The 'LIVING Planetarium' Project 2018: See the Pleides and the Space Station on nights with CLEAR skies.

Sunday, stardate Mar. 18, 2018: - Last fall, some nights were clear and visitors were excited after seeing the planet Saturn!

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We WILL NOT be stargazing tonight in Northport Park.
Last month, on an unusually warm Tuesday evening, it was mild enough to observe! About 30 people enjoyed viewing the crescent Moon through the telescope.   Check back here again!
Partly cloudy skies and cold this week: so
we will probably NOT be gathering in Northport to explore the sky the next few days. Check back next week . [But if there's snow, you might like to try Cross-Country Skiing, go to our other site:]
During the winter, we will set up only on CLEAR, MILD evenings. If it's clear and warmer tomorrow, (or any other day), check here again. We're usually in Northport Harbor Park at the 'bottom' end of Main Street, from about 7:15 to 9:00pm.  Sometimes we use another location (sometimes if there's a public event going on elsewhere, we'll set up there, or if it's a weeknight when people aren't out and about, and we are working on a new presentation, you are welcome to watch.) 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 cold evening temperatures. We look at REAL things OUTSIDE in the night sky. - We don't know yet when skies will stay clear. (oh, did I forget to mention clear skies AGAIN?) 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, 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 and where it is in the sky will be listed here. Complete explanation here:

(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 W, at 9 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 Sept. 1. 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, It caused deadly mudslides last week in California, it turned what would have been a light 2 inch snowfall event here into a blizzard early this month, and made it snow in Florida, and it changed smaller tropical storms this fall into Category 5 hurricanes like Irma and Harvey and Maria. Watch news coverage of storm damage everywhere, and outdoor climate protests at times in Washington, DC and elsewhere worldwide. Click "ALL AROUND THE WORLD" to read about Jan. 2018's: native peoples' massive protest in Wash. state.

And YOU can help!  Click and  Join our 2 Climate Change projects:

o Currently, in March 2018 we are exploring the Orion Nebula, a huge 'nursery' for billions of new stars and new planets!
o We will be featured in Newsday's Summer Fun Book, and sometime this spring interviewed by FiOS1 for a "Push/Pause" TV story, or a CableVision story, and also a print media story!
o The next Solar Eclipse visible from the US will be in 6 years, with totality passing right over Niagara Falls, on April 10, 2024. (Sounds like a long way off, but waiting for this summer's eclipse back in 2010 seemed like it took forever also, but it's amazing how fast 7 years passes!)
You are welcome to print out the diagram below, and save it for 2020.
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!
o This spring, hopefully we will be able to use the new, largest telescope to examine Jupiter and 4 of its moons, ( some of which are now believed to have an ocean below their 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

 It's hard to plan stargazing when the weather has been so strangely unpredictable, because of the ongoing climate crisis. The early March rain/snow/windstorm was described by forcasters with a new word in their vocabulary - 'BOMBCYCLONE' . The week-long power outages in Westchester, Hurricane Maria's devastation of Puerto Rico, and the displacement of thousands of American citizens there, with very little government aid, was 'unforgivable'. Can't we SEE this is climate change? Hurricane Harvey's flooding and devastation in Texas is more proof of this. Our hearts go out to the people in Puerto Rico, many of whom STILL have no power, and their families and friends here. And Irma was the next storm to be intensified by burning fossil fuels.  Many people who do not realize that this is the climate crisis are delighted with the frequently mild weather. This is not normal for winter. It is because huge storms crossing the waters 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 California, Florida and Georgia, and occasionally pulling 50° warm air up to our Northeast locale almost every day where it DIDN'T BELONG in the winter! This is what intensified tropical storm IRMA into a Category 5 hurricane, wrecking the Carribbean islands and slamming Florida. Global warming caused all that flooding in desert-dry Arizona, and the huge wildfires in California that have destroyed whole residential communities. Because of this, forecasters are saying some days will have heavy snow or rain. Other days will be unseasonably frigid or warm for this time of year. (Last October 'succeeded' in making its way into the record books as the warmest October EVER. And last month now goes into the record books as the warmest February in history.) Last 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 and we will email you announcements of observing sessions.

This is an OUTDOOR ACTIVITY. Dress for the cold 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!) But WE 'focus' on the planets (pardon the pun) - they are brighter than the stars. 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! And it's ALL FREE!
  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 ]

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 [IF we decide to do it tonight. But please call first; we don't want you making the trip for nothing.]
[NO yellow highlighted location below means nothing yet is planned for this evening
       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. ]
  Huntington Village: Near the Art museum in Huntington's Hecksher Park.
(  )    Various locations in the area as we work on new presentation material.
(  )     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.
(  ?    Nassau County's East Meadow Eisenhower Park

    if we observed  TONIGHT 
We would be looking at the Pleides star cluster and the Orion Nebula.
We would share our experiences with the Aug. 21 solar eclipse and explain how to safely enjoy the next one from Long Island!
And soon we'll also see the Space Station again.
(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 6:30 & 8pm, call our cell at 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!]
What you would be able to see, from home tonight, yourself:
The constellation Orion, high in the southwest sky. The planet Jupiter rises around 2am.

Check THIS site often, to see when & where we'll be observing again.  In the winter we start earlier, around 7:30 pm., (except earlier if there is something happening in the sky earlier.) But you can come anytime before 8:30 pm.
*The month of May last year 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). July 2016 was the HOTTEST MONTH EVER on record.  Scientists say last winter's storms were intensified by ACD. Visit our related scientific/political ACTION projects 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!..and helping the Earth.)

Notes from the summer of 2016: 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! )

  And, school students: when we DO observe,  tell your teachers 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!

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

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!