The annual event that uses the bright stars of the constellation of Orion to estimate regional brightness levels of the sky at night will get underway again in March 2010. Starting on March 3 and continuing to March 16 you have the opportunity to get involved in this worldwide program. All the information need to participate is online on their web site of the Globe at Night.
The program is based upon limiting magnitude, the faintest star that one can see with one’s eye, without optical aid. No special equipment is require, i.e. binoculars or a telescope, just your own eyes. The stars used in the program are those of the constellation of Orion. Orion is one of the most familiar and easily recognized star patterns in the sky. The other patterns are the stars of the Big Dipper; still not a constellation, and of course the often mistaken for a constellation The Pleiades; still not the Little Dipper. I’ll let you figure that out.
Using charts of Orion downloaded from the Globe at Night web site, participants determine the faintest star one can see with their eye. This along with your longitude and latitude is submitted to the Globe at Night program using an online form or paper form if you wish. The web site has instructions on how you can get the longitude and latitude of you location from online sources or your own personal GPS device. Of the two web sites mentioned on the Globe at Night web site the ItouchMap web site was easier to use.
Use the drop down menu in the upper left to select the Lat – Long menu. You then enter your home address to display your Latitude and Longitude in both degrees minutes and seconds and in decimal degrees. Not to complicated is it?
I have been participation in the program for a number of years, as have other members of the club.
Ok so you’ll need a red light and warm clothing and a good view of the sky where Orion is. And a chair, that’ s all you need. And a computer. I’ll assume since your reading this you have one. But that’s all, really. One last thing, clear skies. A eye patch, one that you may have left over from Talk Like a Pirate Day, is not required.
And the website location http://www.globeatnight.org