Marvelling at the Milky Way
By: Alan Dyer
Tags: Alan Dyer, Alberta, astronomy, Calgary, green laser, laser pointer, light pollution, Milky Way, Milky Way Nights, outreach, Panorama, public astronomy, Rothney Astrophysical Observatory, Sagittarius, Scorpius, stargazing, Summer Triangle, University of Calgary
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