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Jan 14-23 - Globe at Night
Globe at Night the “citizen-scientist” program was mentioned in the January newsletter. It’s a really interesting study that gets people out and looking up at the night sky to register the level of light pollution in their area.
There’s an online submission form that is very easy to follow. You choose an image(just a bunch of dots for stars) for the magnitude level of stars which matches most closely what you saw in the night sky.
I didn’t think I’d be able to participate because we’ve had cloudy skies for a while at night. I thought I’d missed my chance for this session but when the skies cleared up tonight, I checked the “globe at night” site and found out that this session runs from January 14th to the 23rd!
So, I went out around 9:30-or 21:30 as astronomers seem to like to call it (maybe has something to do with using Universal/Greenwich Time) and walked down to the park. My friend (she’s the MWB – meteor watching buddy) and I stood in the shadow of the lamppost which is the darkest spot around and saw a lot (for us in the city) of stars.
I made a diagram as best I could- just dots on a page- and then when I came back in I looked at www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky– the online sky map and that was wild.
It was wild because I realized that depending on where I told the software I was facing – eg South or South west or South east – the stars were angled differently.
I had never thought it would look different. And it took me awhile to figure out what we had seen. Globe at Night tells you to locate Orion. But along with this shifting angle thing and the fact that I draw the map at a much larger scale –so that the stars seem really far apart compared to on the star map – it was sort of difficult to be sure we actually had seen Orion.
The main reason being that I don’t know what direction I was facing specifically. I figured south-ish – but I didn’t have a map to be sure AND – that google map thing is useless- it doesn’t tell you which way is north! I really think techonology just wants people to be really really ignorant and rely on it all the time. It makes no sense – why would a map not have a compass key?
Anyway, I finally determined we were facing south east ish – that’s when the direction that the sky map on www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky looked a lot like what I saw. And then I could compare it to the Globe at Night image and I chose the one that matched best what I saw.
I have to check this weird shifting star phenomenum out. I know the moon follows people around – but it’s hard to wrap my head around why it should look different. The moon I think I understand – it is so high up it just seems to follow me around. But the stars and angles – I think I need a compass and protractor or something to figure this out. Maybe one of those funky things old sailors used to have – a sextant. Maybe I can buy one on ebay. Sort of like GPS – old school.
If anyone else participates I’d love to know their findings .
latitude: (top secret – I took this out for the post)
longitude: (also top secret – I took it out for the post too)
location comments: suburban/urban (not downtown) slight snow cover. street lights down streets and one in the park (stood in the shadow of the lamppost to make observations) trees on edges of park and a school off to the southwest border of the park with security lights. To the east was an apartment with the same but it was blocked by trees mostly.
cloud cover: 25%
sky comments: Clouds were prevalent and covered about 1/4 to 1/2 of southern sky but nothing in the north. This has been fun - I am going to check if I can do it another night and if it doesn't rain I look forward to participating again.
SQM serial number:
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