Friday, July 8, 2016

If You Can't See the Milky Way

(primarily because of light pollution)  then there is no reason to buy a telescope.  It will just be an exercise in frustration.

This is what you should be able to see on a clear night using just your eyes.  Back before gas and electric light, everyone could see this.  No wonder people were so focused on the stars.

If you can't see anything like most people can't, then just go here everyday for the new picture.  Click the picture to go to the APOD site and see a description and click the picture to often get a much higher resolution image.  Sometimes click again to zoom in further.






9 comments :

  1. I remember lying on the hood of our family's car and gazing up into the sky. All those stars! Northern Virginia was quite rural in those days (1950's-1964).

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    1. Nice when you can see them AOW.

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  2. We see far fewer stars than we used to 30 years ago, but still way more than most folks. There are people in the big cities who have probably never seen stars. Sad.

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    1. Even when I was a kid, we were too close to Pittsburgh to see much and still had to take a ride to the country to see.

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  3. My father, who would have been 109 years old this year, was an eagle scout, and remained enthusiastic about scouting all his life –– to the point where he helped sponsor a small group of Sea Scouts when he was in his late thirties and early forties. He was also great outdoors man. He courted my mother by taking her on frequent camping trips to the then-wild parts of northern New Jersey.

    I mention this only because he loved to take out into the middle of the golf course located just behind our suburban house to go look at the constellations. I soon got so that I could identify Orion's three belt buckles and his sword –– but never the rest of him! ––, the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia's Chair –– aka The Big W. No big accomplishment, but it thrilled the heck out of me.

    All this took place back in the 1940's, while the county was still full of truck farms, open country and small stores scattered here an there. That was just before the suburbs got so over-populated because of the post-war boom.

    Nice memories!

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    1. Boy, was that a different America FT. Gone now.

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    2. FT,
      I had a guidebook of constellations. I spent several hours staring up into the skies and identifying those constellations.

      My father helped out a bit -- making sure that I could locate the North Star so that I would know how to keep from getting lost on a camping trip. But, overall, I knew more about constellations than my father did; he simply wasn't all that interested in constellations.

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  4. I remember seeing the Milky Way once as a teenager from town. Don't know why. Amazed.
    Still don't know why I could see it if I was in it.
    Saw the Northern Lights over our Southeast Michigan town in the late 60's.
    Saw Mars and a lot of stuff I couldn't identify when the east coast lost power a few days.
    Was in the UP 25 years ago on Lake Superior and was amazed.
    I now have an app on my phone that I point at the sky to tell me what is what and where it should be, should it be visible through the light pollution.

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    1. Ed, I look forward to one day being able to see all that again. Seeing the Milky Way? We're in the Sagittarius arm and can see across to the center sections.

      The computerized telescopes are pretty cool these days. Punch in what you want to look at and voila it goes there. I haven't tried one yet.

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