There are still dark skies in America

Detail of the Orion Nebula, from Image:Orion 3...

Detail of the Orion Nebula, from Image:Orion 3008 huge.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Portal, Arizona, near the border with New Mexico, a community of “avid scientists, engineers, astro wizards and space photographers share common ground in their quest to work in the ultimate ‘dark-sky village’… Deep-sky images no longer require a mountain-top observatory to capture interstellar vistas or rogue asteroids… what we have here is a ‘dark sky oasis’ with ideal conditions… It really doesn’t get much better than this.”

Amateurs today can do astronomy that professionals would recently have envied. They “use robotic telescopes, remote-controlled equipment and complex computer programs. With these techniques, they capture images you can’t see with the naked eye, or even through a telescope… Today’s robotic telescopes can be controlled from anywhere in the world using an Internet connection.”

One of the benefits of living in the American Southwest is the beautiful, dark night sky. The rest of the country may think we live in the “fly-over zone”, but we’d rather look up at the stars than look down from a plane.  Wherever you live, look for the pairing of two bright planets in the west at sunset: Jupiter and Venus are brilliant evening “stars” now and will be quite close together on May 26.

Thanks to The Biggest Little Paper in the Southwest for the item on Portal, AZ.

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