Star Light, Star Bright…on a Cloudy Night


This week we take a trip to the University of Alberta Observatory in hopes of seeing a twinkling night sky. Unfortunately, it was cloudy! But we still got to have some very interesting conversations with the people there, including the speaker for the night, James Pinfold, a Physics professor at the University of Alberta and a founding member of the ATLAS experiment taking place in the Large Hadron Collider.

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What’s space to you?

Many other people also came out to the observatory despite the poor visibility. We wanted to find out: what would they think if they could no longer see the stars? And why would they spend a Thursday evening listening to a guy talk about hydrogen?

James Pinfold

A big concern for astronomers—amateurs and pros alike—is light pollution. Gazing at the stars gives us important knowledge about our place in the universe. Without that, we lose perspective.

But some might say, you know, there’s so much up there that we can’t see anyway. What can’t we see? and why we can see what we can? —those are questions Trevor Chow-Fraser had. Luckily there was a world famous particle physicist at the observatory that night. Thank your lucky stars! James Pinfold is a founding member of the ATLAS experiment and the spokesman for the MoEDAL experiment, both taking place at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

Alan Luck and Sherrilyn Jahrig

Kathryn Lennon wanted to know how industry and municipalities are tackling this problem. In a piece she wrote and recorded back in 2012, she spoke with Alan Luck, Energy Engineer at Shell’s Scotford Upgrader in Alberta. And with Sherrilyn Jahrig, Director of Light Efficient Communities and the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve Coordinator for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

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