The 'LIVING Planetarium' & Kozmik Lights Project 2020: Covid 19 edition: See the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, any night with a clear sky (and the Space Station some nights)!


The Living Planetarium website was accidentally deleted months ago. What a disaster.
But today, we searched old archived pages and FOUND a copy from 2019!
So WELCOME BACK! Over the next few days we will be updating the site to June 2020.
 
June 24, 2010 UPDATE: see bottom of this yellow text.

      Sun. March 1, 2020 - late winter update:

Notice to our faithful readers: (As of last Sept. 2019 - See white text below for the GOOD NEWS!) The Living Planetarium has been on hiatus for about 4 months, as Warren developed vision problems. He became unable to see even the brightest planets in the sky. Deb had to take over finding the planets which she is really good at. But it would be too much work for Deb alone to run the program. The diagnosis was cataracts in both of his 68-year-old eyes. This is not good for an astronomer. He has been seeing the eye doctor who has set him up for cataract surgery in October/November 2019. Last Thursday Oct. 24, he underwent surgery to remove the cataract in his right eye, and had it replaced with an artificial lens. Vision in his right eye is now UNBELIEVABLE! He can even see the Martians building condos on the Red Planet. All this week he will be treating the eye with special eye drops. And in two weeks he will return to undergo surgery on the left eye, after which he will have the vision of a teenager LOL!
Unfortunately, this means we will not be observing for the moment. We will update this site when we are once again ready to "boldly go where no woman has gone before" - to Jupiter and Saturn. You can send Warren 'get-well' wishes by email at woodge1@hotmail.com  .
Dec. 29 update: Warren's eyes are almost like new again. Both of the cataracts were removed and new synthetic lenses were installed.  And all this without the aid of astronaut space walks from NASA's Space Shuttle! He can see better than even the Hubble Space Telescope after THAT system was given corrective lenses. He was given 3 sets of eyepieces for low and medium power. And a new Barlow lens is on its way! LOL  He is taking eyedrops 3 times a  day in both eyes for post-surgical healing. The left eye, which he uses to view through the telescope, is about as perfect as you can get. The right eye is almost as sharp as the left, but still has very minor distortion, in the right eye. It has some minor issues; slight astigmatism and possibly a tiny swelling of the retina near the optic nerve. Doc says this may resolve in time with the eyedrops, Through both eyes, before the surgery, his view of a star was like a large, dim, blurry asterisk or 'starburst' pattern. Now the left eye sees stars as this   .   and the right eye sees this  -   and we are about ready to resume observing again! Thank you all for your patience!

But a far greater misfortune befell us all shortly after the start of this year. We were attacked, not by an enemy nation, or even an alien life form from a galaxy far far away! No...we were assaulted by a life form (or it might be a string of RNA) so small that even the most powerful electron microscopes can barely see it. Yet this invisible entity has attacked almost all of the humans on our planet (and killing hundreds of thousands of us, with no cure in sight) - by spreading to the ones who were not enlightened enough to deploy the most powerful weapon - a carefully crafted piece of special fabric - in the form of a face mask!  Wearing this soft piece of biological armor enables the most intelligent soldiers to avoid giving the life form a new home for a few weeks while it multiplies and sends its descendants out to attack another human. Its deadly mission defeated - with none of its children able to penetrate the armor worn by those soldiers who UNDERSTOOD THE SCIENCE; it dies quietly and leaves these brave soldiers VICTORIOUS! The masked marauders will conquer the enemy! And, just maybe, more brave soldiers will learn the power of the mask from the scientists who told us to BELIEVE in the discovery - scientist heroes more authentic than Yoda from a galaxy far far away! May YOU share the power of this knowledge to all whose path you cross six feet apart! (The Earthlings named the scourge the 'Novel Corona Virus 19' (translated: the new ultra-microscopic organism from the year 2019!)

