With this last submission I end my blog on Patch - not with a 'Big Bang' befitting of an astronomy column, but with a whimper. I feel obligated to provide (even one reader) an explanation.
I don't know about you, but I am not a disciplined scanner of fine print, especially as it relates to the more frivolous things in my life. As long as I'm not harming my family, or losing my house, my car, my things of value......I will often sign documents without taking the time to read every side effect, precaution, warning and contraindication in order to expedite things and keep the line moving. Such was the case when I started my astronomy blog on Patch a short time ago.
When my most recent blog submission was not accepted for publication, an editor from Patch's regional office informed me that a blogger on their forum is permitted to attach only photographs for which s/he owns the rights. No other images may be included in a Patch blog, regardless of source, even with the appropriate attribution - company policy. I'd been unaware when I started to blog on Patch that this prohibition existed even though it was clearly noted in the "contract" I willingly entered with them. My bad.
What are often stunning photographs accompany nearly all of my astronomy writing. I'm certain that for some people, the picture is the only reason they stop to dig deeper at all. A picture is a hook, a lure tempting readers to turn a nibble into a meal. It's the pretty pictures of deep space objects or planets or moons that appeal; my words just hitch a ride like so much comet dust. NASA, JPL, ESO, dozens of incredibly talented professional and amateur astrophotographers - they are creators who do much of the heavy lifting. Their fantasmagoric, imagination-stirring images can best be captured by government agencies, research institutions, and those who possess the equipment, software, knowledge, skills and desire to produce dramatic images of the night skies. If I can't supplement my blog with a great image accompanied by a complete citing approved by the AP Stylebook - then I'll seek a different forum.
With this last Patch entry I share with you the ONLY photograph of an astronomical subject that I, myself, have taken. It's a shot of the moon that I snapped by holding my cell phone's camera lens up to the eyepiece of my telescope last September. The location was Schoodic Point, Maine.