Get involved this Saturday

This Saturday, March 27th, there are two interesting opportunities to do something of relevance.

On the most obviously astronomical side, Astronomy.FM, the web-based astronomy radio station, will be hosting a live online Messier Marathon from 7pm-9am EDT (starting at 1am GMT/2am BST just to be difficult). The marathon will involve images and videos streamed in from the robotic telescopes that make up the Global Rent A Scope network. GRAS is an initiative that allows anyone in the world to take control of a robotic telescope and grab an image. A free trial of the system is available here.

A Messier marathon is an attempt to get as many of the 110 objects in Charles Messier’s catalog as possible in a given time frame. Messier compiled his catalog as a list of faint fuzzy things he kept mistaking for the comets he was looking for that certainly aren’t comets. They are galaxies, nebulae and clusters of stars.

The other thing to do on Saturday is participate in the Earth Hour initiative. To do this, and help promote both the issues of over-use of energy and light pollution, simply turn off as many lights as possible between 8:30-9:30pm local time.

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