I spoke to Chuck Allen, vice president of the Astronomical League, yesterday — https://www.astroleague.org/al/general/contact.html
“The Astronomical League is composed of over two hundred and forty (280 now) local amateur astronomical societies from all across the United States.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomical_League (pretty thin description)
We talked almost an hour about the growth of Internet sharing (I was doing most of the talking). I was asking if his thousands of individuals and many events were routinely gathering, archiving in accessible locations and formats – lossless examples that could be used by anyone on the Internet to learn about and study the sky.
Please put clear text (NOT light gray) Add speed of animation control. Show the sky from the persons perspective.
I live in Houston Texas. We never see the sky, so I am asking groups to put all sky cameras nearby so that Houstonians (about 6 million in the area) can see the sky any time and browse weeks or months or years of archives if needed. I am asking for one frame per second of LOSSLESS data. It has to be in a format that a high school kid can use, or someone from countries where English is not the first language. And on cell phones, if need be.
You worked on “Amateur Astrophotography Archive” so you can answer Chucks question about “How much does it cost to archive data for a global community”?
You are archiving in lossy formats, and in sizes and formats that 99.999% of people on the Internet cannot use for quantitative work. You HAVE to say what formats you have available. What I am looking for are continuous series of sky images. The whole sky preferred, but specialized continuous observations. With “tracking and stacking” you want many exposures at high gain faster, then they can be merged in the computer. If people need better computers there are ways to handle that. That is the point of “global Internet communities” that costly nodes (you worked on correlators, so you know) are shared and many groups can help. Donated computer time, @Home methods, Zooniverse methods, donated online storage – can be managed and brought together.
I am NOT looking to share pretty pictures. I am trying to find data and models that can be use for science and technology education and research. I got on NASA for putting Hubble photos out in lossy formats with no traceable file names, not background information, no contact information. I call sharing photos of the sky — “eye candy”. Not suitable for comparisons or research or global collaboration across many fields.
Richard K Collins, Director, The Internet Foundation
I am looking at all sensor networks on the Internet for the Internet Foundation. I am in the middle of “cameras” and “live cameras” just now. There are many attempts at “all sky cameras” from observatories, from astronomy clubs, from schools and individuals. Not a single one is doing a great job, and everyone is “doing their own thing” and not part of a global community.
The original Internet Foundation was supposed to be paid for by that $15 per year per domain fee. But it was cancelled for US political reasons. About that time (1998) I was looking for something to do with the rest of my life, so I registered the domain, TheInternetFoundation.Org. But, rather unusually, I get a message to call an executive at Network Solutions. He told me that Al Gore had diverted the money to put Internet into US neighborhoods, so the US Attorney General stopped that. In the aftermath, everyone threw up their hands and cancelled the whole thing. He asked me why I would take on something that now would be about $6 Billion a year, and I told him, “Better one person than no one at all”.
Anyway. I do track all sensor networks and all the related technologies and groups. I cannot easily summarize, and I just put in another 20 hour day.
But I am contacting some of the astronomy groups and the people who put live cameras on YouTube (I found 1200 so far and estimate it is 10 times larger on the Internet) too fast growth to count. And no one is labeling where the camera is located, the direction of the camera and its properties. The format is lossy video and the frame rates unpredictable. The “archive” lasts for 12 hours, if it is enabled. And no one is overlaying information like you have at https://in-the-sky.org/skymap3.php when it would be a trivial bit of work (for someone with your skills).
If people are working on parts of the global issues facing astronomy on the Internet, NOT to form monopolies, or for pride and to gain influence and push everyone else aside, or under, then it might be worthwhile.
My aim is machine vision, regional and global coordination practice, validation of meteorological data, data fusion for all the sensor networks in each area or region. Solar observatories, cosmic ray, comets, neutrinos — everything that people might want to see — in forms they can use with symbolic math and computer models.
I was looking through my notes and “astronomy” on the Internet is a mess. The sites come and go. No one uses the same methods or toolkits, the same formats. Everyone only cares about their own goals and interests. But with 4.8 Billion people using the Internet, there are many people who ought not to face that blizzard of chaotic stuff when they want to see the night or day sky over head.