“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.” -Lord Byron
All over the world, Earth Hour has fallen, and it’s about to, imminently, here in my part of the world. For a song to take you through this post, I’ve got a (Peter Rowan?) folk classic performed by The Be Good Tanyas in their own unique style,
Hundreds, or if you’re lucky, thousands of stars lighting up your night sky. Maybe you can see some constellations you recognize, or perhaps if your sky is really dark, you can even see the Milky Way from where you are!
And maybe, just by looking for some of the constellations and brightest stars, you can learn a little bit about where you are.
But what if you want to know more? What if you wanted to be able to look up at the night sky, and immediately know what you were looking at? Well, I am proud to promote the small business of Ashland Astronomy Studio, because they’ve just put out the best, affordable (at just $17) map of the night sky in a three-foot by two-foot poster called “Stars of the Northern Hemisphere.”
And I like this poster for a number of reasons. First, it shows the relative brightness and colors of the stars, and it shows both constellations and — for those of you who want a word of the day — asterisms.
But as an astronomy professor, one of the most common questions I get asked is, “Which of the stars that we see are known to have planets?” And I always have to tell them I don’t know. Well, there’s no more “not knowing,” because this poster is the first one I’ve ever seen to have them labeled!
And in addition to this amazing feature, they also have closeup views of some of the closest bright star clusters to us: the Hyades and the Pleiades.
Of course, all the brightest stars are labeled as well. For just $17, it’s a really good deal.
And what you get to learn before even my students do is that whichever student writes the best research paper for my class is getting this poster as a gift from me!
So if you’re looking up at the wondrous night sky and want to know what you’re looking at, I can’t think of a better direction to point you in. Whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re enjoying the sky, the stars, your weekend, and doing your best to help celebrate Earth Hour!