My wife and I spent the last 12 days traveling across the desert & # 39; New Mexico. The experience of the sky was spectacular, far better than anything that Ohio has to offer.
M & # 39; have to get wrong. You & # 39; to get a fairly decent picture of the actual sky from the South & # 39; Ohio if you are willing to travel to one of our beautiful parks and state forests. That is why I've spending the time & # 39; My observation showing people the night gloriji the New Astronomy John Glenn Park near the center of the Park & # 39; Hocking Hills State.
But New Mexico is something special because of its relative lack of & # 39; big towns polluting light and variety of its climates. We rose on a white sand dunes of pure gypsum, in spectacular lakes, and even through & # 39; what could almost & # 39; called forest, if foot paste, tall yucca plants and cacti can be called trees. We also went deep underground in the cavern of & # 39; Carlsbad.
And the sky! Have you never seen a shadow & # 39; & # 39 blue in blue; other place. I have never seen so pure extinction. And I have never seen stars very clear to the horizon.
Places & # 39; away from urban life provide the best that nature offers b & # 39; abundant way, both above and below the horizon – a real sense of detail minutes of our planet and its place in the higher atmosphere.
I am impressed with & # 39; a particular way by the National Monument & # 39; Chaco Canyon, which like many of the National Parks and Monuments, asks that its patrons are & # 39; away from the place sundown. As we think swiftly rules and emerged from its clear beauty in & # 39; one of the schools of the most beautiful beauty ever seen, was recalled a story about the great John Dobson, mount inventor of Dobsonian telescope and astronomer.
Dobson loves load of school car school "withdrawn its" with & # 39; huge telescopes of his own creation. He traveled from National Park National Park showing people the true sky overlooking the pull-off and parking lots.
After dark pleasures were strictly against the rules. As a result, it was & # 39; often imdeffijat by guards and sometimes started off the park.
At the Grand Canyon, one ranger breathed, "Sir, the sky is not part of the park."
Dobson calmly replied, "Sir, the park is part of the sky."
And that, dear reader, is exactly right. One way & # 39; understanding of our place in the universe is to scrutinize on its mikrokosmika scale, body usually call "nature".
However, the nature part below the horizon is only a small fragment of our greatest natural world.
So do not stop there. After the sun fades, looked & # 39; above the horizon to find nature at its makrosmika scale.
In other words, the best way to achieve a sense of & # 39; & # 39 spot; humanity in the universe is simply to go out and look at the sky to late autumn. Of course, the universe is somewhat obscured by the glow of city lights. Why not get late night country to watch the sunset at the place where earth and sky meet and stay out until the universe appears in all its glory? Do not forget to take along binoculars or a small telescope for a better look.
As twilight turns to darkness, sought binoculars born with them, your own eyes. The skyline of shiny west b & # 39; approximately strange and konvoluta of & # 39; ice light. The Milky Way is summer sets in the west, but not & # 39; have. As the night goes & # 39; hereinafter, the Milk Way will rise Winter & # 39; East.
We look at distant stars of your Milky Way galaxy, our kożmiku neighborhood. The sun is just one of the stars of the Milky Way 300 billion, most of which are located in dairy range to see. Simple set & # 39; binoculars is all that is needed for this band explodes in & # 39; many stars.
We are informed that this is so for a little more than 400 years. As the entire time before, we were limited by what allows the human eye to see.
The Milk Way is formed much like Olympic disc, wider & # 39; center and taped at the edges. This cosmic discussion is 100,000 light years from side to side. (One year equals about 6 trillion miles). Switch flashlight f & # 39; one end, and the light takes 100,000 years to get to the other side.
Turn flashlight and aimed at the moon, and light hair takes more than a second to travel the distance there. Seconds compared to 100,000 a year and you'll start to get a huge sense of size Milk Way.
We live near the edge of the Milk Way. As we see, the lights & # 39; number & # 39; stars and clouds & # 39; dust and gas obscure our vision & # 39; the larger universe. To get a sense of & # 39; the structure of the rest of & # 39; the universe, we look & # 39; away from the most dense part of the Milk Way.
So, just after dark, look high in the east to the Andromeda constellation, which only thinly veil & # 39; & # 39 Milky Way shed; road. Beyond the stars of the constellation, will see a fuzzy patch & # 39; cigar called the Andromeda Galaxy.
We look at the most thing you can & # 39; to see the human eye. Its great distance became apparent only a century or so ago. Throughout the millennia that preceded it, humans stordew f & # 39; that tiny fuzzy patch and realized they had reached the limit of human vision.
Granted, with the unaided eye, the galaxy does not seem much, but filling the majority of binoculars. From our advantage in the Milk Way, Andromeda is inclined partially in turn, to report its oval shape.
For perhaps 200,000 light years wide, the galaxy is twice the diameter of the Milk Way. Recent estimates put astronomical Andromeda to about 2.5 million a year & # 39; away. The light you see took 2.5 million years to travel to your eyes. In the huge gap between the two can & # 39; placed end to end 15 galaxija of & # 39; Milky Way and Andromeda 30.
After decades & # 39; my years & # 39; observation & # 39; universe, merely one leaves at & # 39; mind causing them to oxygen: Andromeda is the nearest large galaxy to our Red Way.
The universe is made up of trillions of & # 39; galaxies like Andromeda. If you spent a lifetime, one hundred long & # 39; & # 39 through life; Telescopes in & # 39; & # 39 can each galaxy, see, see just a small fraction of the galaxies that compose the universe. Each one of those galaxies is much more & # 39; away from what resembled light called the Galaxy of & # 39; Andromeda.
Stare & # 39; & # 39 above in; those things once in your life. Stare long enough and know the place of humanity in the universe.
Compared even with & # 39; the smaller stars, you draw a little, fragile. Your body is small, but the mind eliminates the universe as soon as & # 39; is. Perhaps you know that you have been given eyes to see these things. You were mind to share in the vastness of the universe.
In many people worry about the minutes of life & # 39; their day, as should, I suggest. They worry f & # 39; greater sense of where they are targeting our nation and our world, and does not mean that these issues be deleted. In fact, ninkwetaq about all those things myself.
However, learning to look at the sky led me to this conclusion that now you & # 39; felt Once people see – once you see – our miraculous place in the universe, the vast beauty and efficiency cold-Kosmos, the small our planet and our shiny presence on, the strength and fragility of & # 39; this thing we call life, and the power and the lack a & # 39; weakness that we have on the only planet ever called home, I know in my heart of hearts that they – and you – will do the right thing.
Protect & # 39; over the Galaxy of & # 39; the Andromeda is a good place to start that journey.
Tom Burns is director & # 39; before & # 39; Perkins Observatory in & # 39; Delaware.