Friday, May 11, 2012

Washing One of Gemini's 8-meter Mirrors

It takes careful work to wash a telescope mirror, especially one that is 8.1 meters across and still installed in its telescope. Here is a cool video that shows off the process as it is done for the Gemini South telescope.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two Steps Backwards for Dark Skies (and a pretty video)

The electronic billboard bill is now law in Arizona meaning that while the state's astronomical observatories are protected from their bright glow, the central and southwestern part of the state will now be no man's land.

The City of San Diego will now apparently be allowing "brighter outdoor lighting". According to this news report:
The report says the last changes, made in 2008, were overly influenced by astronomers and "dark sky advocates."
Sigh.  "Dark sky advocates".

In other news the winners of the 2012 Earth and Sky Photo Contest have been announced.   Follow the link to check out the beautiful photos of the night sky. A video of them is embedded below.  Maybe it will help to push the other news out of your mind.