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Member Reports from Mike Simmons

Jul 30

A Huge Surprise!

I thought I knew all about solar eclipses. After all, I was the expert astronomer people were asking about what to expect at the first total solar eclipse in the US in 61 years. It was 1979 and I was working at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, a very popular public observatory and planetarium, operating the Zeiss 12-inch refractor for the public. The eclipse was in the news and there was a lot of interest. So I told them all about what to expect how the Sun's corona, usually hidden from view by the glare of the solar... Read More...

Dec 23

Seasons Across Borders

I had a chance to experience the differences in the seasons directly, having just returned from a meeting at the International Astronomical Union's new Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town, South Africa.  Leaving my home in southern California at 34 degrees north latitude, I found myself at close to 34 degrees south.  So as well as the 10-hour time change, I also went from the summer solstice to the winter solstice longest day of the year to the shortest.  And by coincidence, Cape Town has the same type of climate - Mediterranean - which exists in... Read More...

May 16

Test entry 1

This is a test entry for a new AWB Blog. Just ignore this one. Read More...

Nov 19

Without Borders

There are probably hundreds of organizations "without borders". The most famous, and one of the first, is Doctors without Borders (or properly Medecins sans Frontieres for this organization based in France), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999. Reporters without Borders has been in the news quite a lot as well (naturally). Translators without Borders is a natural as well. But have you heard of Surfers without Borders? How about Water without Borders? Monks without Borders? All real, and all doing good work. The plethora of "without borders" organizations is the subject of an article on the MatadorChange web... Read More...

May 19

GAM 2010 – A Triumph for Astropoetry

Along with Bob Eklund's Astropoetry Blog, two other major astropoetic initiatives accompanied GAM 2010: 1. The regular American magazine Astropoetica (edited since 2003 by Emily Gaskin) celebrated GAM in its "academic" style, through the Spring 2010 issue, composed of 20 astropoems, each of them adorned by a superb image. So please visit 2 .Organizing the GAM global program of literary-artistic creativity, entitled Astropoetry to the Global Astronomy Month 2010, the Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy (SARM) and Friends created a mega-project as a long and complex story in words and images, which tried to reflect all the GAM... Read More...

May 17

A New Form of Energy

Thousands of lights twinkled, not above me but below, as I descended into Los Angeles on April 4 of last year. The 24-hour Global Star Party of IYA2009's 100 Hours of Astronomy Cornerstone Project was underway.  As many as a million people viewed Saturn's rings and the Moon's craters through telescopes worldwide.  But another form of energy was also being focused that night -  the energy of tens of thousands of amateur astronomers around the world working together as darkness circled the Earth. I was missing the action, returning from 100HA's opening ceremony at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia after... Read More...

May 08

Three Famous Astropoems From the 19th Century

One of the most famous astropoems in the U.K. is: TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR by Jane Taylor (1806) Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! When the blazing sun is gone, When there's nothing he shines upon, Then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, through the night. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! In the dark blue sky so deep Through my curtains often peep For you never close your... Read More...

Apr 12

30 Nights of StarPeace from India

April 4-6 was the turn of countries in 72-108 E longitude. SPACE contacted various other starpeace counterparts in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afganistan, and Nepal to host a 30NSP event during April 4-6. During this period few solar observations and night observations were done. SPACE proposed sun observation to Pakistani counterparts as they had security problems in gathering people at night. SPACE did a walk through for publicat the Jantar Mantar observatory on 4 th April and held observations there. A solar observation was also done for public and educators at SPACE’S office on 5 th April. Images can be found... Read More...

Apr 10

Clouds and Dust!

Report on 30 Nights of StarPeace in Iraq After considerable preparation for 30 Nights for StarPeace events in Iraq, bad weather seemed to cover the entire country. Clouds and dust hung over the city of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. It cleared later in the evening but by then everyone had gone. Other regions faired no better. Erbil Members and guests of the Amateur Astronomy Association of Kurdistan (AAAK) gathered in the office in the capital city of Kurdistan, Erbil, where they live video and phone contact with some of the participants in other countries... Read More...

Apr 04

Openings in Nepal, Iraq, Austria, 24-hour observing in Spain, USA

Global Astronomy Month kicks off officially in Nepal The celebration of Global Astronomy Month has started officially in Nepal. On the first day of GAM, the Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO) organized a talk program at Celebration Co-Ed School, Narayan Taar, Jorpati, between 13:00-14:00. More at Welcoming ceremony of GAM in Kurdistan (northern Iraq) In order to bring astronomy to the people and to encourage the next generation to study this fascinating science, Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan held a welcoming ceremony at Shubat Center Hall in Erbil city on March 31. Approximately 170 people of different ages and from... Read More...

Jan 31

Welcome to GAM 2010!

Mike's profile Welcome to the GAM Blog! As you should know by now, Global Astronomy Month (GAM) is a follow-up to the hugely successful 100 Hours of Astronomy cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. The network of amateur astronomers and others around the world who took part in planning that unprecedented event and many of the tens of thousands of enthusiasts worldwide who took part just didn't want the fun to end. We agree. But this time we have a whole month. Why so long? Are we crazy? Perhaps, but that's not the... Read More...