Sidewalk astronomy returns to the library Wednesday night, October 22, during Customer Appreciation Week. Telescopes will be set up outside of the library --most likely next to the parking lot north of the main building entrance-- for viewing of the giant planet Jupiter. We also hope to be able to look at a few other celestial objects perhaps including the great Andromeda Galaxy. The outdoor program is scheduled to begin by 8:00 and end at around 9:15 and is entirely dependent upon the weather; if it's raining or too cloudy the program will be canceled. If you are concerned about whether the program will take place, you can check the library Web site for updates or call the library's main number and ask that evening. The main number is: (440) 871-2600.
Our sidewalk astronomy sessions are fun and we enjoy very good views of the bright planets and the Moon when they're in the sky. To see the full glory of the night sky these days, however, means traveling to increasingly remote locations where stray illumination from street lights, parking lots, advertising signs, and many other sources doesn't spill into the sky -- something we call "light pollution." That wasted light robs us of one of our great natural wonders --a clear view of the stars-- and evidence is mounting that "bright nights" also affect human and animal health. There's one more reason to keep artificial light out of the sky and where it belongs: energy savings. Every watt of electricity that is wasted on light pouring into the sky is energy and money that could be better used elsewhere.
So to save energy, money, health, and to preserve (or restore) our access to the wondrous celestial realm, help fight light pollution: it can be as easy as flipping a switch!
Here are some interesting and useful resources:
Cuyahoga Astronomical Association -- members will provide and operate the telescopes.
Jupiter -- some materials about planet Jupiter in Westlake Porter Public Library's collection.
International Dark-Sky Association -- with recommendations on how individuals and communities can help.
There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars -- a wonderful children's book with a message for all to take to heart.