Tag Archives: Barlow Bob

2016 U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events Calendar – Still Remembering Barlow Bob (By Helping Keep The Community Connected)

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

www.cnyo.org/2016-u-s-star-parties-and-astro-events/

I wanted to get this post out before the year gets any further (not farther) along. I am pleased to announce that the 2016 edition of U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events calendar is available on the CNYO website for your star party planning pleasure (and/or download). This is an as-complete-as-google-and-email-will-allow list of all of the star parties happening in the U.S. for the year (complete as of this posting, so check back to the main page often), including all of the events that were announced in 2015 but that haven’t had 2016 dates announced yet (and we’re keeping track of those links as well).

2016feb2_Barlow-Bob-FullThis list, now maintained by Chuck Higgins of Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society and myself and is a continuation of the same original star party list compiled by the late-great Barlow Bob (shown at-play at right, who co-managed it with Chuck Higgins starting a few years back and before BB’s passing in 2014. For those who don’t know about Barlow Bob, his contribution to NEAF in the form of the NEAF Solar Star Party (Astronomy Technology Today article downloaded from www.asgh.org), or his own solar astronomy outreach, please check out THIS LINK on the CNYO website. The image above comes from a nice remembrance at Stargeezer Radio).

You can always find the page by hovering over the CALENDAR link the top menu list on the CNYO website. The excel file and list will be updated as we find new info for new events. If you want to add events to this list, please do so (contact Damian at info@cnyo.org, or use our CONTACT page)! We are also awaiting corrections, comments, new links, additional announcements, etc., from current items on the list – specifically the blue items at the bottom of the page.

And What Is This Star Party Of Which You Speak?

2016feb2_TexasSta-Party2009_341Very briefly – a chance for you to join many other enthusiastic amateur astronomers for a night of group star gazing, comparing eyepieces, assorted discussions, wandering around to see the variety of scopes in the community, and generally having a great time spending as much of the night as you can looking up. You should try to take in at least one each year!

And might one of the events on this list be your first Star Party? Have you been kicked out of one lately and don’t know why? Do you want to NOT face the wrath of several hundred dark-adapted, caffeine-crazed astronomers in a single flicker of a flashlight? The I strongly encourage you to take a look at a few of the links below – which all cover proper Star Party Etiquette. As you will see, all the links basically say the same thing. With that kind of a consensus view, you know that we fellow attendees mean business. If you need more reading, just google star party guide. Attendees have a lot to say!

* www.astrohbg.org/CSSP/images/CSSP_Images/PDF/StarPartyEtiquette.pdf
* www.astro-tom.com/tips_and_advice/star_party_tips.htm
* www.company7.com/library/starpty.html
* www.astromax.org/faq/aa01faq16.htm
* bfsp.org/rules-and-faq/

I hope to see your dark, featureless outline at at least one of the events on the list. If you find one happening right in your own vicinity that you didn’t even know existed, thank Barlow Bob.

U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events Calendar For 2015 – Continuing A Great Idea

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

For several years, those in the Barlow Bob email loop were treated to a Word doc containing a list of East Coast Star Parties, complete with web links and locations “Courtesy Barlow Bob and Friends.” Starting two years ago, this event list was compiled by Barlow Bob and Chuck Higgins of the Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society. For my part, this list served two great purposes. First, it allowed me to keep track of (and pass along) astro events not too far from Central New York (many an easy drive for overnight stays). Second, it was a great way to see how other clubs had their websites arranged (which was great for stealing ideas and widgets – it’s a large enough community where you can see what seems to work and not work with only a few hours of snooping around!).

2014june20_barlowbob_5_small

Barlow Bob at the center of the 2014 NEAF Solar Star Party.

As a way to continue Barlow Bob’s tradition of outreach beyond his own solar observing sessions (I often called him the “Postman of Amateur Astronomy” for the number of emails he would forward along), I am pleased to report that the compilation of 2015 Star Parties has been completed (and we’ve only missed a few events already) by Chuck Higgins and myself. The link can be found when you hover over the “Calendar” link above and an official page has been setup on the CNYO website, complete with PDF, DOCX, and HTML versions (the HTML case so you can copy + paste the table into your own pages if you like).

2015 U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events

PDF VersionWord DOCX VersionTable’d HTML Version

(www.cnyo.org/2015-u-s-star-parties-and-astro-events/)

The list is, as of 6 April 2015, as accurate as our web searches and other organizations’ websites has allowed – but we expect a few changes to appear as situations require and as some organizations announce their official dates. We’ll keep the official page here updated accordingly.

In the meantime, I see this list and can only remark on how many clubs we have in the US full of members who enjoy and appreciate the Night Sky. As you’ll see checking out event info pages, these Star Parties are usually wide open to the public as well. As someone who’s organized such events, I can say with certainly that it is no trivial matter to arrange all of the details for a successful Star Party. That is to say, the hosts for these events really want *you* to enjoy and appreciate the Night Sky as well.

If you see a problem, want to add an event, or have any other comment about the page, please drop a line to info@cnyo.org and Chuck and I will reply accordingly. Otherwise, get yourself outside a few times this year!

CNYO Saw The March 20th Total Eclipse With Barlow Bob Shining Bright

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

It’s almost impossible in today’s super-connected world to not see astronomical events, even when they’re several time zones away. The March 20th total eclipse over the UK and Northern Europe was certainly evidence of that, with video, aerial video, and thousands and thousands of pictures taken (see the gallery on this eclipse’s wikipedia page for a nice summary).

As a fun aside, the visit summary for the last few weeks is shown below, courtesy of our WordPress Jetpack plug-in.

2015march23_eclipse_peak

As you can see, we’re usually in the 50’s and 60’s every day (mostly directed from search engines). On March 20th, we spiked like gamma ray burst, reaching 328 visitors. A noticeable bump that returned to normal on the 23rd.

2015march21_march20stats_detail

The large number of visitors (219) all seemed to favor a single page – the late, great Barlow Bob’s two articles on the benefits and use of the Sunspotter. I’ve no idea if the Sunspotter is a big hit in Europe or if people were simply searching frantically for anything solar safety and eclipse-related, but the numbers (for the 20th, anyway), don’t lie. It is my suspicion that many a google’er came across one article or another from Barlow Bob in their solar searches, and we’re happy to have a few of his articles hosted here for others to find as the upcoming eclipses occur.

2015march21_barlowbob

Barlow Bob as captured at NEAF. Image courtesy of stargeezerradio.com.

2015march21_11069934_907214125998103_6014315920335880905_nFrom the “I wouldn’t have ever thought of that” department, and as an even more fun aside, the following image came across my Facebook feed courtesy of Stephen W. Ramsden, the main man behind the great Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project. Someone outside of The Feathers Inn in Stocksfield, UK captured the image at right (click the image for a larger view) of the eclipse being projected through a pasta strainer. A capital(-saving) idea!

And to show the importance of search terms to google, the searches for “eclipse strainer” and “eclipse colander” produce some very different results favoring the “eclipse colander” (for the purpose highlighted here, anyway). The UK version of the Huffington Post even featured an article for the March eclipse on their site (Solar Eclipse 2015 Sees The Humble Colander Come Into Its Own).

I think the kids below explain the procedure simply enough. One can only assume that some seriously ornate eclipse observing will happen if the Moon ever finds itself between the Sun and Tuscany.

2015march21_colander

This all remarks back to a point we cannot stress enough – Solar observing is fun, but definitely not a game! Never-never-never stare directly at the Sun through any kind of magnifying optics! Don’t noodle around if you don’t have proper filters – solar projection is the way to go. Just as Bob Piekiel and Larry Slosberg demonstrate below.