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The Pearl Cluster from Sydney

The Pearl Cluster from Sydney

The Pearl Cluster (NGC 3766, Caldwell 97), in Centaurus, from my backyard, 15 km North from Sydney’s city center, on 4th June 2020.

This image compiles 30 x 180s images (1.5 hours total integration time) obtained with my Skywatcher Black Diamond 80, an Orion X0.8 focal reducer (f/6), the ZWO ASI178MC camera and an OPTOLONG L-Pro filter.

I used the ZWO ASIAir to control the camera, the mount (Skywatcher AZ-EQ6) and the guiding system (ASI120MM + Orion 50mm finderscope).

Flats and darks included. Data processed with Siril software. Color / saturation / levels / contrast / smart sharpen with Photoshop.

Full resolution image in my Flickr.

Credit: Ángel R. López-Sánchez (AAO-MQ).

Astrophotos and Seasons in Macquarie University’s “The Lighthouse”

Yes, I know this is another auto-publicity post, but that is also a way for me to keep track of all my appearances in media / news.

Today I’m very happy to share that my images and my… comments about the real (astronomical) beginning of the seasons  have appeared in this article of Macquarie University’s online newsletter “The Lighthouse”.

The Lighthouse” is the online Macquarie University‘s Newsletter that aims to  showcase of world-changing research news, expert comment and data-backed opinion. 

I want to thank Virginia Tressider for preparing this beautiful article in a very short time. I hope that many of these articles will come in the nearby feature.

My astro photos in ABC Breakfast News

Following the citizen science project aiming to raise consciousness of the increasing problem of the light pollution, as well as performing the Guinness World Records ™ Official Attempt for “Most users to take an online environmental sustainability lesson in 24 hours”, meteorologist, science communicator and TV presenter Nate Byrne has shared this morning some of my astronomical images in the ABC Breakfast Show.

 Nate Byrne talking about my astronomical images in today’s ABC Breakfast News. You can see the high-resolution image Nate is showing on my webpage and on my Flickr.

I’m extremely excited about all of this, and I really want to thank Nate for showing my images.

Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t watch the show, and it is not available on iView. I’m trying to get the screenshots of the other images that Nate shared today to include them here.

Measure the light pollution in your street this Sunday

My “SpaceNews” for the episode of “The Skyentists” that Kirsten and me released yesterday was to talk about the citizen science project that is running this Sunday, 21st June (Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) with the aims of measure the light pollution in Australia and New Zealand.

You have all the information about the event on the webpage of the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance, and PLEASE do register to participe on it. It is very easy and fun to do: just observe the sky with your unaided eye and estimate how many stars do you see using the Globe at Night Web App.

This citizen science project is also part of the Guinness World Records ™ Official Attempt for Most users to take an online environmental sustainability lesson in 24 hours.

As you know, I’ve been fighting the big problem of the light pollution for decades, and not only because it negatively affects us, astronomers, but also because of the huge environmental impact that the light pollution is, with plenty of negative effects in flora, fauna and our health, and on top of that it is a stupid way of wasting our resources (and MONEY) and contribute to CO2 emission.

Hence, I’m helping as much as I can to promote this citizen science project and make the people aware of what we are missing because we are not illuminating properly our cities.

Science in Public has prepared a media release about it, and I have contributed with several of my astronomical images and timelapses.

This morning, Marnie Ogg, CEO of the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance, has been interviewed by the famous weather presenter, meteorologist and science communicator Nate Byrne in the public Australian TV channel, ABC, about it.

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And I’m very happy because, for some few seconds, I was on TV!!!

I’m very grateful to Niall Byrne (Science in Public), Tanya HaNate Byrne and Marnie Ogg for using my images and videos for all of this, but also for crediting them.

So, now you know, this Sunday evening don’t stay inside your house: get your kids, your friends, your family, your parents, your boyfriend or your girlfriend and look at the sky to help us measuring the light pollution in Australia, and perhaps even beating a World Guinness Record!

Update: Below I compile the links to articles in the media that have used my images for talking about all of this.

  1. Longest night, darkest sky, COSMOS, 17 June 2020.
  2. Look up! Help find the darkest sky, Gazette, 19 June 2020.
  3. Count the stars in the Southern Cross during winter solstice and map light pollution in your suburb, in ABC News, 19 June 2020.
  4. Stargazing to aid light pollution research, The Young Witness, 19 June 2020 (Photo NOT credited).
  5. Light pollution to be mapped during winter solstice on Sunday, Queensland Country Life, 19 June 2020.
  6. Light pollution is bad for us and for wildlife. So what can we do to solve the problem? in ABC News, 20 June 2020.
  7. Winter solstice 2020: Australia has a chance to break a stargazing record, The Guardian, 21 June 2020
  8. Help measure who has the darkest skies in Australia, The Canberra Times, 21 June 2020.
  9. Help measure who has the darkest skies in Australia, The Land, 21 June 2020.
  10. Can you see the stars? Who has the darkest skies?, Clarence Valley Independent, 21 June 2020.
  11. We can all be stargazers – and now is the perfect time to start, Clarence Valley Independent, 21 June 2020.
  12. Help measure who has the darkest skies in Australia, The Rural, 21 June 2020. (The same article has been published in a total of 33 newspapers!!! I’m not going to list all of those here, some of them are: Illawarra, Central Western Daily, Mudgee Guardian, Hunter Valley News, Bendigo, Glen Innes Examiner, Wauchope Gazette, Moree, Barossa Herald, Margaret River Mail, Walcha News, South Coast Register, Sunshine Coast Daily, Busselton Mail…)

The Skyentists 038 – Always was, always will be

Today Kirsten and me have released the Episode 38 of our science communication podcast “The Skyentists”. You can listen it here:

or use your favourite podcast platform (check links here).

The details of this episode are:

In today’s episode of The Skyentists, astronomers Kirsten Banks and Ángel López-Sánchez talk about Australian Aboriginal Astronomy. Kirsten provides a general overview of the importance that Astronomy has always had on Earth’s longest-living culture: Australian Aboriginal people. In particular, she discusses how Aboriginal Australians draw constellations in the sky: connecting stars (as usually done in Western civilisations), using just single, bright stars like Arcturus, but also considering the “dark areas” of the Milky Way for creating “dark constellations”, such as the “Emu in the Sky”. Precisely the long, dark, Australian Aboriginal constellation “Emu in the Sky” (that crosses from the Coal Sack dark nebula in the Southern Cross to the Galactic Center in Sagittarius) is our “What’s Up!” for this episode. For Space News, Ángel talks again about the problem of the light pollution, this time not only from the perspective of Astronomy, but also environmental, our health, the impact in flora and fauna, and its useless waste of energy (=money). For this, The Skyentists invite everybody to participate in the citizen science project lead by The Australasian Dark Sky Alliance aiming to measure the light pollution of our cities and towns this Sunday, 21st June 2020. Kirsten brings a very interesting new result combining two independent works about Titan in Saturn. They also answer some questions and provide some extra feedback about the previous episode. More in two weeks!