light pollution

Light Pollution is No Longer The Problem

The number one topic of conversation at the Oregon Star Party (OSP) this year was that there is no longer much doubt that wild fires are increasing in frequency and size, and that this has a major impact on amateur astronomy.  Nor is there much doubt that this will continue to be more of a problem in the future – at least until all the vegetation on the west coast is lost to fire and there is nothing left to burn. I was at OSP from Tuesday through Sunday and the air was hazy from smoke almost the entire time.  […]

Star Party in the Round

Recently, a friend has been making 360 degree by 180 degree panoramas of the night sky in various locations as part of a light pollution study.  As you can see, this is a pretty useful tool to document and demonstrate what light pollution looks like, but it also makes a pretty nice picture, so I asked him how to do it.  Mike was very helpful.  Not only did he show me how to do it, he loaned me his fancy tripod head to capture the frames, and did part of the processing that requires some software I don’t have (yet). […]

Night Hike

For several years now I have been wanting to take a “night sky” photo from my favorite local hike, Silver Star Mountain.  I recently got the chance, and got a few interesting photos, although the main lesson from this experience is that you really have to make your plans around light pollution: This is more or less the image I had planned.  It would have been a bit better if I had waited a couple of hours so that the Milky Way came up to the right of the peak, but it was probably going to get cloudy by then.  […]