The Sidewalk Astronomer
Newsletter of the Sidewalk Astronomers    2009-02-17
In This Issue
Beauty Without Borders
Update from Brazil
Star Peace
Amateur Astronomy In Iraq
GLOBE at Night /DSA
Beauty Without Borders
The crescent Venus meets the new Moon, will be an awesome spectacle, seen and shared locally and globally. On the evening of Feb. 27, the crescent moon will pass near Venus and will create a beautiful sight for sky watchers. This event is a 'mini trial' of our new global organizational network for Earth Hour, Globe at Night, ISAN on April 4th and 100HA April 2nd to 5th, and Sun Day April 5th. We hope to have several live webcasts of this event, so be sure to check the blog and stay updated.

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Dark Skies Awareness
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Amateur Astronomy in Brazil  Marcelo Souzamarcelo
Hi!!! In the period February 5-8 the Louis Cruls Astronomy Club team with the support of IFF and Fundação Cultural Jornalista Osvaldo Lima from the Campos dos Goytacazes Municipal Government organized the event "Farol with Stars" in the district Farol de São Tomé. We had the participation of more than 2,000  people!!!
The Louis Cruls Astronomy Clube was established in May 26 1996. In these twelve years of activities we organized many events of Astronomy and Astronautics popularization. We coordinate with the partnership of the CEFET/Campos ( two observatories in Campos dos Goytacazes, a city of Rio de Janeiro State, Brasil. We develop projects of Astronomy and Astronautics popularization. We already organized many meetings and public outreach activities.  
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Latest update on JD  

John is doing well and improving all the time. He has started to do some observing in the last few weeks and will hopefully make a short trip to San Fransico this spring and attend RTMC in May. 
ISAN 2009 Button 
This is the button for the 3rd ISAN and it will be available for purchase on the website in a few days. Again, we only ask for $1 to help with postage. Thanks again to Zoungy Kligge for the artwork. 
Less than 40 days until the 3rd ISAN and 100 Hours of Astronomy project. Everyone should have their events planned and posted on the website
There is a calendar on the SA website for you to post events that are happening before and after the 100 Hours and ISAN and there is also a photo album where you can upload photos of your events. On the 100HA site, you can register events during the 100 Hours, post to forums, read up-to-date information in the blogs, gather resources, post 100HA photos and broadcast live from your events.
Each year for ISAN, hundreds of you do events that you don't post in advance. This year it is very important to get that information up so that the public can find you. 100 Hours will be getting massive amounts of press and the public will be looking for local events and most of you belong to other local clubs as well, this is the perfect opportunity to attract new members.   
One note - when you go to register your event - YOU MUST FIRST REGISTER THE VENUE! This way, we can plot it on the google maps.
We are counting on you to make both of these programs a success. This will be the largest global star party ever held and any amateur who does public events shouldn't miss the opportunity to be part of it. (Okay - I'll probably say that next year too; but with your support it will be true then as well.)
Star Peace
logo star peace 
StarPeace project is a Global Special project of IYA 2009 which intends to hold common and public star parties near the border lines in cooperation with astronomy groups from different countries with shared land border, in IYA 2009. Both groups in two neighbor countries hold common and public star parties in regions around their borders according to geographical conditions of the region. Although political border has separated people of both countries, applicants of the sky observation look at the sky simultaneously and the sky joins them. Furthermore, scientific speech, astronomical photos exhibition and etc may be established at the same time depending upon activity potential in same border point.

This project may be done in all countries with shared land border, but they are divided into two categories according to the public star party program. In the first category there are countries which have no free border, so public star party is held in a place near the shared border of the countries so that people of both countries are joined by the sky. The second category includes countries with free border; people of both countries are gathered together in zero-border point in a night to improve their connection in the sky as well as earth.

To cover all countries worldwide, StarPeace project recommends countries limited by their water border to choose a night by cooperation of astronomy groups of other country with the same situations to observe the sky, so that infinity of the sky and freedom of water join their countries. It should be noted that countries limited by their water borders should be geographically near each other so that they can observe the sky simultaneously for some hours.
January and February, 2009
Cloudy DAWN and Shiny Noon in Erbil city in Nothern Iraq
Jan. 1, 2009
Greetings from Iraq to all of DAWN's World Wide Participants. Although the weather was cloudy from last night and this morning, this afternoon it changed to a shiny day but we had very cold winds!!
Still, we had a great chance to let many people view the Sun and learn about it's secrets with Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan's Personal Solar Telescope and MEADE LX200 8 inch protected with solar filter.
For the first time in Erbil city, we held "3D Mars Week" for approximately 120 students of the Erbil Private High School between Jan 17-22, 2009. They viewed 80 3D Martian photos. It was a conjunction between astronomy and joy of watching scientific photos.
First there was an introduction explaining 3D photography; about the 3D glasses and how they are used.  
The presented images were taken by Mars Pathfinder, Spirit, Opportunity, MRO,  and Mars Express Orbiter on the surface of Mars.
During the four days of presentations, there were too many questions that needed answering, starting from the sensitivity of the eyes of some of the students to when there will be another presentation like this again?
Surely, there will be many people becoming involved in this type of activity of sharing the beauty of the 3D Mars world with all these wonderful images and learning about the secrets of the 3D world in the next weeks and months of this exciting International Year of Astronomy.    

Sidewalk Astronomers Elections  
It is election time and if you nominated someone and you don't see them listed, it is because they declined to serve.  Please follow the link below and cast your votes, since we don't have too many people running, you can vote yes for all of them if you wish, but you can only fill out the ballot once.  
GLOBE at Night and
IYA2009 Dark Skies Awareness Cornerstone
new dsa logo

At least 2 out of 5 Americans, 1 out of 6 Europeans and 1 out of 10 people worldwide have never seen 90% of the stars in our night sky. With half the world's population now living in cities, this problem is only getting worse. Yet you can easily be part of a local solution to a global problem.

Take back the night! Take a few minutes to monitor your local night
sky brightness, place your measurement on-line noting your location, date and time and within a few weeks see a map of light pollution levels worldwide.

Be part of the "GLOBE at Night" citizen-science campaign and make a world of difference! The GLOBE at Night campaign runs March 16-28, 2009. Help preserve our natural heritage for generations to come. Find out more information at GLOBE at Night is an official International Year of Astronomy Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone project.

To learn more about other IYA2009 Dark Skies Awareness cornerstone projects and the effects of light pollution, visit

Building Telescopes in Africa 

In sub-Saharan Africa, there aren't many astronomy clubs and there are few resources for individuals to acquire telescopes. We would like to initiate a program to help them build inexpensive telescopes. 
 We are currently gathering a team together to devise the program and if you have experience in telescope building or have traveled, lived in, or know people in Africa and have insight into what kinds of materials will be readily available  - we need your ideas and your help.   
"Observing Chatter" 
What do you talk about to those waiting in line to observe through your telescope? We'd like to know the kind of things they ask before they get a chance to look and also the kind of information you feel is important for them to know before they reach the eyepeice.
Your responses will help beginning amateurs that are taking scopes out for the first time chat with the public make them feel more confident. Your experience can be useful. Send us an email and we will post it on the 100 Hours website for this project and then later post it on the SA site as a resource. Thanks!     
I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter, please submit updates on your local activities to be included in future editions. Send an email to with "newsletter submission" in the subject line. As you can see, photos will be small so make sure that any you send represent well in this size.   
 Carpe Noctem... and share it!

"The Sidewalk Astronomer" Team
Sidewalk Astronomers