"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!
Neat post. Keep em coming.
Also, I don't know if this issue is only happening to me, but about 3 weeks ago I've noticed that 60% of all pictures on SWaB do not load in my browser. i get the blank square with the small red X in it. Even after clicking the Show Picture option, I still get nothing. Other photos only load 1/2 way then stop in the middle. Just curious to find out from other readers if this problem is shared.
crd2 : no images problems for me, I get all of them. (browser: Firefox)
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I didn't quite get to see the Milky Way, but we could see many, many more stars then normal on Saturday. Quite an awesome site. You don't realise how many stars you are missing on a typical city evening, until you can actually see them.
I've been looking for a star map poster! I may just have to order one of those. Thanks!
Was viewing Orion, Canis Major, Lepus, part of Taurus with Hyades, and Pleiades last night out my back window looking high in the southwest... Out of my east window Saturn with Spica beneath and Arcturus shining brightly. As the night went on, up came Vega from the Northeast. The moon wasn't out yet so the skies were littered with stars I don't normally get to see. Just a beautiful night to star gaze.
Completely off topic, but as a local Portlander, I'd love to see you give a talk for an OMSI science pub night at the Baghdad Theater. If you haven't heard about it, please check it out: http://www.omsi.edu/sciencepub. Its always a pleasure reading your blog and It would be great to see Start With A Bang "live". Just a thought. Thanks!