Why Clear Sky Tonight?

Clear Sky Tonight was an idea to create a website about astronomy.  The initial ideas were numerous.

I have always been interested in astronomy.  As a kid, I was interested in science in school, especially the planets and dinosaurs.  I lived on a hobby farm outside a medium size city so the night sky was pitch dark.  I do remember seeing the Milky Way whenever I was outside at night.  I made the typically planet mobile in grade school.  However, I never moved beyond studying about it.  I never got a telescope as a kid.

As an adult, I finally brought a telescope back in 1999.  It was a Meade ETX-90EC.  I got the case for it and a number of eyepieces.  But, I had moved to a big city for work after college and I couldn’t just go outside my apartment and look at the stars.  I kind of brought the telescope on a whim and it has sat ever since.

Recently, maybe with turning 40, I have realized that I really need to focus on a hobby outside of family and work.  Plus, I couldn’t have a bunch of hobbies because there just isn’t enough time in the week.  So, I did some thinking and I realized that astronomy had that draw as a kid and as a hobby, it also had other related components.

I had a SLR camera as a teenager.  Also, my undergrad degree was in architecture and photography was a good complement to architecture.  Astrophotography looks very interesting to me.  First, I don’t think I will be able to stay outside all night long looking through an eyepiece.  Though I want that thrill of seeing something with my own eye, I want to share it.  As I started to research the current state of astrophotography, I was amazed how technology driven it is.

My career is an IT Manager so I setup and maintain servers, networks and computers.  Astrophotography and telescopes do seem to have a major technology integration which is very interesting to me.  The idea of computer-controlled viewing is definitely something I want to explore.

So, after some thought, I realized my hobby of choice should be astronomy.  It fit many of my interests and skills.  But, how does this relate to Clear Sky Tonight?  As someone who saw the Internet and specially the World Wide Web come into being, creating a website to share my astronomy experience seemed a prefect endeavor.  Plus, maybe someone who also is interested in astronomy can learn from my experiences and jump ahead in their hobby.

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Theme credits

I wanted to pass along some credit for the themes I purchased for both the website and the WordPress blog.

The website theme was done by imaginem.

The WordPress theme was done by valen.

Neil Armstrong talks to Congress

On September 22, 2011, Neil Armstrong testified to Congress and said it was an embarrassment that the United States didn’t have a way to send humans into space.

For my entire life, the United States has had a space craft and was actively launching it.  I don’t have any memories of the end of the Apollo program but I vividly remembering reading about the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs as a kid.  I watched the first Space Shuttle launch on TV and watched the last one.  I have heard Kennedy’s famous moon landing speech countless time and it still gives me goose bumps.  I realize there are bigger problems in this country than NASA’s budget but space is the final frontier and inspires so many things.  I also remember the Challenge and Columbia tragedies.  Space travel is risky but some risks are worth taking.  Some prices are worth paying.

Ok, off my soap box.  Smile

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What is astronomy to me?

Merriam-Webster defines astronomy as “the study of objects and matter outside the earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties”.

At this point in my interest in astronomy and what I think most people who look up at the sky are interested in, the first part of the definition is the most relevant.  I want to look at the night sky and wonder what is up there.  I want to use a telescope to see what is up there in more detail.  I want to take pictures of the night sky to remember what I saw.

What I hope to do with this website is make it easier for others who share this desire to be amazed by the night sky as I was when I was a kid growing up on a farm 20 years ago when the sky was pitch black and stars were everywhere.


Blogging at ML2 Solutions

I am working through my website setup task list so I am mainly posting on my other blog at ML2 Solutions.  ML2 Solutions is the entity behind Clear Sky Tonight and I want to post my experiences setting up both websites and other related topics.  Once that is done, I will be back working on and posting here.  So, check it out if you are interested.

Web Site Launch

After much work, the web site is finally finished.  It is a good first attempt and getting something online that fits the design vision I was hoping for but also something we can grow this.  The next step is to start blogging regularly.  I will probably start posting information about the process to get this site and our other website online at ML2 Solutions.  Once I am done with that, I will turn my attention back to astronomy.

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