Monday, October 10, 2011

Too Bright to See

I love being a student in Pasadena in L.A. County. I love that everything is within driving distance and that there's always something open at obscure hours of the night (because let's face it, Caltech students, as well as Astronomers, are predominately nocturnal). Ironically, one of my favorite features about L.A. is also what I like least about it. The city never sleeps. Light pollution (among many other forms of pollution) make star-gazing  a rare opportunity.  Whenever I find myself outside after sunset, I always look up at the stars, and am generally disappointed with the limited view.

Lately, I've been extra-reminiscent of the times that I was lucky enough to star-gaze in complete darkness. I used to go camping all the time with my family. One of my absolute favorite memories was just sitting on the edge of a lake, in the middle of a moon-less night, staring at the sky. The view was absolutely breathtaking and awe-inspiring.

I think it would be a really cool idea to organize a class star-gazing trip sometime in the following weeks. Theory is awesome, and in my opinion greatly contributes to the beauty of astronomy; but there's nothing like looking up at a clear, starry sky.

This picture was taken at the Jackson Meadows Reservoir in Lake Tahoe National Forest.

This picture was taken in a small village by the name of Shevchenky in the Ukraine. The bright stripe on the left hand side is a small two-lane road that is the only "major" road for miles and miles. The long time-exposure on the camera managed to capture a car driving by :] 


  1. Cool!! Love the pictures - especially the second one - the best place I've ever been to see the stars in Eastern Washington, in the middle of farmlands. Living in a city sure is a trade-off... maybe when we visit Palomar next weekend we'll be able to see a clear(er) sky??

  2. The skies at Palomar will be pretty nice. It's even nicer (I think) on the other side of the San Gabriels, which is closer. Let's do a night-trip sometime this term. It would be great if you and maybe a few others would organize this. Here's a handy site:

  3. Wow, did you take these pictures? The second one is beautiful! (For some reason, I can't see the first one.) A stargazing trip would be wonderful - I hope we get the chance!

  4. also, can you identify the north celestial pole in the second picture? it's so cool that because of the time lapse some of the stars are streaks!

  5. My dad took those pictures :] And I didn't think about it before, but it's really cool that you can see the celestial pole based on the movement of the outer stars!