Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Milky Way As Seen From Beauty Mountain

Kim and Molly asked me the other day what I wanted for my birthday.  I said I wanted to go rock climbing, go out to eat and go somewhere and get some star trail photos.  So Friday we headed up to the New River and climbed around the Junkyard Wall area for about four hours, then went to eat.  Nothing fancy, just the DQ in Fayetteville, but it was gooood.  Then we headed out to Beauty Mountain to watch the sunset and wait for the stars to come out.

Before I set my camera to start making the photos that would make up my star trail photo (I'll post it tomorrow) I made some photos showing the Milky Way.  This is my favorite.  I wish there was less light pollution in the area, but I like how it turned out anyway.

Ever since I was a little boy I've loved looking up at the night sky.  Even today, as soon as I walk outside at night my head automatically turns up to the heavens.

I did some research on the size of our Milky Way and here are some of the basics about it.  The Milky way is 100,000 light years across (light travels 5.88 trillion miles in a year).  In comparison to the Milky Way, our solar system with it's eight planets and sun would be the size of a quarter laid somewhere on the North American continent.  Amazing!

The closest star that we can see with the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere is Sirius.  It's just one of the 100's of billions of stars that make up the Milky Way.  Sirius is almost twice the size of the Sun and it’s the brightest star in the sky.  It's 8.6 light-years away! 

Click here and here to watch a couple of videos of Louie Giglio describing the awesomeness of our universe.

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