Orion Star Count 2013

January 27, 2013


Photographer: John Chumack
Summary Authors: John Chumack; Constance Walker

The image above shows the constellation of Orion (at upper right center) as observed from Adams County, Ohio, on December 14, 2012. Note the Geminid meteor just below it. The bright stars Sirius (at center), Procyon (upper left), and Betelgeuse (yellowish star at Orion’s right shoulder) form the Winter Triangle.

See if you can count the stars in Orion with your unaided eye on a clear night. Don’t expect to see as many stars as shown on this long exposure view, but how many you count will help scientists measure the brightness of the night sky. The second campaign of 2013 starts January 31 and runs through February 9. During this time participants match the appearance of a constellation (Orion or Leo in the Northern Hemisphere and Orion and Crux in the Southern Hemisphere) with seven star charts of progressively fainter stars. Participants then submit their choice of star chart with their date, time and location. This can be done by computer (after the measurement) or by smart phone or pad (during the measurement). From these data an interactive map of all worldwide observations is created. Over the past 7 years, people in 115 countries have contributed over 83,000 measurements, making GLOBE at Night the most successful, light pollution citizen-science campaign to date. The remaining GLOBE at Night campaigns in 2013 are March 3-12, March 31-April 9, and April 29 - May 8.

Photo details: Modified Canon Rebel Xsi camera; 17mm lens; ISO 1600; f4; 38 minute exposure.