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Dial-An-Astronomer

What's that bright thing to the right of Orion?
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While walking home at night, looking at the stars, I realized that I recognized the Big Dipper and Orion, but very little else. And I felt dumb for not knowing the names of these very obvious bright stars--I didn't even know which were really planets.

So... why not call Dial-An-Astronomer? "Hello, I'm in <city>. I see Orion, but what are those bright things to the right of it?" "Well, that's Jupiter and Saturn. You'll also note a bright star above them--that's Aldebaran. Anything else you'd like to know?" etc.

Not quite as cool as Astrogoggles, but way less technology intensive. (And yes, I realize this wouldn't really require trained Ph.D. astronomers just to answer the phone.)

krevis, Feb 19 2001

Astrogoggles http://www.halfbake...m/idea/Astrogoggles
[krevis, Feb 19 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

a guy on keen.com http://www.keen.com...29024&shellDomain=1
[futurebird, Feb 19 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

CyberSky http://www.cybersky.com/index.html
This what you need on your laptop [Gordon Comstock, Feb 19 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Astronomy Groups Directory at Yahoo http://dir.groups.y....com/dir/1600082805
[darkknight_152002, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       There are probably several hundred amateur astronomers awake at any given time who would be happy to answer such questions if posted on a chatboard or distributed on an email list. The trick would be to organize it.   

       In the mean time, invest in a starchart and a pair of binoculars.
centauri, Feb 19 2001
  

       Better still, if you just yell out your question you'll probably find that there are several of them awake and in your vicinity and only too willing to yell back. Be prepared to get some other responses as well though.
DrBob, Feb 19 2001
  

       Cleo the AstroPhysicist might be there
thumbwax, Aug 23 2001
  

       <FakeCarribeanAccent> Call me now! </FakeCarribeanAccent>   

       Oops! Wrong Cleo.
phoenix, Aug 23 2001
  

       I like this idea! But, I think these services already exist. I knew someone who was into astronomy and he actually made phone calls to an observatory and he also visited the Palomar Observatory a few times. Also, I think there are astronomy forums in existance, so if you have a question, you may post it there. See my attached link and I hope that you may find what you are looking for.
darkknight_152002, Jul 27 2003
  

       going out on a limb here. call me 530 629 3922, or 707 834 0961.
spike, Oct 15 2007
  

       I tried something similar with a friend over the phone - I was looking at Jupiter with binoculars and wanted to explain to them how to find it. It didn't work.   

       The problem is that when you say "look just to the left of the two bright stars on Orion's shoulders", the other person has to interpret "just", "bright" and "Orion's shoulders". You very quickly realize that they lost track about seven steps ago. But [+] for the idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 15 2007
  

       Orion? Your Right or my Right?
4whom, Oct 15 2007
  

       No, left. See, we're in trouble already.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 15 2007
  

       Would the coordinates not be hard to describe
johnbakersmon, Apr 23 2008
  

       This information could fit on a cell phone or pda.
johnbakersmon, Apr 23 2008
  

       "Go up from the two end stars in the Plough. Do you see the Pole star now?"   

       Nope   

       "What do you mean? Is it cloudy?"   

       Nope   

       "Where do you live?"   

       New Zealand   

       "Ah, let's try for the Magellanic Clouds instead. Can you see the Southern Cross?"   

       Nope, the sun is too bright.
james_what, Apr 23 2008
  
      
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