Sunday, December 13, 2009

Geminids

I switched on the computer just after 10pm and saw Roger G3XBM's post about the Geminid meteor shower, so I set the K3 to 50.230MHz JT6m, put on a warm coat and went outside to take a look. The radio didn't receive anything but in the space of about 15 minutes I saw three bright, slow moving meteors.

I have had a moderate interest in astronomy all my life. In fact, there is a small Celestron telescope occupying a valuable corner of the already cramped G4ILO shack which I have been intending for months to put back in its box and put up in the loft because it hasn't been used for at least three years. The main reason, apart from the Cumbrian weather, is that we are surrounded on all sides by street lamps (not to mention the neighbours' security lamps) which makes any real enjoyment of the night sky impossible.

Directly at the back of the house are two orange sodium lamps, but I noticed for the first time this evening that another lamp down the road had been replaced by a brighter reddish-white kind of lamp that was even worse and killed any chance of seeing stars in the northerly direction.

I had an unhappy thought. Astronomy enthusiasts, whom I believe to be more numerous than radio amateurs, have failed to convince councils to install downward-focussed non-light polluting types of street lamps that would not interfere with viewing the night sky, so what hope have we of persuading the powers that be to outlaw devices that interfere with radio reception?

2 comments:

Eldon R. Brown SR - WA0UWH said...

Julian,

I have thought about astronomy, and had a telescope here for a few nights. We got a good look a Saturn, Jupiter and it's moons.

Most of the time Seattle has a lot of cloud cover - but when it is clear (as the last two weeks) it is CLEAR and DARK! I live in a small valley with ridges and tall trees to the North, West and South and the nearest light source is a small light about 1/4 mile away. In the summer the milky-way is a bright band light, enough to light your way.

I should take advantage of my night sky! but I have too many hobbies now.

Best to you.

Eldon - WA0UWH

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g4ilo said...

You are lucky. I can remember the night sky being like that as a kid when street lights were fewer and dimmer.

It is a shame that amateur astronomy and amateur radio are both becoming activities that many people can't any longer pursue from home due to spectrum pollution.