This terrible disaster - and the fate of hundreds of thousands of us - is changing the world and all the activities we are so accustomed to. Students and workers tend to their tasks via the virtual 'world' of the internet from home. People must not touch, hug, or kiss their family and friends until the danger has passed, so that we can finish the most important task - vanquishing the scourge by believing in the magic of science. We must separate ourselves from others with transparent acrylic panels, avoid congregating in large, loud masses, and maintain a distance of exactly seventy-two inches from others without the use of a yardstick or tape measure.

And when it comes to gathering in groups and standing in line to look at the universe with telescopes -

   we will have to re-imagine the entire activity of The Living Planetarium - and use science to remain safe.

Let's take a journey back in time - almost three years ago - and peek into the world we used to know. Please fasten your seat belts.

Sunday, stardate Sept. 24, 2017: Clear ; - We had OVER 150 visitors excited about seeing the planet Saturn last night!  We MAY be observing the planet Saturn (and the crescent Moon) again this evening, in Northport Harbor Park at the 'bottom' end of Main Street, from about 8:00 to 10:30pm, unless the sky clouds over. Check back here after sunset daily. Sometimes we use another location (sometimes if there's a public event going on elsewhere, we'll set up there. Further down this page is a list of locations we might be at, and we'll  highlight  the place we'll be at that evening.) Check the sky - if you see clouds then, it's cancelled. Or call 631-486-4818  before sunset,  or 1-631-664-0515 after sunset.   NOTE - This is an OUTDOOR ACTIVITY. Dress for the cool evening temperatures. We look at REAL things OUTSIDE in the night sky. - We don't know yet when skies will stay clear - (this frequent cloudiness and rain were spawned by hurricane Jose, another sign of climate change.) Please look outside: if the sky at sunset is not clear blue, we will not do it that evening. ( On a recent Saturday night, the sky was clear at sunset, so we posted here that we WILL be doing it then, and emailed all people on our list that we would be there. By the time we got there it had clouded over, so we cancelled it. Even a partly cloudy sky is not good, (like last Friday), because by the time we set up and aim at a planet, the clouds cover it and we have to wait sometimes 20 minutes till we get another 10-minute clear spot. Very frustrating for viewers!  There will be plenty more clear nights!) 
Oh, by the wayMany evenings you can see the International Space Station go by: Reflecting light from the Sun, it looks like a bright star or like  Jupiter, but moves slowly like a plane but does not have blinking aircraft lights: Times will be listed here.

°Even in the world we now live in, we can STILL see this incredible space ship when it passes overhead!

(We use our "clock & fist" measurement system to describe where to find objects in the sky. Our 'horizon scale' is our direction compass: Imagine you are in the center of a traditional clock. 12:00 means looking North; 6 means South. The Sun sets in the NW, at 10 on this scale.)
Measure an object's height above the horizon by making a fist with your outstretched arm. Use your fist as a 'ruler'. 1 fist up = 10 degrees, 2 = 20... 9 = overhead.)
*You will learn how to use these 'clock & fist' measurements next time when we teach how to measure the sky, as part of the Living Planetarium program.

The Living Planetarium staff were out of the office from Aug. 16 through 30, 2017,  but we're back now! We went on an expedition to Casper, Wyoming, to observe the Total Solar Eclipse that swept across our country on the 21st.  It was absolutely INCREDIBLE! (In past years we observed partial eclipses from Long Island, and they were fascinating, but nothing comes close to the Total Eclipse experience.) [Photo credit Gaye and  Jeff Barlowe.]
The Living Planetarium supports AND SALUTES the work of everyone to use science to save our planet from CLIMATE CHANGE, which is making smaller tropical storms into Category 5 hurricanes like Irma and Harvey and Jose. Watch news coverage of storm damage and outdoor climate protests at times in Washington, DC and elsewhere ALL AROUND THE WORLD.

