Same Stars, Different Sky

One of the hardest things about leaving Montana was knowing that it was likely I would never see another night sky like the one just outside my front door. Although I never could identify anything other than the big and little dipper I would spend hours watching the night sky. Just last night RangerSir came in and said “I just looked up and saw Orion in the sky.” He was so pleased and I think a little surprised.

Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

The night sky where we lived in Montana was black, not dark blue or navy. Twilight lasted forever, but once it was dark, it was pitch dark. That black sky made the Milky Way stand out and was always easy to see. In a black sky, a person could understand why it was called the Milky Way with the long wide band of stars that created it. One of my favorite things to do was to get up in the middle of the night for every forecasted meteor storm or possible northern lights. I would set my alarm, so I could go outside at the peak hour and watch for meteors streaking across the sky. Even on nights when the forecasted storm was a bust, there were always a few meteors to be found in the night sky of Montana. Set against that black sky everything showed up. It was calming for my soul. It was one of those things that made a person realize how little you are in this universe.

We were aware of the impact of light pollution on star watching and we were sure once we left Montana we would not see many stars at all living near urban centers. What we have pleasantly discovered is there are still stars, but they are set against a blue night sky. The street lights and light coming from distant cities erases the faintest stars in the distance, but the biggest and the brightest still shine here.

When we walk Zip after the sun goes down we always take time to look at the moon and the stars. The stars in the sky remind us we are but a very small piece of the universe, but the very same universe as the rest of you. It is an amazing place and we are all here together. It may seem like it is all very different, but actually it on how we see it that makes it different. I hope the next time you are out at night you take a minute to stop and look up into the sky and see what show nature is giving you.

5 comments on “Same Stars, Different Sky

  1. The stars appear closer the closer you get to the equator. In Cuba I would sit at the beach and it looked like you could reach out and touch them. They were so much closer that it appeared like a gazillion of them.

  2. The best night stargazing I experienced was on a mountain pass in Wyoming, near the Grand Tetons. You’re right; the sky is incredibly black! Perfect for seeing shooting stars and any unidentified objects. It’s hard to see a lot of stars where we live in Michigan. Too often it’s cloudy (like tonight with the full moon), but sometimes we do get a fine view, as when Jupiter and Saturn were close together earlier this year. It does make one feel small.

  3. I wonder what all the colored lights around the country look like from space or if it changes from what is usually seen…

    Even thinking about seeing earth from space is a concept that when I was in high school we never even thought about! This is a bit off topic but what I thought about when I read your post!

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