jlvsclrk: (StarsLifeDeath by ctbn60)
I went out last night at about 2 AM to walk the dog and it was just the most perfect night ever.  The heat wave had broken and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Even the flies and mosquitoes weren't biting! As for the stars, Sagittarius was due south at its best spot for viewing and the Milky Way was streaming upwards from the spout of the teapot - it was unmistakable that you were looking towards the centre of our galaxy. And then there was the Great Rift caused by dust clouds and more of the Milky Way spreading across through Cygnus and then down to Cassiopeia. Absolutely stunning. There are times I really love living in the countryside and this was definitely one of them.

So I headed home and started to assemble my photography gear to get some more constellation pictures. Camera - check. Telephoto lens - check. Remote shutter release - check. Tripod? Not here, not here, not here, not here, check the garage, not there, go back into the house, not here. Hmmm. Oh yes, must have left it in the car from a few weeks back. Where are the car keys? Not here, not here, not here, not in my sister's purse, not in her backpack or summer travel bag. What about... Not there either. Oh my god, I hope she didn't leave them in the car! No, surely not. Well, maybe she left the car unlocked and I can worry about the keys tomorrow.

So I go out to the driveway and... The car wasn't there. A friend had dropped Barbara off last night, leaving the car in town. In my defense, Barb hadn't told me this because she fell asleep as soon as she got home. But honestly, I walked past the empty driveway at least 4 times - you think it might have registered. Just shows you how unobservant I am.

To give you a hint at what I was seeing, here's a pretty awesome image by amateur astrophotogher, Sean Parker from Tuscon. The reds of the nebulae in this picture don't show to the naked eye, but cameras don't show the full range of brightness that you can perceive with your night vision. (In particular, you can't really see most of the bright stars that mark the constellations in these pictures because they kind of blend in with the rest when you process the image to emphasise the Milky Way. But still, awesome either way.)

Weather permitting, I'll have an even better opportunity to get great photos when we go camping in Algonquin Park in mid-July. I'm a bit worried about the black flies and all, but the viewing there is as good as you can get in Ontario. If anyone just happens to be in the neighbourhood and wants to join us on a Messier marathon, LMK!


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October 2012

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