Have your kids seen the Milky Way?

Dear Boston and Boston TV Meteorologists,

The children and families of Boston haven’t seen the Milky Way in many years, but this natural wonder is right there waiting to be discovered.  As a community we are asking for a little cooperation from our local TV meteorologists to draw attention to the possibility…

Wouldn’t it be great to have a monthly weather forecast segment identifying a night good for seeing the Milky Way? Well it is possible!  Every month we have the new moon phase of the lunar calendar that produces the best conditions. The next such period begins July 20, and lasts for approximately 6 days, with the new moon (no moon) on July 23. Within that window a meteorologist can forecast the best atmospheric conditions for Boston’s Star Light Night.

This request came about as a result of our ongoing canvassing of Boston area residents for their novel ideas on how to improve community in Boston. One of the most popular suggestion was for a coordinated lights-out for 30 minutes so families can go out into their neighborhood and view the Milky Way – something that so many young people in Boston have never seen. But what night, and how do we get the message out? All it will take is a little coordination, a little cooperation and some trial and error in discovering good viewing spots. That’s where Boston TV meteorologists can help, by setting a date we can coordinate around.

We envision working with a Boston area TV meteorologist that viewers can tune in to and get the forecast for Boston’s next Star Light Night.  As a star gazing community, we can then organize local viewing parties and find the best spots away from street lights.  Of course, some months, because of prolonged cloud cover, there will be no suitable night – but that anticipation is part of the fun of watching the weather forecast isn’t it?

I would like to introduce Scott Feierabend, he’s the executive director of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) – the recognized authority on the night sky and light pollution. IDA is a member based organization widely supported by astronomers with many members in the North East. We reached out to Scott and the IDA about this proposal and they are keen to cooperate!  They are offering our local TV meteorologists any technical assistance they might need, and are happy to provide  background resources on the night sky and light pollution.

Interest in astronomy is likely to get a boost in the coming weeks with the approaching solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. We believe that this is a great time to trial this idea and get the children of Boston excited at the prospect of viewing the Milky Way.

Let’s make this happen Boston! Over to you TV mets…


Cooperation Day Boston

P.S. We have initially contacted channel 5 and channel 7 meteorologists and hope to get an answer soon. You can help to encourage them by sharing on social media. Thanks!

**Update** 11pm Thursday,  7 July. Boston channel 5 chief meteorologist Harvey Leonard has contacted us to say they are reviewing our request. Thanks Harvey!

Leave a Reply