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Guest: Bob King: Viewing the night sky with the naked eye and much more about astronomy, the constellations, and related topics. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Bob King to the program to discuss is new book, "Nigh Sky With The Naked Eye: How to Find Planets, Constellations, Satellites, and Other Night Sky Wonders Without a telescope." Remember, if you buy this book through Amazon, if you use one of the two Amazon programs for The Space Show (see www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm) , Amazon will contribute part of your purchase price to The Space Show. While we planned on a 60 minute program, instead our program was 1 hour 25 minutes without a break. Please note that later in the program there were audio issues due to the guest use of a DSL line. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you as you listen to our discussion. In addition, I suggest you visit Bob's astronomy blog, http://astrobob.areavoices.com.
We started our discussion with Mr. King telling us about his early interest in space, astronomy, and observing the night sky. He said he was mostly self-taught but as a professional photographer, he also used these skills to further his night sky interest for himself and others. A few of the early topics discussed in our program included the identification of constellations with our guest giving us easy to use tools to help us see and identify the constellations. Bob talked about starting with two key constellations, the Big Dipper and Orion and then moving out from those two to see the others. We also talked about the signs of the Zodiac and how through precession they have moved with NASA changing the relationships to birthdates plus adding another constellation to the Zodiac mix, Ophiuchus.
During our discussion, our guest mentioned several useful and very good smartphone apps for avoiding light pollution areas, & finding the constellations for your geographic location. I downloaded the one he mentioned, Star Chart for the iPhone and it is really cool. Just point it upward with the screen facing you and it shows your specific night sky and outlines the constellations you can or should be able to see. Our guest did mention that this was no excuse not to learn how to read an actual start chart which he teaches in his book.
Many listener email questions came in for our guest. One listener wanted to know his beginning telescope recommendation. It was a good discussion. The answer, a 6" reflector Dobsonian. He was also asked about taking pictures through the telescope using a smart phone or small digital camera. The answer was YES but listen to all of what he had to say on this topic. Other listeners wanted to know about using a sextant and celestial navigation. This proved to be an interesting discussion as well with Adrian sending in notes telling us how this form of navigation was part of the Apollo mission and earlier space missions. B John wanted to know if anyone used the math of Tycho Brahe for planet movements. Our guest said it was not used as orbits and planetary bodies were well understood, the math was proven, and computers were used today. Several listeners asked Mars viewing related questions.
As our discussion progressed, I asked Bob about the favorite questions and topics of interest expressed by his general audience in his talks and classes. He said Mars was always of interest but not so much space settlement and human missions to Mars. He said Juno was not well known but New Horizons to Pluto was, mainly because of all the publicity about Pluto no longer being a planet. This proved to be a very interesting discussion so don't miss it.
We talked quite a bit about lighting and light pollution plus some problems with the newer LED lighting. Much was said about the clarity of the night sky with and without light pollution.
Chapter 2 in the book talked about "Anticipating the Night." I asked Bob to explain this which he did. This is a most useful chapter for preparing to observe the night sky. Topics such as weather forecasting, star charts/maps, apps, clothing choices, even the use of mosquito repellent were all referenced to help us make the most of our night sky viewing experience. Other topics that came up including the possibility of viewing a spacecraft on the way to Mars, viewing something the size of the ISS were it going to Mars, and seeing facial images when viewing the Moon. Meteor showers, the Northern Lights, and sounds from space made it to our discussion.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog which is part of this archived program on our website. If you want to reach Mr. King, you can do so through me or his blog per above.