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Sept Parsec Meeting 9/18/21

This month we are pleased to present a talk by Diane Turnshek about the Pittsburgh Dark Skies Initiative.

The September Parsec meeting will be held on Saturday 9/18 at 1:00 pm on Zoom


Alternate History: What if today’s level of light pollution had always been?
by Diane Turnshek

The timeline of astronomy would have been severely altered if the current level of light pollution in the world extended back in time. Would we have ever discovered Neptune and Uranus? Current technology allows us to travel to and build in the most remote locations in the world, but historically, dangerous treks to distant lands were for the brave or foolhardy. How far would science have progressed without scientists being able to see stars? And how would the fallout from that loss impact the current world?

John E. Bortle is an American amateur astronomer. He is best known for creating the Bortle scale to quantify the darkness of the night sky. The Bortle Scale measures the night sky’s brightness and the interference caused by light pollution.

Are you aware how many everyday things we take for granted are due to astronomy research? Personal computers, communication satellites, mobile phones, Global Positioning Systems, solar panels, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, and CCDs (to name a few). Join us for a vision of a different history where the skies were polluted early on and astronomy never flourished. How dark is your night sky?

Diane Turnshek teaches college astronomy classes in Pittsburgh and has been named a Dark Sky Defender by the International Dark-sky Association. She has been on the Board of Directors for both SFWA and Parsec, Pittsburgh’s premier science fiction charitable organization. For nine years, she mentored graduate students at Seton Hill’s MFA Writing Popular Fiction program. Since 2017 she has set up book signing events for over 300 authors and curated three space art galleries. She is the founder of Write or Die, a critique group running since 1996, Alpha, a teen writing workshop since 2002 and the CMU Speculative Fiction Lecture Series that began in 2014.
Her latest project is to make a high resolution, nighttime, light pollution map of Pittsburgh, PA for researchers.

Join us for the September meeting and meet our surprise Confluence 2022 guest of honor!

Upcoming Parsec meetings:

Oct 16th: Beware the Scare!
Authors, Michael Arnzen, Scott Johnson and Frank Oreto will regale us with spooky stories and talk about horror writing.

Nov 20th: Cat Rambo talks about her upcoming new release, You Sexy Thing, the difference between writing short fiction and novels, the Satanic Panic, and RPGs. And all the great online writing classes she offers through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers.

Dec 18th: Holiday Party! More information coming soon.

Use the registration link at the top of this post to register once for all of the upcoming Parsec meetings.

Have an article, note or announcement that you would like to see published in the Sigma newsletter?
The deadline for submissions for the Oct Issue of Sigma is Sunday 10/3/21 – Send your plain text or RTF document to: