MOST Climate Day Sneak Preview – Lorne Covington’s Immersive Solar Explorer – Tuesday, April 2nd

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

I had the good fortune on March 7th of meeting Lorne Covington, the mind behind noirflux.com, at a Hacks/Hackers Syracuse Meetup. Those of you who’ve been to the MOST recently, including those who attended the March 16th TACNY-sponsored Jr. Cafe Scientifique lecture on Satellites and Space Junk, may have had the good fortune of meeting one of Lorne’s installations – the Dancing Light Theater interactive exhibit (see the video below).

I am pleased to report that, just in time for the MOST’s April 2nd Climate Day festivities, another of Lorne’s interactive pieces is going to be in full effect. His Immersive Solar Explorer will be set up in the MOST (yet another thing some of the CNYO attendees will miss as we turn our attention (and our scopes) to the Sun on the Creekwalk all afternoon). A sneak preview of this exhibit (and description) is shown in the vimeo video below.

Immersive Solar Explorer from NoirFlux on Vimeo.

Waving your hand near the large moving sun reveals intricate moving structures on and above the solar surface. The base image is of the sun at 80,000 degrees, and when you hold your hand near the sun, the 1,000,000 degree image is revealed, both images moving in sync. (The screen is interactive from both sides, hence the reversed legends.)

The imagery is from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov), which updates with a new still image every 15 minutes in a variety of wavelengths. The installation displays a moving animation of the data from the previous five days, up to the last 15 minute image.

This early version is using the 1K (1024×1024) SDO data, the updated version uses the 2K and 4K datasets for greater visual clarity, and offers selection of wavelengths to view.

Music: Sunsets (excerpt) by Sang Froid

Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) Soliciting Comments – Request For Light Pollution Comments And Consideration Of IDA Recommendations

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The following post to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) Outdoor Lighting Forum from Gary Honis (astrophotographer extraordinaire) was sent along to me by John McMahon (local amateur astronomer and responsible-lighting proponent extraordinaire). John had also forwarded the youtube video from Gary concerning drilling-related light pollution made at Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park, home of the Cherry Springs Star Party (Ryan Goodson and I are currently registered for the event this year) late last fall (see the image above, taken from Gary Honis’ Skyglow from Marcellus Gas Well Drilling Site page).

Gary is requesting that concerned amateur astronomers comment on the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) website immediately as this new organization establishes standards for shale drilling. Of note is the request for the CSSD to consider the IDA lighting fixture recommendations. Of drilling-specific note is the recommendation that flaring times be limited. Gary’s post, including links to the CSSD page and several relevant articles, is provided below.

A new organization (CSSD) was formed this week comprised of the gas drilling industry and environmental groups that have reached agreement to create a system to set standards for reducing the effects of shale drilling. The article is here:

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/03/both_sides_agree_on_tough_new.html

According to the article, multiple states will be covered but it does not mention any outdoor lighting or flaring controls.

The CSSD has a comment page set up for receiving comments. If you are so inclined, please consider requesting that they include exterior lighting and flaring standards to address the problem of light pollution. The CSSD comment page is here:

http://037186e.netsolhost.com/site/contact/

If they don’t receive comments from the astronomical community, I doubt lighting issues will be addressed. Below are the comments I provided:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My recommendation is the CSSD should include flaring and lighting requirements in its standards to avoid the problems of light pollution such as glare, light trespass, energy waste and skyglow. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) maintains a list of IDA approved shielded light fixtures and also has developed lighting codes jointly with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). See

http://www.darksky.org/outdoorlighting

Utilizing the IDA approved light fixtures and CSSD adoption of the IDA/IESNA lighting codes would address lighting problems for adjacent land owners. It would also avoid the light pollution as documented in
the 2012 NASA Earth Observatory images showing wasted light and skyglow in North Dakota and Pennsylvania from gas drilling operations. See:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NPP/news/earth-at-night.html

Having standards that limit flaring operations to daytime or during New Moon periods, as is being done in sensitive areas of PA, would help preserve our disappearing night sky resource.

Thanks for your consideration of this request.

Gary Honis, P.E.
GHAAS

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have one YouTube video of the effect on Cherry Springs Dark Sky Park from flaring and associated unshielded lighting at gas drill rigs posted here:

The Barlow Bob and Chuck Higgins Astronomy Events (Festivals And Star Parties) Calendar For 2013

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

I was very happy to find in my inbox last week an email from solar specialist and NEAF Solar Star Party head honcho Barlow Bob containing his (and Chuck Higgins) summarized list of 2013 Astronomy Club Star Parties and assorted events. True to form, I obtained the same list from CNYO’s and New Moon Telescope’s Ryan Goodson early this week after he forwarded it from Barlow Bob. Finally, not a few minutes ago, I received a third copy of the list from Chuck Higgins.

This triplicate (I await yet another copy from another email address) delivery is one of the great things about amateur astronomy – it is, despite the large number of events posted below, a small enough community where important information for fellow amateurs is still passed around from familiar heralds like recopied science letters in old Europe and Colonial America.

The summarized list links are provided courtesy of Barlow Bob and Chuck Higgins as of 18 March 2013 (and new events may be added). If it’s on this side of the Mississippi River and they’ve announced the event already, it’s likely on this list. A PDF of this calendar can be downloaded at: www.arunah.org/barlowbob_calendar_2013.pdf

Date

Event

Location


Feb 24 – Mar 2 2013 Winter Star Party Florida Keys, FL

Mar 7 – 10 Zombie Star Gaze Atlanta, GA

Apr 11 – 14 Delmarva Star Gaze Star Party Tuckahoe State Park, MD

May 2 – 5 South Jersey Spring Star Party Belleplain State Forest, NJ

Apr 12 – 13 Spring Stokes Star Party Stokes State Forest, NJ

Apr 18 – 19 Northeast Astronomical Imaging Conference 2013 Suffern, NY

Apr 20 – 21 NEAF 2013, NSSP NEAF Solar Star Party Suffern, NY

Jun 1 StarConn 2013 Wesleyan University, CT

Jun 6 – 9 Cherry Springs Star Party Cherry Springs Park, PA

Jul 10 – 13 Green Bank Star Quest Green Bank, WV

Jul 10 – 14 Mason Dixon Star Party York County, PA

Jul 12 – 13 The Conjunction 2013 Northfield, MA

Jul 24 – 27 ALCON 2013 Atlanta, GA

Aug 2 – 3 Maine State Star Party Edmunds, ME

Aug 2 – 4 AOS StarFest Savoy, MA

Aug 2 – 11 Rockland Summer Star Party Plainfield, MA

Aug 2 – 11 Savoy Star Party Savoy, MA

Aug 8 – 11 Stellafane 2013 Springfield, VT

Aug 30 – Sep 2 Arunah Hill Days Cummington, MA

Sep 6 – 8 Black Forest Star Party Cherry Springs Park, PA

Sep 6 – 8 Connecticut Star Party Ashford, CT

Sep 6 – 10 Almost Heaven Star Party Spruce Knob, WV

Sep 26 – 30 Acadia Night Sky Festival Bar Harbor, ME

Sep 29 – Oct 6 Peach State Star Gaze Sharon, GA

Oct 4 – Oct 6 Kopernik AstroFest 2013 Vestal, NY

Oct 28 – Nov 3 Chiefland Fall Star Party Chiefland Astro Village, FL