Your Sky Tonight


One of humanity’s greatest challenges is ambivalence toward night skies. Technology and light pollution erode inclination to gaze upward after sunset. Astronomical observations are the fabric of humanity, defining ancient monoliths, pyramids, temples and settlements. The cosmos gave us navigation, seasons, moon phases, the calendar and inexplicable feats of ancient architecture. Today, GPS points North, few know that “star” is actually Mars and Betelgeuse might as well be Beetlejuice. Sigh.

Rudimentary sky basics needn’t be elusive – ponder Time and Date night sky map and planets. Linked below –

https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/night/

Enter your location, voila! An instant interactive sky map tracks anything you fancy. View live, adjusted for current weather conditions. Scroll left or right to adjust time of day. Click on the Sun, Moon or planets, follow their path in relation to location and time of day. Curious about meteor showers like the Leonids peaking in a few days? Click on https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/meteor-shower/leonids.html

Time and Date is a valuable, uncomplicated resource. Give their night sky map a try.

See the source image

Not Too Late to Ponder Comet NEOWISE


On March 27, 2020 C/2020 F3 was discovered by astronomers at WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), a NASA space telescope launched in 2009. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide-field_Infrared_Survey_Explorer . On March 31, 2020 it gained official comet status, April 1, 2020 saw it dubbed comet NEOWISE. In a nutshell comets are cosmic objects comprised of ice, dust and space gak presenting a observable tail courtesy close orbital proximity to the Sun. (hence, ice melt)  NEOWISE, current darling of space and common observers alike, made closest approach to the Sun on July 3, 2020. The rest is history, history which won’t be repeated until NEOWISE returns in 6,800 years.

Comet NEOWISE is a rare naked eye cosmic spectacle. A remarkably bright experience afforded Northern Hemisphere residents willing to find a dark place, look northwest after sunset toward the Big Dipper to catch a glimpse of NEOWISE.

https://www.space.com/comet-neowise-strange-facts.html?utm_source=Selligent&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9155&utm_content=SDC_Newsletter+&utm_term=3580249&m_i=dStOzCRRSVnQXbejZr4A4D0CjNmLoDniLEav%2BJqEI19uyt1Z%2BawSQE9xCCP7rAta4J4Z08SYh53ttnROnALyZpoYwJSMJNhcIVdLI_dddc

NEOWISE-F3-July-4-2020-Chris-Schur-S.jpg (1140×712)

 

See the source image

https://www.ibtimes.com/nasa-offers-tips-how-see-visible-comet-neowise-3012079

 

Explore the Night Sky


Adrian Mauduit at Night Lights Films launched a mesmerizing timelapse endeavor titled Explore the Night Sky. From Night Lights Films –

“Welcome to this new series of educational videos about the cosmos titled ‘Explore the Night Sky’. They consist of short episodes focusing on one celestial object or phenomenon that can be observed from Earth. They are kid friendly and their purpose is to make people discover the sky at night while encouraging science education and promoting the fight against light pollution. In this episode, we feature the open star cluster ‘Pleiades’, aka Messier 45, M 45 or the ‘Seven Sisters’ through a series of time-lapse sequences taken in various locations around the Earth (Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Chile). A lot of people have seen this small patchy group of star without realizing it contains about 1000 of them! Learn more about it by watching the rest of this mesmerizing film.”

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC0CLzCpM6nuLSAi1JNBjkA

Cosmic wonder is a gift. No better way to embrace wonder than by following Adrian Mauduit.

Winning Dark Sky Images


In May of this year the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) held its first annual Capture the Dark photography competition. Tasked with capturing  “meaning of the night”, participants were invited to submit images in one of five categories – Connecting to the Dark, International Dark Sky Places, Impact of Light Pollution, Bright Side of Lighting and Youth.

Connecting to the Dark winner –

Child with butterfly net containing several stars, star in deep blue sky just above net.

View larger | Mihail Minkov captured this photo, which is titled Star Catcher. The photo is from the Black Sea Coast of Bulgaria. It’s the 1st-place winner in 2020’s IDA photo contest, in the Connecting to the Dark category.

International Dark Sky Places winner –

Milky Way above steep wooded valley with rocky stream in foreground.

iew larger. | Jean-Francois Graffand captured this image at the Pic du Midi International Dark Sky Reserve in France. It’s the winner in the International Dark Sky Places category. The photo is titled Dark Night in Pyrénées Mountains.

