Thursday, 24 March 2011

Star gazing

After my recent failed attempts at trying to spot the ISS, its orbit moved such that it wouldn't be visible from the UK. Earlier today I found a site that was recording the brightness of stars in the sky, to see the effect of light polution in different places.

I don't remember much in the way of seeing stars from my previous times I had gone out to look (although we did see the bright moon recently), so thought I would be able to contribute by informing them that Luton is pretty bad for star gazing. I went outside to have a quick look and was amazed... I could actually see some stars!

I went back inside to put some shoes on for a proper look, and made a quick sketch of the constellation the site was interested in (Leo). Returning to the garden, excited at actually being able to see something but clouds for once, I started searching the sky for constellation I had sketched...

From what I got from the site, I was supposed to be looking south, so pointed myself in that direction using the tricorder app on my phone (I already knew roughly which way it was, but it makes the Star Trek noises). While it was possible to see some stars in the sky, there were not as many as I was expecting, and not enough to make the constellation I was searching for.

I turned around to face north, in case I had made a mistake about the direction I should be looking in, but there were even less stars there, and the red glow coming from Luton town centre wasn't helping one bit. I turned around to search all over the sky, but accepted that the stars were not bright enough to be able to see that much.

Somewhat dissapointed, I went back inside, and filled out the form to indicate the visibility in this area, not the worse as I could actually see some stars, but the second worse as there were only a small few that I could actually see.

It is a bit unfortunate that there isn't much to look at in the sky in Luton, but I'm seeing the positive side that at least I got to see a few stars, instead of just dark clouds in an empty sky.