People gather at a rural observatory to gaze at the Milky Way on a summer night.
The clouds drifted through now and then but skies were mostly clear for the last of the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory‘s annual Milky Way Nights for 2014.
A tradition since 2009 and the Year of Astronomy, these dark-of-the-moon nights at the Observatory have proven hugely popular each summer despite the 10 p.m. start and 2 a.m. finish!
The main image at top shows a 360° panorama as people were gathering at the portable telescopes and lining up – in a blur – for a look inside the observatory domes.
Roland from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada provided laser-guided star tours. How did we point out the stars and constellations before green lasers? In the hands of responsible astronomers they are a great tool for public education.
Here he’s pointing out Vega and the stars of the Summer Triangle. Look way up!
About 400 people attended on Saturday night, the last in a trio of nights this past week. As you can see, the event attracts people of all ages. It’s even a popular date night attraction.
At these summer stargazing sessions many people bring blankets to just lie back and look up, at a site away from the ugly glow of the city, here lighting up the clouds to the north.
It was a great night of public stargazing!
– Alan, August 31, 2014 / © 2014 Alan Dyer