Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cherry Springs State Park - A Journey of Exploration

I've been meaning to post this blog for some time now.  For the last 3 summers a friend and I have made the journey to upstate PA to Cherry Springs State Park. Now if your unfamiliar with Cherry Springs, it is a designated "dark skies" park. Its basically THE best place on the east coast to gaze upon the cosmos. Its dark to the point of disorientation, but the sites make it all worth it.

We haven't quite mastered the art of taking pictures in total darkness with nothing but a red light filtered flash light. Luckily each time we go the outcome has gotten better.
Our first two successful shots of the Milky Way
The last two trips (2011 and 2012) were the most successful. On both trips we saw the International Space Station float past (looked like a large slow moving star), many meteors (shooting stars), a sky that was literally covered with thousands of stars (discernible colors), other smaller satellites, and of course the Milky Way in all it's mind blowing glory! The trip itself is long and exhausting, but worth every bit of it! I am already looking forward to our annual trip this summer. With "Man of Steel" and "Star Trek" both due out this Spring I didn't really need anything to look forward to, but hey, I'll take it!

Here's a few other shots we've taken along the way (not at the dark skies park).
An incredibly detailed shot of the full Moon (I think I can see Neil's footprints!)
Jupiter and several of its moons.
Finally a nice shot of Saturn at a decent angle to appreciate its rings.

I know my experience at Cherry Springs pales in comparison to that of Neil Armstrong and his incredible accomplishments. That being said I was still thinking of his famous quote as I starred stiff neck and all at the amazing sites before me......
""It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small."

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