notes.husk.org. scribblings by Paul Mison.

2012-04-14

post/21064401457

quote 04:36:16
“ In our risk-adverse, crime-ridden world, the wilderness of the sky is becoming a lost frontier. Meanwhile, with every visible light we leave on down here, starlight vanishes and a little piece of magic is gone from our grey world. ”

2012-04-12

post/20929792635

quote 00:21:26

Some 53% of those who joined a recent star count failed to see more than 10 stars in the Orion constellation. That had decreased only very slightly from 54% since 2007, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Campaign for Dark Skies said.

Fewer than one in 10 said they could see between 21 and 30 stars, and just 2% of people had truly dark skies, seeing 31 or more stars.

The information was gathered as part of the annual Star Count survey, which was held across two weeks in January and February this year. Almost 1,000 people in different locations around the country took part. Participants were instructed to pick a clear night to count the number of stars in the constellation of Orion.

2012-03-26

post/19925051057

photos 01:07:00

Oscar HermitteUrban Stargazing (via):

The Urban Stargazing project focuses on bringing back the stars in the city sky by recreating existing constellations and adding new ones, narrating old and contemporary myths about London. Twelve groups of stars have been installed at different locations in the city, and can only be observed by the naked eye at night time.

Or: if you go to certain open spaces in London, and stand in the right spot, you can see new, special “constellations” that don’t exist anywhere else, designed for the city sky (as pictured above, and it’s worth enlarging the images).

How it’s done:

Each constellation is a triangulated struture made out of clear ø 0.6mm nylon line, ø 0.2mm polyethylene braid, ø 0.75mm fibre optic and a solar powered LED. During the day, the battery is being recharged by the solar panel and the circuit switches ON the LED when it is dark enough to observe stars.
In order to have the constellation in the air, the team uses a telescopic catapult to fix the structure on top of trees.

It’s well worth reading the pages on this one, so you get the idea.

2012-03-23

Astronomers vs Billboards

text 15:45:05

From the Arizona Republic, Bill divides electronic-billboard firms, astronomy industry (via, via):

The forces of dark are squaring off against the forces of light in a battle over billboard legislation.

On the side of light — as in vivid, flashing color — is the electronic-billboard industry. It is pushing a bill that would make 70 existing digital billboards along Arizona’s highways legal in the wake of a state Court of Appeals ruling.

The forces of darkness are led by Arizona’s observatories and astronomy industry. They want a statewide standard to ensure “dark skies” protections for areas within a 75-mile radius of observatories.

Since when was astronomy an industry? I suppose if there are enough people based there making telescopes that might be justified, but it seems like odd language. Mind you, it’s the language used in an opinion piece by Angela Cotera, a research astrophysicist at the SETI Institute in Avondale, arguing against the law. Anyway, returning to the original article:

Billboard companies approached lawmakers for a change to state law after the Appeals Court last fall ruled electronic billboards did not comply with the state’s ban on intermittent light. 

Meanwhile, this seems a bit surprising:

The Discovery Channel, which is building a new telescope southeast of Flagstaff near Happy Jack, told lawmakers that the limits would help ensure dark skies. Its imaging camera “will be sensitive to even minute increases in sky glow.”

When did TV stations start building telescopes?

Despite a leader in the Republic and letters against the bill (and for dark skies),  another leader posted yesterday notes

The Legislature has unaccountably passed a bill that threatens a unique and precious Arizona asset: our dark skies. Gov. Jan Brewer needs to veto it.

and goes on to say

In this intensely competitive economy, Arizona is fortunate to have a major advantage in astronomy and optics. Our clear, dark nights offer a world-class view of the universe. Arizonans count on Gov. Brewer to protect them. Gov. Brewer should push the off switch on HB 2757.

2010-10-19

post/1352227388

photo 18:25:21
The Map Room: Darker Than You Think
the original Light Pollution Atlas was systematically biased by the fact that snow was on the ground when the underlying satellite measurements were taken. Lorenz recalculated the light pollution for the U.S. and southern Canada based on snow-free satellite observations, and the whole northern part of the area came out roughly one full zone darker. That means that the original atlas overestimate the skyglow in this area by a factor of three.
Even so, the Bay Area sticks out as a red spot. At least there are some good dark skies within a (relatively) easy drive. (via aemkai’s ffffound)

The Map Room: Darker Than You Think

the original Light Pollution Atlas was systematically biased by the fact that snow was on the ground when the underlying satellite measurements were taken. Lorenz recalculated the light pollution for the U.S. and southern Canada based on snow-free satellite observations, and the whole northern part of the area came out roughly one full zone darker. That means that the original atlas overestimate the skyglow in this area by a factor of three.

Even so, the Bay Area sticks out as a red spot. At least there are some good dark skies within a (relatively) easy drive. (via aemkai’s ffffound)

2009-01-08

post/69146960

photo 13:12:00
The Night Sky in the World, via www.lightpollution.it. A map of light pollution.
The lights near the Falkland Islands? Fishing fleets.

The Night Sky in the World, via www.lightpollution.it. A map of light pollution.

The lights near the Falkland Islands? Fishing fleets.

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