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Virtual Star Party Documentary

Here's the full length documentary that Google recorded about our Virtual Star Parties. They actually flew out a camera crew to meet with +Mike Phillips, +Pamela Gay, +Gary Gonnella... and me. 

A big thanks to all the dedicated astronomers who have stood out in the cold, night after night, sharing their view of the heavens out into Google+.

Thanks to +Vic Gundotra for incorporating a shorter version of the documentary into today's Google I/O Keynote. Thanks to +Jessica Brillhart and +Owen Katz and the rest of the Google team for taking this seriously enough to help promote it.
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48 comments
 
This was pretty emotional for me. Fantastic!
 
I found that video to be quiet inspiring!
tim hem
 
That Frank bloke did good aye.
but +Fraser Cain deserves a mention in despatches too.
well done all
 
Thanks for adding "Internet Pioneer" to your impressive list of accomplishments that benefit popularizing science, Fraser. It's so desperately needed in this socio/political climate!
 
+Vic Gundotra It was great seeing this featured as part of an amazing keynote.  (Though I have to say some of us do like spending time on the computer.)
 
hey fraser!!! i loved the idea to broadcast what you're telescopes see, tried building my own telescope once but ended with no cash so lol...eagerly waiting for the next hangout showing stars :D!
cheers from israel :D
 
Thank you Fraser and team. .... Thank you google + . 
 
It is certainly the best application of G+ for science promotion. It would be interesting that some labs get inspired and make people participate to experiments via G+ hangouts
 
I'm going to risk making a pest of myself, by posting something about these Virtual Star Parties that I already mentioned in a related thread. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it's amateur-astronomy central; there are probably more amateur observers and imagers here than anywhere else in the world, I'd guess. I go out imaging at hilltop sites around the Bay Area all the time, and there are a lot of `nomadic imagers' like me, many of them a lot more skilled than I am. I'd be more than happy to let some software (e.g. Deep Sky Stacker Live) take my raw images, make a quick&dirty stack from them, and add it to a Virtual Star Party. That would be fun, watching the signal-to-noise ratio of the image improve as the night goes on. I'm guessing that's what is already done during the V.S.P.s.

But... there's no internet connectivity from the hilltop sites that we use around the Bay Area. They are generally gravel parking lots, which we are very fortunate to be able to use, thanks to the generosity of various land-management agencies. (A huge thank-you to all of those folks!) There's no electric power, no phone lines, no fiber optic cable, and there isn't going to be - these are generally nature preserves and the like.

My most common imaging site is about 8 miles from Google headquarters, as the crow flies. If anyone there is looking for a great way to demonstrate technological prowess, might it be possible to provide high-speed wifi to the relatively rugged hills and valleys around the Bay Area, without having to install a bunch of cell-tower-type repeaters on the various parks and preserves up there? Is that even technologically feasible? I heard a story once that Google proposed doing this for Vermont, but I'm not sure if that ever happened. Maybe I'm just being silly, maybe it's impossible, but it would be a heck of a technology demonstration.
 
Very true! And, despite all my bellyaching, maybe in the end that's not such a bad thing.
 
Great tribute to you and the rest of your team!
 
Congratulations and thanks to +Fraser Cain for your tireless efforts to bring astronomy to a wider audience!
 
Fraser this is AWESOME! I recently learned you're on Vancouver Island too! I'm trying to do space/science outreach by creating The Sagan Series from my bedroom in Victoria. I'd love to bring my facebook following to one of these parties if you'd have me on :)
 
Gonna need to know what webcam to get and how to connect it.  Is there a site with tips?
 
Well done Fraser (: Thanks for all the good work you do
 
This is a great weekly event.
 
I'm changing my name to Frank. :-)
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