Tonight’s waning last quarter (half) moon rises at 2:19am, well positioned for moonlight not to interfere with evening stargazing. From today, March 16, through next Tuesday, March 24, when the moon is dark, known as new moon, there will be only morning crescents during the early hours before sunrise. This period is optimum for stargazing and for contributing in a small but significant way to astronomical research. Astronomers need eyes in the field all over the world to learn about stargazing conditions beyond their observatories – including hearing from cities. This is an easy and enlightening assignment. It can be fun to share with family and friends, too.
During the ten days from March 16 – 24, we are asked to look at the constellation Orion and compare what we see to the Globe at Night schematics accessed on your computer or smartphone. https://www.globeatnight.org/webapp/ Globe at Night is the international organization that has created a way for individuals to report the stars we see in just one constellation in the cycle you choose. March seems to be the optimal month for the program at our location. Stargaze for a few minutes during the timeframe between an hour after sunset until about 11pm, when Orion is visible in our skies. When accessing the report page on the app, it may show Gemini as your choice. In the bottom right corner of the schema you may switch to Orion, which is preferable for the researchers this cycle. Also note, should you need this information, that our latitude is roughly 40 N, longitude 70 W.
Data entry form on computer or smartphone.
Mostly in the words of GAN, “The Globe at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations from a computer or smart phone. Light pollution threatens not only our “right to starlight”, but affects energy consumption, wildlife and human health.”
This short video (4 minutes) from the International Dark Sky Association is well worth viewing