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and "Jupiter" -- not for
"Horsehead Nebula -- B33" -- not
"Lunar Eclipse 2000 -- #27"
"Darkness in the Caribbean -- Baily's
"Solar Composite" -- not
"Moon Over Yellowstone Lake"
"The Color of Night / Hale-Bopp 9"
"Hyakutake IV / Blaze"
"Chena Aurora 7"
"Orion / Leonid Bolide Detail"
Below are direct links to the Astrophotography narratives:
-- " A Family Reunion"
-- "Rambling Through the Night Sky"
more astrophotography at
"Rambling Through the Night
Happens every morning. Still dark -- very dark -- after all, I'm miles
from nowhere, lying around in the dust and sand, on the plateau above
Barrier Canyon. I'm cold and awake, and ready for my early morning
trip to the facilities. Luckily, they're only two or three steps from
my sleeping bag -- maybe a new plantling will be the benefactor of
my modest offering.
I peek from the warm confines of my bag, I spot the oddest thing.
Wiping dew from my glasses, I rub my tired eyes, blink and still see
the same phenomena. It's a bright, beautiful, almost phosphorescent
band of light -- parallel to the horizon and at 90 degrees to the
Milky Way; which is at full splendor. The strange band is as bright
as the Milky Way, even on this very transparent morning. From the
constellations' locations, I decide it must be about 3 A.M. (I don't
have a watch.) I'm proud to be able to estimate the local time from
the constellations' locations; in fact, I quite like sleeping under
the stars. I should do it more often, but local custom suggests that
sleeping outside of a modern dwelling is behavior unacceptable for
a grown man. Nevertheless, I have slept out hundreds of times. I still
vividly remember the darkest skies. Craters of the Moon and Paradise
Ranger Station in Idaho, Guadeloupe National Park in New Mexico and
right here in Canyonlands; all of these spots have exhibited memorable
all that long ago, a majority of the Earth's human population
slept under the stars for at least part of the year. Most of
the inhabitants' spiritual acts had some connection with the
sky, and humans were dutifully in awe of the heavens . . . Astronomy
and Cosmology were the first sciences, and continue to challenge
the human psyche to this day. Within their disciplines we may
find a reason for our existence.
Not all that long ago, a majority of the Earth's human population
slept under the stars for at least part of the year. Most of the inhabitants'
spiritual acts had some connection with the sky, and humans were dutifully
in awe of the heavens . . . Astronomy and Cosmology were the first
sciences and continue to challenge the human psyche to this day. Within
their disciplines we may find a reason for our existence.
on the image link above to move to Willis Greiner's and Cheryl
Price's web site of hand painted black and white photography
as we move along with the new technology, we have lost much of our
dark sky to artificial light and air pollution. I wonder what else
we may have involuntarily surrendered. The sighting of a comet or
meteor, the experience of an eclipse, even a simple view of the
Milky Way; all of these things are now "events," not normal, natural
everyday occurrences. Quite a large percentage of the people alive
today have not even really seen a dark night sky. Huge urban populations
will go through their entire lives never even glimpsing the nighttime
rendering of our own home galaxy.
"So what," one might ask. Maybe, just maybe, such a loss can be
quantified, can be measured in our collective confused, depressive,
psycho-mumbo egomaniacal behavior that characterizes so many modern
events. Maybe some of the source of what it is to be human has been
forgotten in all of the technology, man-made light and air pollution.
As I peek out from my bag, it occurs to me finally that this pearlescent
ray is simply the Zodiacal Light, a phenomena described in any freshman
Astronomy text. I had never seen it until today.
Copyright Willis Greiner, 1992. All rights reserved.