“To Boldly Go. . .” from Your Back Yard

Artificial light pollution has robbed us of the beautiful star-filled night skies that
thrilled ancient stargazers. But the technology of our times has also given back
at least as much as it’s taken away. While peoples of the past could see many
more stars in their much darker, clearer skies than we can, they had no idea what
they were looking at. But we do! That’s an advantage anyone can grasp and
hold onto, literally, in the palm of their hand. Smartphone apps, like the brilliant
“Sky Guide,” give us advantages that would make the Roman and Greek gods of
traditional sky lore green with envy. Standing in your yard and holding your
phone outstretched to the heavens, these apps overlay an Augmented Reality
view of the contents of the sky you’re seeing, so you can touch, identify and learn
about each constellation, star, planet, or satellite you might see. There’s no better
way for a contemporary stargazer to get a grasp of what’s up there than with an
app like this in hand.

Messer 42 (The Orion Nebula) as captured by Ron S.

And if you want to get the kids in your household enthralled with star stories, why
limit them to the old lore of the past? For example, Orion was seen as a hunter-
warrior locked in a life and death face-off with Taurus, the bull. But how much
more exciting it is to tell our kids the TRUE tales of what we NOW know about
the real life and death struggles in the region of space bound within those same
two constellations. In Orion lies a stellar nursery where hundreds of new stars
are just now being born, while, in Taurus, the remnant of a dead star is still
literally spinning in its grave thirty times a second and a thousand years after
blowing itself up as a supernova. Everywhere you turn, these are the kinds of
scientific star tales an app like “Sky Guide” gives you.

With nothing more than a smartphone, your eyes, and, if you have them, a
simple pair of binoculars, your backyard can become a launchpad for boldly
going where you’ve never gone before.

Written by Ron S.

To learn more backyard stargazing tips, check out the Redfin post below.

This entry was posted in DIY Science and tagged , , by greensborosciencecenter. Bookmark the permalink.

About greensborosciencecenter

The Greensboro Science Center offers three fascinating attractions in one wild destination! We are the only facility in North Carolina that offers an aquarium, museum, and zoo. Spend the day with us and come nose to beak with playful penguins, get eye to eye with awesome otters, explore the human body, experience Mother Nature’s fury and fun, and encounter exotic animals like gibbons, meerkats, and lemurs!

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