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Report from St. Louis – Day 1 June 1, 2008

Posted by aquillam in Astronomy.
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It was kind of a long day, but I did get a chance to go up in the arch (which is why I’m posting this so late 0 hope it’s coherent.)
The Night Sky Network will act as a “hub” for amateur astronomers to get materials and information. NASA has a series of monthly themes mapped out (see table below) and you will be able to get the materials from the NSN website, http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov. There are also training videos, articles, and past activities available for download there. Latter this year they will have a page than makes searching for materials easier. Members (like the SAS) will be able to order additional materials and handouts.
Also, Sun-Earth Day 2009 will be “The Sun: Yours to discover.” Sign up at http://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov to get the materials packet.
Finally, there are a couple of light pollution education programs. GLOBE at night seeks to measure and map out light pollution. See http://www.globe.gov/GaN/ . They can provide maps that correlate things like population density and light pollution. It is very easy to participate doing naked eye observations of Orion in Feb/March (register for instructions). They are starting a new program to use light meters like the one we have at Angell Hall and in Chile. This may become a year long program. They also showed a great demonstration of why the kinds of lights we have around campus are the worst possible lights ever. There is also a new program starting up called “Dark Skies Discovery Sites” Peach Mountain might be a good site to sponsor this, especially if the lowbrows wanted to head it up. This is very new, but there is a little info at http://astronomy2009.us/darkskies/dark-skies-teaching-sites/

Abbreviated table of IYA Themes (see http://astronomy2009.nasa.gov)

month topic
Jan Telescopes and space probes
Feb Our solar system
Mar Observing at night and day
Apr Galaxies
May Sun
June Star clusters
July Black holes
Aug Rock & ice in solar system
Sept Planets and moons
Oct Fate of the universe
Nov Lives of stars
Dec Exoplanets

I also got to see the hands-on-optics kits and design scheme for the galileoscope, but that’s too much for this little blog. I can summarize one thing: if you want a make-and-take for a star party that folks can use right then and there, the Galileo scope is probably the way to go. If you want to do a simple telescope construction then look out the windows in daytime (NOT AT THE SUN), the project star one is probably the way to go.

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