The magic of the Milky Way

Cape Breton Post - - Weather - CINDY DAY Chief Me­te­o­rol­o­gist Cindy Day

We’ve had quite a few over­cast nights this week… so I can’t say that I’ve seen the stars in a few days. But the last time I did, they were un­speak­ably bril­liant.

A week ago yes­ter­day I drove to Cape Bre­ton to take in some Celtic Colours shows and Mother Na­ture’s spec­ta­cle at the same time.

We pulled into the park­ing lot at the Gaelic Col­lege in St. Ann’s on Cape Bre­ton Is­land just af­ter 9 p.m. When I got out of the car I did what I al­ways do and looked up. The sight was jaw drop­ping… reach­ing across the late evening sky like a wel­com­ing arm – the Milky Way! It had been years since I’d seen the Milky Way look like that.

As chil­dren, back on the farm, we would stretch out on the lawn af­ter a long day in the field and look up. There, in our own lit­tle corner of par­adise the night sky was as black as it could be – like a vel­vet stage where stars danced to the sound of si­lence. There was lit­tle or no light pol­lu­tion in Bainsville. At the time, I be­lieved every­one could just look up and see what I was see­ing. I didn’t re­al­ize how blessed we were.

We are also very for­tu­nate to re­ceive amaz­ing night pho­tos from Barry Burgess. The one here was taken last Satur­day in New Har­bour, along Nova Sco­tia’s south shore; that mag­nif­i­cent Milky Way con­tains more than 200 bil­lion stars and enough dust and gas to make bil­lions more.

Did you know that un­til the late 1920s, as­tronomers thought all of the stars in the uni­verse were con­tained in­side of the Milky Way? Then, Ed­win Hub­ble dis­cov­ered a spe­cial star known as a “Cepheid vari­able,” that al­lowed him to pre­cisely mea­sure dis­tances. That’s when as­tronomers re­al­ized the fuzzy patches once clas­si­fied as neb­ula were ac­tu­ally sep­a­rate gal­ax­ies.

You might rec­og­nize the name, the Hub­ble Space Te­le­scope was named in his hon­our.

I en­cour­age you to go seek out to­tal dark­ness… it changes ev­ery­thing.

Not a cloud in sight and no city lights! Barry Burgess shares this stun­ning view of the Milky Way taken last Satur­day near New Har­bour, N.S.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.