November 20, 2005

Look, Up in the Sky!

My father-in-law is introducing people to astronomy.

On clear nights, Greg Stone can be found in his back yard with several children and a variety of telescopes.The children and their parents share the joy of discovering what’s out there in the universe at any given time. “Now that I’m retired, I’ve really gotten into it full throttle,” Mr. Stone said. “It’s exciting but it’s more exciting sharing it with people.”
Posted by James at November 20, 2005 3:32 PM
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That is so cool. What a great guy.

Posted by: Chuck S. at November 21, 2005 7:31 PM

Thanks for posting this and the kind words.

My one regret with the Shorelines article, however, is that it put a lot of emphasis on working with kids - which I do and want to continue to do. But I am just as pleased to have indivduals, couples, or small groups (3-7) of adult visitors either for a single session or for one of the three or five-session programs. So if anyone's intrested, please drop me an email or fill out the form on the "public programs" part of my Web site.

Posted by: Greg at November 25, 2005 6:24 AM

Greg, my sister in law has had a pretty terrible year and recently she received a gift of a star near Bootes in the name of her little boy who passed away. She expressed an interest in seeing it and told her about the sessions you do with kids and adults. She sounded really interested in coming to one of your sessions (3 day, 5 day she didn't say) with her daughter and maybe, just maybe getting a peek at Sean's star in the process.

Would that be a possibility? If so drop me an email at unbecoming at plastereddragon dot com with whatever information you'd like to supply (schedule, cost, contact info) and I will pass it along to her.

Thanks either way! :-)

Posted by: Chuck S. at November 25, 2005 6:50 PM

Hi Chuck:

I'll answer this here because some others may have similar questions. The quick answer are:

1. Yes, I'd be delighted to show her the star.
2. I don't charge anything for my sessions - they're free to anyone interested.
3. Anyone can sign up for a single session which might be appropriate in this case,though she's welcome to whatever interests her.
4. The session descriptions and an online sign-up form can be found here: or she can write me at

This is not the first request of this type I've received and there are several variables involved, not the least of which is the weather on any given night.

But I'm more concerned about exactly where the star is and how bright it is.

I don't know if there is an online database of such stars. If there is, I'll be glad to check it. If not, I need the exact celestial coordinates - sort of like latitude and longtitude - which I believe they supply with it. It would also be good to know the magnitude - brightness - if available.

Assuming the star is in or near the constellation Bootes it will be well-placed for viewing in the spring. At this time it just comes up about 4 am, and even then is too low in the east for my telescopes. (Trees block the view near the horizon for me - but you're looking through too much atmosphere then to see much anyways.You want things to be up at least 40 degrees.)

I haven't a clue what brightness it might be. My telescopes go "deep" so I can see very dim stars - but there are a ton of stars out there and many far too faint for my telescope to see. Again, I don't know how this business of naming stars works and whether there's more than one outfit doing it. I probably should look into it.

Knowing the coordinates I may be able to find this star in five minutes - and, of course, I would do so in advance so I could point it out to her with no fiddling around. But if it's fairly dim, then finding it may take me much longer. Either way, I would be delighted to do it. But the first step is to know the coordinates and brightness - then I can figure out when it would be a good time to look at it.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: Greg at November 26, 2005 8:04 PM

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