Barstronomy with local astro-man Duke Skygawker

The moon and stars are the fuel of our nightlife but how often do you take a moment to look up from the bottom of your mule mug to appreciate astronomy? If you ask Tony Miller that question, he could answer, “Mmm, most days.”

Miller, also known by the guise of “Duke Skygawker” lugs his giant telescope around to different Columbus bars to give people the opportunity to get to know their natural night lights.

He’s cleverly dubbed the activity “barstronomy.”

“I grew up in a dark part of northwest ohio,” Miller said. “I liked watching meteor showers. Then I started chasing Aurora and I was successful– I’ve seen the Northern Lights five times in Columbus.”

His family chipped into his interest with a small telescope. That lead to a bigger telescope, him joining the Columbus Astronomical Society, and then starting barstronomy.

The very first bar he took his equipment to was Woodlands in March of 2011.

“99.9 percent of people like it,” he said.

He does get a lot of confused reactions though. A lot of folks think his telescope is a t-shirt cannon or a popular smoking piece.

“I tell them, ‘This is not a bong. Don’t pack it, don’t light it.'”

Sine 2011, Miller has totted around his giant star-seer to places like Skully’s, Rumba, and Brothers Drake. He’s even taken barstronomy as far as Arkansas and New Mexico.

“I’m vastly entertained by watching people do this and watching their reactions,” he said.

Miller trusts curious bar-goers to use the telescope themselves. He’ll teach them how to point it and then gives them the reins. If you see a giant black object pointed up towards the sky next time you’re out, peer around for Miller. If you’d like to buy him a drink, his nocturnal alter-ego–Duke Skygawker– likes rum.

“Cheap rum out of a dirty glass,” he clarified.

Follow Tony Miller on Facebook to stay up-to-date on where he and his telescope will be around town. Word on the street is he’s going to be nerding out at Little Rock Bar tonight..

 Read more about the star man.


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