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OBSERVING BLOG by Stuart Goldman
Let's Count Stars!
To give people a real sense of the problem, a National Science Foundationfunded experiment, organized by the Windows to the Universe project of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), is recruiting people to examine their night sky. For the first two weeks in October, you can participate in a world-wide study to determine just how starry a starry night now is.
The task is easy. Go to the Great World Wide Star Count website and print star charts for your observing location. Everyone in the Northern Hemisphere will look at Cygnus; everyone south of the equator will look at Sagittarius. Each of the seven maps shows stars down to a different magnitude limit (plus one for a cloudy sky).
Don't worry, you don't actually have to count all the stars in the field. Just go outside in the early evening and note the map that best matches the view with your unaided eye. Which one has the faintest stars you can see is what you'll report back via the website.
This makes it very easy. The whole family can participate, and you can do it several times during the course of the two-week-long experiment.
Posted by Stuart Goldman, September 26, 2007