By Dave Fuller on 1/29/2014 12:13 PM

Eyes on the Sky as a website exists entirely as a means to raise awareness about light pollution and work towards reducing it. I started writing articles for my local newspaper to educate about the night sky and include a paragraph or two about light pollution, and then in 2011, moved to a worldwide audience with YouTube videos that are views in literally dozens of countries around the world. Marking 500,000 views in late October of 2013, I have been pleasantly surprised to have exceeded 600,000 views already in early 2014.

While this is personally satisfying on some level to have that kind of viewership, I often wonder about the real-world effects. Am I really making a difference? The Light Pollution forum at Cloudy Nights is a good resource, but not heavily trafficked compared to, say, arguments over the best eyepieces or whether reflectors are better than refrators. Sadly, many amateurs assume that the International Dark Sky Association will do this for them; they pay their annual dues, and hope for the best. What they don't realize is the IDA has a staff of just SIX PEOPLE. Six people aren't going to get light pollution changed in every locality. We ALL need to get involved. And you don't even need to spend time to do it on clear nights - just do it when it's cloudy or raining.

So I am issuing a challenge to amateur astronomers...

By Dave Fuller on 1/5/2014 8:31 AM
I actually had what I thought was a clear-ish night last night. Well, I could see stars out the window, which is better than what I've had for most of the last 3 or 4 weeks. But it was also 15F with winds blowing 10 to 20 mph, so rather than take a long focal length scope out, I decided on the Starblast 4.5. I knew the tripod was solid, and the wind wasn't likely to catch the short tube.

Wow... did that turn out to be one of my worst observing sessions ever. I shoveled some snow in my yard to have a decent spot to set up without having to stand in 4 inches of snow. I even dressed totally properly for the weather too - layers of clothing, hand and toe warmers, plus mittens over gloves. Everything was warm. Had my tablet with Sky Safari all set up, and the gloves under my mittens have the little "pads" on them so I could manipulate the tablet while protecting my hands from the cold.

I had wanted to look for a few things in Cepheus, but all those were wayyyy too low behind my house by the time I got...
By Dave Fuller on 1/3/2014 1:29 PM
On the social media site, there are wide-ranging sub-reddits for a variety of interests. One of them is astronomy, and a redditor recently postulated the idea of a monthly observing challenge for the readers there to try on their own. It's quite a list for January too, with 50 objects of varying observing difficulty ranging from easy to difficult. Many of the easier ones have been highlighted here at Eyes on the Sky, and I even posted links in that reddit post with links back here. So for 6 or 8 of them, these may be objects you've already observed or have some familiarity with finding and observing.

This is a great way to push your observational skills. There's no prize, no date to complete the objects - just a list of targets to try and find in the night sky. Why not give some these a shot, then post your observations at reddit? If I manage to get some clear skies...

The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.