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What are the lookup sky guides?

The lookup sky guides are the very first series of travel guides to interstellar space — or at least very close. While hotels between the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are still few and far between, publicly accessible, architecturally arresting Victorian observatories have dotted the New England landscape since the 19th century, making for unique weekend destinations promising inspirational, unforgettable visual rewards. In fact, few urban-dwellers are aware of the countless wonders the celestial sky holds. The lookup sky guides aim to change this.

child looking through telescope

In the colloquial spirit of a traveler's guide, and with a renewed appetite for science as food for the self, the lookup sky guides introduce astronomy and space sciences to the curious uninitiated via steady immersion: attend an open invite star party one night, a free seminar the next. The approach opens a traditionally scholastic subject to readers in the uniquely engaging format of a fifty-two week event calendar targeted to U.S. metropolises, opening the subject to groups of friends, singles looking to meet like-minded persons, or newcomers to a city.

The calendar's locality-specific editions will embrace the cultural subtleties of each city, with versions planned for New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, DC, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and with long term goals of editions for the great southern and mid-western cities thereafter.

As birthplace of the series, New York will be marked with the first pin on the series' roll-out map. The first guide in the series, The lookup Sky Guide: NYC Spring 2012 - Spring 2013 A Yearlong Tour of the Sky Over New York City, is well into development, and set for release in the Spring of 2012.

Though it may seem counterintuitive to write astronomy guides for the country's most light-polluted cities, the lookup sky guides are the consequence of a unique experience, wherein the author discovered a small crowd gathered about a telescope he had assembled in front of his apartment in Brooklyn, NY. The questions he received that night revealed gaping holes in the typical city-dweller's understanding of the celestial skies, paired with genuine inquisitiveness worthy of well-formed answers.

Mindful, as a lifelong urbanite, of his own 'ah-ha' moments while stargazing — the brightest stars in the sky are usually our neighboring planets! — the author began to share his telescope with his local community on every clear night that opportunity would offer. The rewards for observers and author were equal, and the crafting of a local celestial event guide became ineluctable.

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