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  1. #11
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    Hi,
    Reference your first posting that started this thread.

    Interesting project. I think that you may be making it too hard for a lay person and will get a mixed bag of results. Many people have never seen the MilkyWay in its true glory and probably have no idea what you mean about lanes, etc. Also, many people don't have a clue about where north is located. I would eliminate any reference to direction and drop levels 4 and 5 completely.
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  2. #12
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    I do struggle with how much detail I should give when trying to promote an astronomical event. For example, when trying to promote the Perseid meteor shower, do I just say "Watch for the Perseid Meteor Shower. Go out on August 12/13 at a location away from city lights. Best time to watch is between 1 and 5 a.m." A description like that is certainly simple, but I worry that a person who reads that simple description may do the following:

    -- go to a location that's only 30-45 min. away from a major city, thinking that's "good enough"
    -- set up at a spot that has one or more lights (usually from a parking lot near the campground) directly glaring into their eyes
    -- observe before midnight, not realizing that observing after 1 a.m. for the Perseids makes a significant difference

    By giving more details about the event, I'm hoping that people will go to extra lengths and have a better experience. It frustrates me when I see a report about a meteor shower that seems to blame the meteor shower ("That meteor shower was disappointing. We didn't see very many."), rather than the observing conditions.

    I agree, though: making things too complicated can turn people off a bit, too... It's tough finding that good balance.

    Mark

  3. #13
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    I think as Joe says its difficult when most haven't seen the milky way. What about the full moon at a dark sky and its effect on seeing?

    You need to make a complicated scale which most people may not comprehend or understand the scores to make it work, but I like the idea.
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  4. #14
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    I like the idea of the scale and would keep it simple, especially if dealing with novices. And yes, welcome to the forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrophoto View Post
    -- Everyone should try to visit a pristine dark sky (MW rates a 5 high in the sky AND low in the sky) at least once in their life.
    I would add that many of us drive quite a few times through places with a pristine dark sky but have no idea about that.
    I remember driving recently on I90 and stopping at a rest area in Montana. Although there were some lights close by, the Milky Way was perfectly visible (at a 5 on the scale mentioned above).
    Of course many people don't want to stop in the middle of nowhere because they are afraid of possible hazards...
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  6. #16
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    Mark, as promised, I used your scale to qualify my viewing conditions last night. Comparing Fuzzies 5" Mak to 16" Dob

    I feel that 5 sub areas of the sky would be unnecessarily confusing to neophyte astronomers, and propose a compromise: 3 readings. As you can see, I gave a designation at each end, (horizon) and at the zenith.

    If the protocol of North to South were to be adopted, my viewing conditions last night could be described succinctly as 0/2/1.
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  7. #17
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    Cool... thanks for doing that. I have a much better picture of the quality of that sky than the typical "there were so many stars" description that a beginner might give.

    How far off the horizon (degrees) did you look for the MW to the south and north?

    In fact, would you think that a city dweller who hasn't really seen a dark sky might look at a sky such as you saw last night and say "It was beautiful" or "There were so many stars"?

    I think that you and I would agree that, for us, that is a "mediocre" sky. The conditions sound similar to the type of sky that I can see from Brazos Bend State Park outside of Houston.

    Whether a person uses 3 locations or 5 (your suggestion is good, btw) might depend on who they're talking to..... it definitely gets people to look a little more closely at the sky-- both high and low.

    By the way, can you see all of the stars of the Little Dipper from there at upper culmination?

    What about lower culmination?

    Mark

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    If I had checked, I am sure I could have seen them last night. I'll check tonight for sure.

    That is another good indicator of seeing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WWPierre View Post
    If I had checked, I am sure I could have seen them last night. I'll check tonight for sure.

    That is another good indicator of seeing.
    The 4 dim stars in Ursa Minor (mag 4-5) seem to become visible at around 2 on your scale.
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