FUTURE SPECIAL EVENTS:
o Currently after midnight, through this October 2020 we are enjoying breathtaking views of the planet Jupiter, appearing ln the south as a bright white 'star' that doesn't twinkle, and to the left of Jupiter we can spot dimmer, yellowish Saturn and its rings.
o Early this autumn we will be treated to magical views of the Red Planet, Mars, in the southeast. This may be the destination of many of Space-X's and NASA's explorations, and a permanent Martian colony is envisioned.
o The next Solar Eclipse visible from the US will be in 4 years, with totality passing right over Niagara Falls, on April 10, 2024. (Sounds like a long way off, but, back in 2013, waiting patiently for that nationwide - viewed August 2017 eclipse  seemed like it took forever also, but it's amazing how fast 4 years passes!)
You are welcome to print out the diagram below, and save it for 2024.
How to make a projection box to view the eclipse safely:
Get the biggest box you can find. (A box from a large appliance works fantastic, but so will a shoebox, but it will have a smaller image.) Punch a small hole the size of a dime in the top center of one end of the box. Cover hole with aluminum foil; pierce the center of the foil with a pin. Cover the INSIDE of the OPPOSITE END of the box with white paper. Aim the foil end of the box towards the sun (DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN.) Now look into the dark inside of the box and watch the projected image of the eclipse on the white paper! The Moon partially covering the Sun will look like this:    c       (We have done this with countless partial solar eclipses and it worked every time!) Also look at the shadows on the ground cast by close-together tree leaves. The light areas between the shadows will also be projected images of the eclipse!

This is as far as we have updated this newly-discovered vintage edition of our site so far. We'll be working in it over the coming weeks.

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o Late-summer/Autumn 2017 we will use the largest telescope to examine Saturn's rings and one of its moons, Titan ( which is now believed to have an ocean below its icy surface crust! - and possible primitive life, clinging to ocean-floor steam jets. Click here to read about Saturn's ocean moons.) We will also look for where the newly-discovered Trappist-1 seven-planet solar system is located in the constellation Aquarius! See star map https://cdn.eso.org/images/large/eso1615d.jpg

 The weather has been strangely unpredictable,  because of the ongoing climate crisis. Hurricane Harvey's flooding and devastation in Texas is more proof of this. Our hearts go out to the people in Texas and their families and friends. And Irma was the next storm to be intensified by burning fossil fuels. The next hurricane Jose is now a tropical storm, wandering in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, It was responsible for several days of wind, clouds, showers and no clear skies. and we have no clear idea of where it may go.  Now we're watching Maria, which may impact our area in a few days. Many people who do not realize that this is the climate crisis are very frustrated with the frequently cloudy and rainy weather. This is not normal for September. It is because huge storms and hurricanes crossing the country are being overloaded with extra atmospheric energy from burning fossil materials (the 'greenhouse effect'). These are powerfully pulling up abnormal amounts of very hot moist air, from the far South, causing all the flooding in Florida and Georgia, and pulling cold air down from the far North to our Northeast locale almost every day where it DOESN'T BELONG in September! (That's why it was so chilly here the past few days.) This is what intensified last week's tropical storm IRMA into a Category 5 hurricane, last month's flooding in Arizona and Hurricane Harvey's flooding in Texas,  and the wildfires in the West. Because of this, forecasters are saying some days will have heavy rain. Other days will be chilly.  February's unusual warmth started the flowers blooming way too early, only to suffer freeze damage immediately afterwards. This whole mess is a major warning signal of the climate crisis. But now YOU can do something about it! See our 2 Climate Change projects in the orange text below*.

Scroll down to the white text for details about our next observing session.  Enjoy a fascinating live astronomy 'star-talk' class during the program - see the schedule board near the telescope! And send your Email to woodge1@hotmail.com and we will email you announcements of observing sessions.

