Archive for the 'Astronomy In The News' Category

POV Special – The City Dark – PBS Premiere July 5th (Online July 6 – August 5)

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

Prof. John McMahon sent along the following announcement well before an actual commercial made its way to my airwaves:

Ian Cheney’s highly-acclaimed documentary “The City Dark” about the loss of the night sky will air on PBS’s program “POV” (Point of View) this July 5.

Please disseminate this info to those you know, both astro-types and others … since public awareness of light pollution’s numerous adverse effects is the first step to reducing it.

The special airs on WCNY-TV at 10 p.m. on July 5th, 2 a.m. on WCNY-2, and at the POV website through August 5th.

More information about this documentary can be found at the PBS POV website, www.pbs.org/pov/citydark/.

Is darkness becoming extinct? When filmmaker Ian Cheney moves from rural Maine to New York City and discovers streets awash in light and skies devoid of stars, he embarks on a journey to America’s brightest and darkest corners, asking astronomers, cancer researchers and ecologists what is lost in the glare of city lights. Blending a humorous, searching narrative with poetic footage of the night sky, The City Dark provides a fascinating introduction to the science of the dark and an exploration of our relationship to the stars.

I’ve included the youtube preview of this documentary below:

The issue of light pollution is never far from the minds of amateur astronomers at Darling Hill Observatory, as our Northern (Syracuse), Southern (Cortland), and Eastern (a particularly bright auto dealership) Horizons have all been negatively impacted.

If this documentary shines particularly bright to you, note that there are organizations actively engaged in dark sky/light pollution issues. These include the International Dark-Sky Association and SELENE-NY.

SAS Astronomical Chronicle For June 2012, Venus Transit Observing At The MOST On June 5th

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The Astronomical Chronicle for June 2012 is available for download below:

June 2012 Astronomical Chronicle

This issue includes information about the Venus Transit (more below) and an article first published in the Syracuse New Times in May of 2001 about Karl Schultz, a long-time member of the SAS who passed this past 21 May 2012. The SAS thanks the New Times for allowing the reprinting of the article to bring new members “up to speed” on some of our society’s history. Also, the Venus Transit is still officially on for June 5th as detailed in the blog post below. The official flyer is as follows for the event. Stay tuned to the SAS page on Tuesday afternoon for final confirmation.

The MOST And SAS Host A Transit Of Venus Observing Session (And More!) 5 June 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Greetings fellow asrtrophiles,


I am pleased to announce that the SAS is collaborating with the MOST (Museum of Science and Technology, www.most.org) and is hosting the outside observing session for the Transit of Venus/SUN-EARTH DAY: SHADOWS OF THE SUN Session this June 5th!

The indoor MOST session is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and includes a live NASA Feed of the transit from Hawaii (which will be our fall-back location if the Syracuse skies do not permit observing). The SAS scopes will be set up until sunset (or until buildings obscure our view of the Sun. The location near Walt, “The Loch West Monster” along the Creekwalk provides an excellent low horizon near the MOST) on the corner of East Fayette St. and the Onondaga Creekwalk (map image and street view below. For directions, see google maps HERE).

For those attending and interested in bringing their own solar-safe scopes, the setup time will be 5:00 p.m., giving us ample opportunity to observe sunspots and coordinate our group observing endeavor.

SAS members at the 2004 Transit.

“Ingress Exterior” (the first “touch” between Venus and the Sun) begins at 6:09 p.m. and “Ingress Interior” (when Venus is fully “within” the Sun) occurs at 6:27 p.m. After that, we observe as long as we can.

More details will follow as plans are finalized. Until then, we hope you can join us for an event that wont happen again until December of 2117!


To make sure the point is addressed, unfiltered telescopes and binoculars are FAR, FAR more damaging to your eyes than staring at the Sun without any optics. DO NOT ATTEMPT OBSERVING THE TRANSIT WITHOUT PROTECTION! Scopes at our session contain either internal Sun-safe filters or filters made from Baader film (pronounced “B-ah-der”). If you want to use binoculars for observing and do not have filters, DO NOT ATTEMPT OBSERVING THE TRANSIT WITHOUT PROJECTION! Details on how this is done can be found at spaceweather.com/sunspots/doityourself.html.

The SAS Solar Observing brochure can be downloaded HERE.

SAS Astronomical Chronicle For May 2012, Public Viewing Session This Friday, May 11 (12 Alt.), And 40 Minute SuperMoon Notice

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophile!

The May 2012 Astronomical Chronicle is up in plenty of time for our next Public Viewing Session this Friday, May 11 (as always, check the website by 5:00 p.m. on Friday to confirm we’ll be opening).

And, if you’re reading this in time, don’t forget to give the Moon your undivided attention at 11:35 p.m. tonight.

Astrophotography Highlights From The London Chess Classic, 7 December 2011

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

Passing along an interesting link (and note) sent by Steve Capp, SAS Member and reigning king of the Darling Hill Big Dobsonian owners (and the last amateur astronomer you want to play chess against on an overcast night). Embedded here are a few images from the great read at chessbase.com.

Dr. Christian Sasse, Vishy Anand, John Nunn at the astronomy session.

Being a chess player, I have been following a world class chess tournament in London this week. One Grandmaster from London (Dr John Nunn) along with the world champion (Viswanathan Anand) are really interested in astronomy.

John Nunn’s image of Rho Ophiuchus Nebula. Click HERE for a larger version.

During the tournament yesterday, after round four, they gave a lecture along with Dr Christian Sasse on astronomy. It’s pretty good. The first part of the talk is about the images that John has taken and then it moves more into the equipment and software. World Champion Viswanathan Anand has taken up imaging which I found cool.

The site is: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=7739