Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro-image of the day: the Milky Way

When's the last time you had a night-sky view like this?

Click the image to see the story.

True, you can't see color like that with your naked eye, and the nebulae are tougher to see without a time exposure, but the naked-eye view of the portion of Milky Way that we can see from Earth is still spectacular.

When I was a boy living in western Minnesota, on Moon-less nights I could see a sky like this by simply walking a half-mile from our house, which stood about a mile from the nearby small town. We lived in a little valley beside the highway, half-way between the golf course about 500 feet vertically uphill (thus the half-mile walk up) and the lake about 1000 feet of walking downhill. I often dragged my Crown Optics 6" telescope up that hill to the wide, dark skies visible from the golf course.

PS: OMG - I did a quick search and found the original 1982 advertisement for my first serious telescope! I bought it with dishwashing money, plus a 35mm camera, an assortment of eyepieces and other accessories, and a big guide-scope just like on the "Research Series" telescopes. Check it out:

Click the image to see the story and full-size image.

Interesting to be reminded that it was a Meade Optics brand, and my next telescope is also a Meade Optics instrument... more on that when it arrives. I plan to start uploading my own Astro-image of the day in the next couple of months after getting used to the free CCD camera included with the purchase. And, because tmseay is now storing his Celestron 8" SCT at my place, I plan to organize some mini-star-parties in the coming months, taking advantage of the dark skies south of town.

That was a fun trip down astronomical memory lane. And if you've never seen the Milky Way in all its glory, get out to some dark skies sometime and just lie back looking up. Bring a binocular and slowly scan through the clouds of gas, dust, and stars that leap out of the eyepieces like fireworks. It's glorious.

Tags: astronomy, telescopes

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