Website available on your PhoneAvailable on your smartphone


This is an OUTDOOR ACTIVITY. Dress for the cool evening temperatures. We look at REAL things OUTSIDE in the night sky, so the sunset sky must be CLEAR BLUE.  It's FREE & open to all, including children! We have a stepladder for them to see through the big telescope.   We ALWAYS do a 'What can you ACTUALLY SEE in the Long Island skies tonight?' show. (Unfortunately, many of the objects you see in an INDOOR planetarium show (most of the stars), CANNOT be seen from suburban Long Island because of light pollution. But this is being worked on in many towns - ask how!)  NEW!! We teach quick basic astronomy classes during the program, featuring the mechanics of our Solar System, how to measure the sky, why the Moon looks that way tonight, how to find the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and how to see them yourself with your own telescope (all the usual stuff that should be demonstrated in an INDOOR planetarium).. check the time schedule board near the telescope!
  As the name 'Living Planetarium' suggests, we use the REAL SKY outdoors to do it! And why not? It's there for all to enjoy! (And a real live experience allows precious freedom to ASK the presenters QUESTIONS!) Some nights we also get to see the International Space Station pass overhead!  
 Click here to look out the Space Station's windows at the Earth below them, right now, live! And sign up here to get daily alerts as to when & where to see it!

 The Living Planetarium is a service offered by the Long Island Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) HelpLine, (631) 486-4818, offering support and information to people living with OCD, to lead a full life. It is answered 7 days a week by a volunteer with OCD. More at www.ocd.hereweb.com ]

If it's clear, we set up The Living Planetarium at different locations, depending on which part of the sky we will observe. Below is a list of the locations we may be at.
The         yellow highlighted location below  is the place where we would set up the telescope. on clear nights.
[NO yellow highlighted location below means nothing yet is planned for this evening.]
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        Northport Park;  near the flagpole street corner at Woodbine Ave. at the bottom end of Main St. in Northport Village
. Diagonally opposite from SKIPPER'S Restaurant.  ( From Huntington, Take Main St (25A) 5 miles E of Huntington and turn left on Woodbine Ave; go 3 miles to the Park at intersection with Main St.)   Click here for Map: 
[EXACT GPS location: 21 Main St., Northport, NY 11768. Put this into your GPS. It will take you there, but it is a park next to the dock so you won't see any street numbers. The number '21' is just to pinpoint the GPS. When you get there, find us diagonally opposite Skippers' Restaurant, at the NorthWest  street corner of Main & Woodbine, with its FLAGPOLE and the MEMORIAL ROCK and the LARGE STONE PATIO on the park corner. Look for the telescope. We would be within about 100 ft of that GPS location. ]
or
     
  
  Huntington Village: Near the Art museum in Huntington's Hecksher Park.
or
(  )    Locations in Huntington Station
or
(  )     the intersection of Main St & New York Ave (Rte 110) in Huntington Village tonight. On the North sidewalk of Main St. near the Loft store.
or
(  ?    Nassau County's East Meadow Eisenhower Park

We MAY be observing this evening. However, if the sky clouds over, we will close early. Check here again around sunset for any last-minute update.
  
  TONIGHT:   
We would be looking at  the Planet Saturn (4 fists above 7 on our horizon clock) and its beautiful rings.
We will also catch a first glance of the Moon, low in the west. (3 fists above 9)
We will share our experiences with the Aug. 21 solar eclipse and explain how to safely enjoy the next one from Long Island!
And someday soon we'll also see the Space Station.
(using our "clock & fist" measurement system. 12:00 means looking North; 6 means South.)
Measure an object's height above the horizon by making a fist with your outstretched arm. Use your fist as a 'ruler'. 1 fist up = 10 degrees, 2 = 20... 9 = overhead.)
*You will learn how to use these 'clock & fist' measurements next time when we teach how to measure the sky, as part of the Living Planetarium program.

 We often look at the Moon; (when it's up)  Click here for current Moon Phase.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT. If you have a telescope, you're welcome to bring it to the program, if you want.  We can show you how to use it.

If the sky is clear blue, and if you need more information than this site gives.,call 631-486-4818.
 If you call just before the event, between around 7 & 9pm, call 631-664-0515.
*[BUT PLEASE ALWAYS CHECK THIS WEBSITE FIRST RIGHT BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO GO - I don't want you making the trip for nothing!]
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* * EVEN IF WE CAN'T DO IT TONIGHT, * *
What you would be able to see, tonight, yourself:
* The thin Moon appears in the west.
* The planet Saturn and its beautiful rings, faint and low in the south, does not twinkle.

