When were you in awe of the night sky?
Questions asked and answered for my daughters
Things that are truly awe-inspiring are things that are our human minds cannot comprehend… the concepts are nearly unbelievable.
Being in awe of the night sky when looking up at a clear night from home is one thing, but looking up at a clear night sky while inside a certified Dark Sky Park is mind-blowing. What we experienced on July 17, 2020 with a perfectly clear night in Montville, Ohio near the Great Lake Erie was truly a once in a lifetime (many lifetimes in-fact) experience.
I have fun planning our camping locations and scouting new places we can explore around an area, and when possible, I try to check off items from my Bucket List… mission accomplished with this trip!
The campground we stayed at was a centralized location and not too far from one of the only certified “International Dark Sky Parks” east of the Mississippi River. A Dark Sky Park is a park that provides a night sky view that is protected from artificial light; in other words, zero light pollution.
With no light pollution, you can see the Milky Way Galaxy!
From Observatory Park in Montville, Ohio with support of the Geauga Park District, seeing the stars connected by a streams of white and haze was amazing. Thousands of stars exist that we don’t normally see, with our lights blinding us from all directions. I saw them. We saw them together.
Bucket List item… check.
What I was also really fascinated by was the “hole” that was created in the sky. The lights from the nearby cities, like Cleveland, slowly rose up all around us. The light faded to nothing creating a visual related to a circus tent… to the point that when you looked straight up, it was a pure circle of black with nothing but stars and the “fuzz” that connected them.
But the experience got even better!
Not only was the weather absolutely perfect, and we got to see the Milky Way Galaxy, the International Space Station made an appearance!
Right on its schedule and just to the north of our viewing area in a clear space, the space station appeared and stayed visible for 5.5 minutes. It was one of those “I can’t look away” moments. The station flew in a straight line and looked like a star… a white spot flying straight through our vantage point.
The station flies around the Earth every 90 minutes or so, but the odds of it flying over us, being out late to see it in the sky, and laying out in a Dark Sky Park… crazy.
God was with us on this visit
The Dark Sky Park visit was planned more than 4 months in advance, seeing the Milky Way Galaxy, watching the International Space Station come into view for an extended period of time, AND then… the Neowise Comet with its long tail was clearly visible to the naked eye!
This is a comet is a classic… it’s what you think of when you say “comet.” At the time we saw it, it was later in its visible view from Earth, so it had a tail that extended incredibly far. We were only 6 days from the closest it would come to our planet (64 million miles), and it is only seen from Earth once every 6,766 years!
No human will ever see what we saw that night again.
This night, in this location, seeing all this together is THE definition of being in “awe” of the night sky.