Saturday, 4 June 2016

We're in the Dark

When we have visits from family and friends one of the highlights (for me, anyway) is standing out in the back garden looking at the sky at night.

Anyone who comes from London (or one of the large Australian cities) knows that there is at most 15 stars which can be seen from the Earth. From our garden things are different: we get a good view of the Milky Way in all its glory after midnight (that's when the street lights go out).

The reason for that can be seen in this NASA video taken from the International Space Station. The pertinant piece is at about 35 seconds.

For those who don't see what I am seeing, here is a key.

We are in the area of the red circle, in comparative darkness, so once the local street lights are turned off we have virtually no light pollution. When we first talked about coming here to live I looked at the price of astronomical telescopes - and I may have to do so again!


  1. Spotted your deliberate mistake... Niort is actually Nantes... Niort is actually just south west of Poitiers...

    1. I knew that :) Fingers not following commands from Brain...

      As usual

  2. For up to date advice PM Geoff Nunn via Gytha Citroen's Mushbook page....
    G's been astronomizing all his life....even came down here with his big 'scope in the back of the just fitted sideways.
    What was the weather like... Just like today!!
    Could someone please explain why, when there is a major astronomical event, someone up there goes and sprays cloud all over the inside of the dome??

  3. Your headline made me think your electricity providers had gone on strike. :-)
    But the Milky Way dark is much the preferable kind. When I lived in rural New England, I could stand in the middle of the only road in the middle of the night and see the whole, glorious Milky Way.

  4. Look at this article in the Washington Post newspaper. I remember how brilliant the night skies were or seemed when we first came to live here in 2003, after living for many years in big cities with all the light pollution. Those were years with hot weather and clear skies in this part of France -- not exactly like now with all the clouds and rain.