Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 6

FROM OUR READERS
A " Surprising Second Chance " Sequel
When I get a new copy of S&T, I frequently start with Focal Point. In " A Surprising
Second Chance " (S&T: Jan. 2024, p. 84), Scott Harrington reports his second
chance at observing SN 2011fe in the spiral galaxy M101 and the first time he
observed a supernova (SN 2023ixf) in binoculars. This inspired me to recheck some
images of this galaxy I took while experimenting with my new Unistellar Equinox
4.5-inch smart scope in the spring of 2023 at my observing site in central Lower
Austria. And, indeed, I spotted SN 2023ixf while comparing a picture I took on
April 30th with a follow-up taken a month later. Thanks, Scott Harrington, for an
article that allowed me, too, a second chance to identify a supernova, which otherwise
I would have simply overlooked.
Johann Waringer * Herzogenburg, Austria
Johann
Waringer
captured
these images
of M101 last
spring. The
image on the
right features
Supernova
SN 2023ixf
(arrowed).
April 30, 2023
May 28, 2023
John Barentine and Jessica Heim's article
revealing that there is 100 times more
outdoor lighting in the world than
needed makes me suspect two very
influential industries. In the mid-1950s,
streetlights in Chicago were gently lit,
frosted-glass globes on 10-foot piers that
allowed me to see the northern lights
from the sidewalk in front of my building
as well as the Milky Way. The Man
With Three Hats, as my friend labeled
him, had enough power to kill Chicago's
dark sky forever: He was president of the
electrician's union, on the Underwriters
Laboratories board that had to approve
any electrical fixture, and headed the
Bureau of Electrical Inspection.
When my mother was an active
member of the League of Women Voters,
they would have found a way to block
such expensive nonsense. Some of the
towns near observatories managed to
keep their outdoor lighting realistic. I
wonder how they did it.
Terry Herlihy
Chicago, Illinois
Sketching M78
I just read Howard Banich's " M78: A
Hotbed of Stellar Activity " (S&T: Jan.
2024, p. 12) in S&T.
He has a gift for relating his journeys
through the sky and drawing what
he sees. Banich makes everything seem
more like a discovery than just science.
I could never find M78. Now I realize
it's an important component of
something much larger, the Orion B
Molecular Cloud, which in turn is part
of the Orion-Eridanus Bubble. All of
which was kicked off by some cataclysmic
event that compressed gas and dust
together to form the chain of nebulae
we know today.
Another quality that makes his
articles so appealing is the way he
refers to Herschel's writings as if he
and Herschel were school buddies.
Please continue to observe the skies
and delight us with your stellar road
trips, Howard.
Patrick Kavanagh
CoperClub
Huixquilucan, México
6 MAY 2024 * SKY & TELESCOPE
Amid the emphasis toward photography,
it is, I think, both refreshing and educational
to see Howard Banich's article
about sketching in S&T. I still have my
old 1960s manual and worm-gear tracking
60-mm f/15, and I still enjoy sketching
when possible under suburban skies.
Richard Renner
Alameda, California
Cut the Lights
" The Return of Dark Skies? " (S&T: Jan.
2024, p. 26) by John Barentine and
Jessica Heim was excellent, but a few
additional things bear mentioning.
The clutter produced by excessive
outdoor lighting can distract drivers
from warning signals like the ones at
grade crossings. And the excessively
bright, blue-tinted headlights used
by some vehicles blind drivers and
contribute to light pollution. Excessive
displays of flashing lights can also
cause problems, including seizures in
certain people.
James W. Scott
Vernon, New Jersey
"
John Barentine and Jessica Heim
reply: We share James Scott's concerns
and agree that they're all useful talking
points in broadening the appeal of dark
skies to as wide an audience as possible.
Terry Herlihy's letter makes us also long
for the days when the night sky was more
accessible in big cities. Nighttime darkness
in places like Chicago was lost gradually,
but it's certainly reversible. Even mid-size
cities like Flagstaff, Arizona, show us what's
possible when communities rally around
protecting the night: Despite Flagstaff's
population of 77,000 inhabitants, the Milky
Way is readily visible at night from around
town. Fortunately, there's no lack of technical
solutions, and strong social support for
dark skies can make a marked difference in
a community's lighting practices. Activism,
lighting research, and policy development all
help address these readers' concerns, and
we hope you'll all join us in the effort.
Outta Sight
I really enjoyed Elizabeth Fernandez's
" Dark Energy: A Brief History " (S&T:
Feb. 2024, p. 26), but isn't it conceivable
that galaxies are accelerating toward

Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - May 2024

Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 1
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 3
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 4
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 5
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 6
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 7
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 8
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 9
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 10
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 11
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 12
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 13
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 14
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 15
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 17
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 18
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 19
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 20
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 21
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 22
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 23
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 24
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 26
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 28
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 29
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 30
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - 40
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Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - May 2024 - Cover4
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