We are located in a corner of the heavens of a galaxy we call “The Milky Way.” The Milky Way stretches all the way across the sky and some part of the Milky Way is present every night, indeed every star you see in the sky is within our Milky Way. I’ll try not to be too poetic, but when you have clearly seen the Milky Way, it is hard to describe how awesome it is without breaking into song. Unfortunately there is little chance that you will see the Milky way because most places we live are mildly to horribly light polluted, so location and phase of the moon is also important. The best viewing time in the Northern Hemisphere is in the summer when the sun is on the opposite side of the sky and there is a "New Moon" phase. Unfortunately summer in the Northern Hemisphere is also when hot, stormy, cloudy weather is doing its worst and also when the nights are the shortest.
As we learned this weekend with Hurricane Doloris wreaking havoc. My friend Chris and I had plans to go to Joshua Tree ( a great location for star gazing anytime of year) on Saturday night. But due to a rare summer storm headed to So Cal, we had to change our plans to Friday night. As we entered the park there were already clouds rolling in and we thought our chance would be ruined. But on a tip from one of the Rangers, his wife had mentioned to him that it was still clear on the opposite end of the park, near Jumbo Rock Campground. While clouds started to arrive there as well, we set up camp anyway, enjoyed some beers, bonfire and within a few hours the sky began to clear. We became increasingly optimistic. With a new moon phase and now clear skies, we gathered our gear around midnight and with headlamps headed away from the camp grounds and into the Jumbo Rock formations. We spent the next two hours capturing the magic that is our universe.
Sometimes its good to feel small.