Monday, October 20, 2008

The Great World Wide Star Count - Oct 20 to Nov 3, 2008

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The Great World Wide Star Count is a great event which will let you get out observing and help determine how clear our skies are. It's timed for any evening between 7pm-9pm which makes it a perfect event for Cub/Scout meetings. Or even better a camp!

The count is a simple event, you observe Cygnus (the Northern Cross) in the north or Sagittarius (the Archer) (also known as the "Teapot" asterism) in the south and match the number and patterns you see to a set of magnitude charts provided on the site.
  • Get your activity guide (available in several languages) and magnitude charts (and take the online quiz).
  • Pick your site.
  • Make sure you let the your eyes adapt to the dark for 20 to 30 minutes before observing. A flashlight free hike is a great start.
  • Record the latitude and longitude using a GPS device, Google Maps, or a topographic map.
  • Record your results along with the date and time.
  • Report your results online as before November 7th.
Other things you might need:
  • A planisphere or star finder. For a free download, read Build your own Planisphere (Star Finder)!
  • A red flashlight to preserve your night vision.
  • Weather appropriate clothing.
  • Hot chocolate for afterwards.
This event is very similar to a light pollution awareness program called The Globe at Night which ran from Feb 25 to Mar 8 and was based on the constellation Orion.

Good counting!

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