Check THIS site often, to see when & where we'll be observing again.  In the late summer we start around 8:00 pm., (except earlier if there is something happening in the sky earlier.) But you can come anytime before 10:30 pm.
*The month of May that just ended was the coldest May since 2008. We saw wilder temperature swings than usual.  (June 29, 2016 was the FIRST TIME the high-altitude northern hemisphere Jet Stream actually crossed over the equator and mixed with the southern Jet Stream. Click to read about it:  ( Scientists are calling this a "Weather Emergency".)  Wildfires. Floods. Long hot spells. Category 5 hurricanes. A cold start to this summer of 2017.This is Climate Change, the popular phrase for ACD (Anthropomorphic Climate Disaster); 'Anthropo' means 'human' and 'morphic' means 'shaped-by'. That's climate disaster; too much heat energy trapped by excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, caused by humans burning fossil materials as 'fuel'. Possible human EXTINCTION (yes, you read that right). Last July was the HOTTEST MONTH EVER on record.  Scientists say last winter's storms were intensified by ACD. Visit our related scientific/political ACTION project helping everyone see that climate change IS happening RIGHT NOW in your own neighborhood. (And we need volunteers to help with this easy project - you COULD get extra credit in SCIENCE for helping us!)s helping everyone see that climate change IS happening RIGHT NOW in your own neighborhood. (And we need volunteers to help with this easy project - you COULD get extra credit in SCIENCE for helping us!)

Notes from last summer: Sunday night, Sept. 26 from Northport - Absolutely Incredible! The sky COMPLETELY CLEARED just in time for the lunar eclipse- and it was fantastic! Many excited people watched in total awe as the Moon slipped into the Earth's shadow and became reddish-brown in color. The sky remained perfectly clear right through to totality. Earlier in the evening we looked at Saturn's rings. Many people enjoyed viewing Saturn! Viewing of Saturn and its rings was fantastic! Everyone was amazed that you could see it so clearly; it almost looked like it was an artificial picture, but it was the real thing! 

PS: Thank you for the pictures! (If you were here on any night and you took pictures or video of the crowd watching, please send me a link to them so I can post them here!  Woodge1@hotmail.com )

  And, kids: when we DO observe, when you go back to school, tell your teacher what you saw and maybe you can get EXTRA CREDIT for it! [make a picture for art or science class; write poetry/rap about it for writing or music class... etc!]
 "HELP WANTED":  Many of our international visitors speak other languages - WE NEED volunteer foreign language translators & ASL sign language interpreters.  We intend to be inclusive to all. And you COULD get extra credit in school for providing this PUBLIC SERVICE! If you live very close to the park, we could text message you when we need your help!
 
If you missed the Lunar Eclipse last summer, you might just want to watch a video of it:  We offered a  webcast (not available now) of the lunar eclipse, to watch right here on your device, courtesy of Sky And Telescope magazine; with commentary by S&T editors and lunar scientists. Tune in! - See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/sky-at-a-glance/this-weeks-sky-at-a-glance-sept-25-oct-3/#sthash.fDxT0tcj.dpuf
And maybe read about the total eclipse of the Moon (click to read the Sierra Club's announcement)
You will learn all of this; the 'mechanics' of the Solar System, in our next viewing.
 
FUTURE SPECIAL EVENTS:
On some evenings, the International Space Station comes by to visit us! And we're ALMOST FINISHED working on an even larger telescope that will show even better views! This should afford us live views of Saturn's moon Titan!
Future Plans may include foreign language translators & ASL sign language interpreters. (Volunteers wanted.)
The Living Planetarium is a free service brought to you by the Long Island Obsessive Compulsive Disorder free HelpLine, (631) 486-4818 , answered 7 days a week by a volunteer with OCD. More at www.ocd.hereweb.com

We share the TOMORROWLAND movie Idea and Pope Francis' warningEvery one person can make a difference in the future of our world. We MUST find a solution to CLIMATE CHANGE, so our GRANDCHILDREN can LIVE HERE. But there STILL are 'some elected official(s)' who don't believe climate change is important. We at The Living Planetarium stand with those many politicians who agree it's a real threat.
We Endorse the Tomorrowland Idea!