Save energy, along with the night sky

By broca1  |  Posted June 2, 2014  |  Ocala, Florida
Save energy, along with the night sky
CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Steven Coates is a physician’s assistant by day and astrophotographer by night. His interest in astronomy fuels his desire to capture the night sky through pictures. These photos of the Milky Way were taken in rural Livermore and Canton Maine.

Coates says “It is difficult to image the Milky Way from light-polluted skies as the city lights 'washes out' the light from space,” says Coates, which is why he is a member of the International Dark-Sky Association.
taliaday, CNN iReport producer

It is time to start thinking about wasted light and the economic impact it has on taxpayers.
I am an amateur astrophotographer, having spent the past four years imaging deep space objects such as nebula and distant galaxies from my backyard in Ocala, Florida.
Over the course of these four years, I have noticed an increase in my town's "sky glow," or the amount of light that has scattered above the ground and into space. Much of this comes from needed development, and with development comes parking lot lights, street lights and general lights from business that scatter light into space above the city.
With responsible development comes responsible lighting. If we can shift the way we direct lights and direct them down, where light is needed, we can limit the amount of light, and energy, wasted to the sky above. Approximately 30 percent of energy used in unshielded lights is wasted to the sky. This wasted energy costs the U.S. $2.2 billion annually. Using full cut-off light fixtures with a lower-wattage bulb will save money for the city, provide security, limit distracting glare (while driving) and help preserve the night sky.
The following images were images I took from dark skies of rural Maine durign the summer of 2013.
For more information on light pollution please visit the International Dark-Sky Association ( )

Aliner Storage Solutions

Storage is pretty tight in these campers.  Here are some images of shelving and storage ideas for an Aliner Classic that I worked on this past week.




Images Published from the Past Year

Here are some images that were featured in publications from the past year. Links to each site can be found at the end of each image description. This past year has images featured in National , , Discovery News, YahooNews, All About Space , Sky & Telescope Magazine, The World at Night, Universe Today and Mother Nature

Images of the new ALiner

Here are some images of the new ALiner that we bought a couple of weeks ago.  

SQM readings from Ocala Florida

Here are some sample SQM readings using the Dark Sky Meter for iPhone.  Skies in Ocala are a Bortle scale 6 and the Milky Way is faint on the the best of nights at zenith.

Losmandy G11 with Gemini 2 Periodic Error (PEMPro)

My findings on PE and the Losmandy G11 "stock" worm gear BEFORE and AFTER PEC using PEMPro...
This was my first time using PEMPro and I followed the directions as outlined.
The first curve (Before PEC) was taken with 7 cycles and the second curve (After PEC) was taken with 3 cycles.
Focal length of scope 1625mm
Imaging camera QSI 683
Mount: Losmandy G11 with Gemini 2
If I did this correctly (and I understand what was collected) I am quite happy with these results.

Before PEC

After PEC

Current equipment and configuration

Current equipment and configuration...
Astro-Tech 8" Ritchey-Chretien with a focal length of 1625mm (f/8)
Losmandy G 11 mount with Gemini II
Astro-Tech 2" Field Flattener
7.5mm extension ring by Baader Planetarium
Starlight Xpress Lodestar
Quantum Scientific Imaging, Inc. 683wsg-8 Monochrome CCD Camera
Astrodon Tru-balance E-Series Generation II LRGB
Astrodon 5nm SII. OIII and Ha Narrowband Filter