2021: A Year of Ups and Downs

Welcome to 2022! In this posting, we’ll examine how the pandemic impacted amateur astronomy this past year and review our most popular social media posts from 2021.

Sharpless 2-308 (Bicolor palette) by AstroBin user Diego Cartes. All rights reserved. Used by permission. This is our most-liked Instagram image of 2021 with 277 likes. It was also an AstroBin “Top Pick” nominee. It was made with our Tele Vue-76 APO refractor, Tele Vue TRF-2008 0.8x Reducer/Flattener (converts Tele Vue-76 to 380mm f/5), ZWO ASI 1600MM Cooled Pro monochrome camera, ZWO 7x36mm Filter Wheel (EFW), and iOptron iGuider ─ all riding on an iOptron CEM70G EQ mount. Imaged was binned 1×1 through ZWO OIII -7nm filters 51×900″ (12h 45′) and ZWO H-alpha 66×900″ (16h 30′) for a total integration time of 29h 15′.
COVID-19 Concerns

2021 U.S. COVID-19 New Reported Cases (7-day average). The early-summer dip, centered on June 21st, did not last very long. Adopted from New York Times “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count“.
As 2021 progressed, there were hopes that star parties and astronomy shows would return in full force as COVID-19 showed signs of being contained. Statistical data from early-summer 2021 heralded the good news: new virus cases had dropped dramatically to only 1/20th that of the January peak (graph at right). Mask and social distancing signs came down in anticipation of a return to “normal.” However, like a raging wildfire, the virus mutated and broke containment through the summer and fall and new cases reached and surpassed all prior peaks.
 

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