Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fingers crossed

I'm teaching Observational Astronomy this semester on Thursday nights.  One of the main objectives of this course is to get outside and look at the sky, identify constellations, learn to use telescopes, etc.

Past three Thursdays in a row have been cloudy and rainy.  Tomorrow, however, looks good so I'm really psyched about getting out with the students.  Nothing better than standing outside at night under a starlit sky and looking around (even on our notoriously light-polluted campus).  A local author once wrote about our campus at night:

As I watched in horror, I also became aware of a strange glow in the sky. The sun had set, but a blood-red aura appeared across the fields, emanating from a site half a mile away. I knew that there was a commuter college somewhere over there, known as [edited out by me], and as the evening descended, the school's system of anticrime lights flared into phosphorescence. Atmospheric conditions stained the light red, and the college glowed like a Martian heliport.

A Place in the Country
Laura Shaine Cunningham

Awfully hard to do good astronomical observing at a Martian heliport but we manage!

By the way, if you haven't been outside to see Jupiter this past month, you're missing a great sight - it's the brightest thing in the southeastern sky.

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