Monday, May 9, 2011

Star Party covered by The Californian

I would like to thank The Californian for covering the star party that my astronomy club conducted last week:
More than 200 turn out to star gaze

The reporter did a commendable job of squeezing the event into the limited print. She described the enthusiasm people show and their disbelief upon first seeing Saturn in a telescope -- disbelief that they are really looking at Saturn.

The reporter attended one of the three presentations I gave, and she captured the cross-section of observing and astronomy that I share. It's always interesting to see what sticks and makes it into a couple sentence summary:
Wearing a shirt that read "Science rules," Garrett talked about meteors, planets, the moon and its orbit, the large telescope at Palomar Observatory, and the best time to see Mars in the sky.
"Mars is really tiny," he said.
He also explained to students and parents how outdoor lighting, which he called "light pollution," can block views of the night sky in developed nations, and how the science of astronomy has helped scientists learn about the Earth's climate.
Though "Mars is really tiny" would not be my first choice for a quotation, I am pleased that I must have effectively conveyed the connection between astronomy and climate science. A theme from start to finish was that astronomy is not just what's beyond our planet, but contributes to our understanding of urgent topics like global climate change.  For example, detection of CO2 in exoplanets relies on the same principles as calculating CO2's increasing influence in Earth's greenhouse effect, yet global warming hoax theorists fail to include astronomers as members of the conspiracy. I hope my use of irony is clear.


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