Sunday, July 5, 2009

Prairie Sky

Last night, after the children were asleep, I brought 2 friends out to the prairie. My friend Alex had fond memories of stargazing out there years ago and wanted his wife to have the same experience.

It was a beautiful, clear summer night. Unfortunately, the moon was so bright, we could barely see the stars. There were enough stars to identify a few constellations and get a sense of how much sky there is on the prairie.

Living in rural Minnesota, it is easy to forget that most city dwellers have too much light pollution to see the stars. Alex grew up in Maine where it is dark enough to see the stars, but the mountains and the trees limit your view of the sky. Out on the prairie it is all sky - 180 degrees from one horizon to the other. When the sky is clear and the moon is not so bright, the stars are amazing!

Taking Alex and Debbie out reminded me just how beautiful our night sky is. I have not gone out stargazing for many years. With 2 little girls, bedtime comes early. I sometimes catch a glimpse of the stars here in my yard, but between the streetlights, trees and houses, the view pales in comparison to the amazing prairie sky. I think I'll make a point to go out to the hills at night again soon. 

There were also a few fireflies blinking in the tall grass - and fireworks across the lake. A nice combination for the 4th of July.

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