you could get decent viewing. But with unshielded mercury vapor lamp street lighting all over cities, you can't do that, anymore. City glow extends for tens, even hundreds, of miles, fogging up the sky.

The Vancouver Museum in British Columbia, Canada is currently hosting an exhibit of simple, practical solutions to a variety of modern problems. One of the items on display is something called "Lunar-Resonant Street Lights":

These are street lights that are sensitive to moonlight. They are brightest during a New Moon and dimmest (even off) during a Full Moon. Their inventors say that not only could these lights save "between 80 and 90 percent of energy normally spent on street lighting" but that they could also get people back in tune with the natural rhythms of the world around them, like lunar phases and star rotations. Check it out. It's a very interesting idea. Now, if we can just get rid of those infernal mercury lights...

Friday, August 7, 2009


After the overly successful IYA2009 event #Moonwatch, the Newbury Astronomical Society had to try and run another.

Now you may be asking yourself, what is #Moonwatch? Well, in simple terms #Moonwatch was a Astro-Twitter event, where there were about 10-15 people tweeting pictures and answering questions about the moon and occasionally Saturn. These pictures were “Tweeted” live, just after they were taken someone would upload it to their Twitter account and all the others would send out a message or RT (Re-Tweet) that picture, for all to see! With this the Newbury Astronomical Society had thousands of people watching them for the next lunar images! Now 3 months later the Newbury Astronomical Society is at it again, but this time it’s called #Meteorwatch

#Meteorwatch is predicted to be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) astronomical event on Twitter ever! Now you may be wondering why chose now? Who wants to have an event in the middle of August? Well, if you know your meteor showers then you know why, the Perseids! The Perseids is one of the biggest (meaning most meteors per hour) showers of the year, so everyone has the best chance of spotting at least a few meteors in a small time, even under the most light polluted skies. So on August 11, 12, and 13th be sure to go outside and watch “the sky falling”. Then once done come inside or bring your computer outside and join the “Tweeting”.

Now you may be wondering what should I “Tweet”? or What are you “Tweeting”? Well, the answer to the first question is, you can “tweet” whatever you want, you can tell us when you saw a meteor, you can post pictures of the sky, answer/ask questions, whatever you want! Just be sure to join in on the fun! Then @NewburyAS , @ksastro , @Starrfop , @MDBenson , and many more will be tweeting LIVE images of Meteors, the moon, Jupiter, and whatever else is in their reach. In addition to these LIVE images, I (ksastro) will be hosting LIVE telescope tours of the moon, Jupiter, and some other bright objects.

So if you want to join, it’s as easy as contacting @NewburyAS or @ksastro or just send out a tweet with #Meteorwatch and we will reply. Hope you join this momentous event!

Participants list: (As of August 7, 2009 18:55 CDT)

Name Twitter Name: Location Denise Wallace Starrfop Florida, USA Elias Jordan ksastro Kansas, USA Adrian West NewburyAS Newbury, UK Dr Ian O’Neill astroengine California, USA see above Discovery_Space See aboveCatherine CatherineQ Eastern, USA Dave dpbkmb Pennsilvania, USA Adam Horn adam_horn UK John K. geminijk Tenessee, USA Mike Weasner mweasnerArizona, USA Lisa Kirsch LRKirsch California, USA Gene Mikulka genejm29New Jersey, USA skipzilla Ohio, USA Philip Stobbart philipstobbart Kendal, UKTavi Greiner TaviGreiner Eastern, USA See above askyfullofstars see aboveAstroSpaceNow astrospacenow N/A Montse Montsecor Costa Rica Carolina Odman carolune N/A Marty Bishop MixfmMarty Arizona, USA N/A brechtjeNetherlands Marena sthrnynkeegrl NE, USA N/A uponschoolcloud FranceSteve Knight Steve_P_Knight Banbury, UK Michel Schep MichelSchepAmsterdam Mark Benson MDBenson Louth, UK N/A theBomber London, UKRoland Taams RolandTaams Netherlands Ruth E’Alessandro WildlifeGardenaN/A Maggie Philbin maggiephilbin London, UK Mark Zaugg Zarquil Alberta, Canada Alexandru Csete csete Denmark Jaap Meijers tjaap Netherlands Dave Pearson davepdotorg Lincolnshire, UK Tom Boulton Tommy_413 Wirral, UKEwan Bryce Space_Jockey Edinburgh, UK Louis Suarato LouisS Eastern, USAAaron Slack RevAaron Canada Diane teal64 Pennsylvania, USA Bonnie bjr70Michigan, USA Daniel Dowhan mizerock Virginia, USA Wynyard Planetariumwwp_planetarium Stockton, UK Waddell Robey XiNeutrino New Mexico, USAJane Fleming fleming77 Cambridgeshire, UK Richie Jarvis richiedeepsky Lewes, UK N/A nullsession Iowa, USA ASG the_asg Scotland Gail Griffin gailsoaresCalifornia, USA N/A NelmaAlas Portugal Jen flyingjenny KSC, Florida

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

LIVE Broadcast of the moon and Jupiter

Come see the moon and Jupiter LIVe almost everynight! The we will occasionally throw in some other objects!


Newbury Astronomical Society @NewburyAS with the International Year of Astronomy 2009 UK @astronomy2009uk, amateur astronomers and societies, will be holding a Twitter Meteorwatch on Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th of August 2009.

Everyone is welcome to join in, whether they are an astronomer or just have an interest in the night sky.

This event follows on from the popular Twitter Moonwatch held in May 2009

Use the hash tag: #Meteorwatch and get involved, ask questions, follow the event and enjoy the night sky with us. Images and other information will be tweeted as it happens. Live!

The highlight of the summer meteor showers : The Perseids, reach maximum around The 11th and 12th of August and may put on a display of aproximately 80 to 100 meteors per hour under ideal conditions. Conditions this year aren’t ideal but meteors every few minutes are still quite possible. Perseid meteors are often bright with persistent trails which can linger for a while after the meteor has burned up. Further information on the Perseid meteor shower and how to view it, will be posted closer to the time and during the Meteorwatch.

Other main objects of interest on both evenings will be: The PlanetJupiter and the Moon. The planets Mars and Venus will also be visible if you stay up to the small hours.

The Twitter Meteorwatch will start at 21.30 BST on the 11th of August and will continue through to the evening of the 12th of August. Amateur and professional astronomers from the US and other countries are invited to join in and take over from the UK, when the sun comes up here, helping make the event run for over 24 hours and be truly international. The event will close in the UK, in the early hours of the 13th of August 2009.

Live moon tours will be broadcasted too! Just go to:

Carl Sagan: The Cosmos

The Popular TV broadcasting channel, Hulu is now carrying most/all of the astronomy/space series, Cosmos.

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