Impact of Light Pollution winner –

A few stars visible in brightly lit night sky above hills with square tower in distance.

View larger. | Petr Horálek captured this image at the Great Wall of China. It’s the winner in the Impact of Light Pollution category. The photo is titled Remembering the Old Times.

Bright Side of Lighting winner –

Milky Way arching over streaming waterfall in hills with nearby evergreen trees.

View larger. | Jean-Francois Graffand captured this photo at the Pyrénées National Parc in France. It’s the winner in the Bright Side of Lighting category. It’s titled The Celestial River.

Youth winner –

Milky Way over distant farm building past wide field of red paintbrush flowers and bluebonnet flowers.

View larger.| Nayana Rajesh, age 16, captured the winning entry in the Youth category. The photo is set in Ennis, Texas. It’s titled “The Barn.”

View all winning and finalist submissions – https://darksky.app.box.com/s/yzvnppjej02asjtwvjsxmyr4twxr3e8g

Read more at – https://earthsky.org/earth/ida-2020-photo-contest-winners-night-sky-images?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=868f0bb18e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-868f0bb18e-393970565

Look Up


Today a co-worker asked what I was interested in, without hesitation I replied “have you ever really seen the moon?”

This video appeared in a ponder several months ago. Driving home all I could think about was watching and sharing it again. As I write it loops for the fourth time, tears of immeasurable happiness pluck corners of an ever widening grin. Ponders of childlike innocence lost in our caustic world led to an epiphany – the world would be a better place if every man, woman and child watched this clip……

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Have You Seen The Milky Way?


Born under starry skies, rural seclusion wrapped childhood in the Milky Way. Constant, permanent, watchful – I left for city lights without saying goodbye. We still see each other every few years, picking up where we left off like old friends do. When time comes to part I wave goodbye, mindful of cosmic wonders that shaped my life. Pondering the fact 80% of people alive today have never seen the Milky Way.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text

 

Cosmic Apps


There’s no excuse for not adding a sky app to your phone – free, idiot proof tools capable of turning heads upwards with childlike enthusiasm. Embrace unfamiliar cosmic dioramas, dazzle friends and family, enrich your perspective with a sense of wonder, or simply figure out once and for all which one is Jupiter, which one Venus.

Android phone apps have been around longer than anything “i”. My phone has Sky Map, and real time images of the Sun from Solar Dynamics Observatory. Free, reliable android apps linked below

http://www.brighthub.com/mobile/google-android/articles/113453.aspx

Once upon a time iPhone users were out of luck – linked below, free cosmic apps for iphone or pad.

http://appcrawlr.com/app/search?similarTo=&priceDrop=&q=google+sky+maps&iap=&smartFilter=&category=&price=Free&_src=facet_price&device=iphone%2Cipad

What are you waiting for?

Notes “star gazing” with Google Sky Map

How Many Stars Can We See?


I’ll never forsake stars, they’re as much who I am as the air I breath. A rural child, raised decades before electronic distractions – stars were my universe. A portal entered with nothing more than imagination. Mythology danced before my eyes – never forced, elusive or fleeting. Constellations made sense of history – I gazed upon stars just as ancients once looked to the cosmos for answers. Taken for granted my stars would never fade. Not until decades of emptiness met circumstance in the middle of night- a abandoned highway somewhere in Arizona, did I realize how I longed for my stars. Unfettered by light pollution – I welcomed lost stars.

Reality of light pollution – equal parts inevitable and devastating, led me to ponder how many stars we can see. The answer is – not many. Get away from urban illumination, give yourself half an hour or so adjusting to darkness – maybe you’ll see a few thousand. Deposit yourself in the middle of an Arizona wasteland, undoubtedly that number rises. The trouble is – few of us bother with Arizona nights.

Ponder the day when all who remember stars are gone, when no child rests on summer’s night grass becoming one with the ancients. Imagine not finding the North Star or plucking Orion’s belt from the sky.

San Francisco night sky as viewed without light pollution. – Thierry Cohen

Click on the link to view images of night sky sans light pollution images of 10 major cities by Thierrry Cohen…

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-major-world-cities-look-like-at-night-minus-the-light-pollution-12087147/