Friday, May 4, 2012

Night Three: Triumph and failure...

Thanksgiving is always a time of mixed thoughts for me anyway, and I should assume the same no matter where I am or how removed I may be from 'real life.' On normal years it's a time when family and friends converge. My brothers, nieces, parents, cousins, etc, as well as often those who are part of my family that I am not related to. It's also a reminder of a friend lost, who died trying to rescue a stranger from a car accident. These things happen, and it's not to us to judge them.

We gathered in our makeshift camp with our makeshift family for Freeze-Dried Thanksgiving Dinner. It was...not good. But the company was great. As the sky found its stars* I packed the astro-gear up and took another climb to the peak. This time it was clear: still below freezing, but bone dry.

So I'm sitting up there looking at the stars, trying to get my bearings. Great at knowing which way is north, and normally instantly identify all the reference stars...but I'm used to being at sea level. Even on the clearest of clear nights it's nothing like this. After trying to trace from constellation to decide which one was the north star and actually failing (well there goes my astro-cred!) I went for the simplest idea I could think of: take a long exposure sans-tracking:

Well there she is. And with that we were up and running!

Milky Way, the off season part. But wow that's a lot of stars.
And of course, part of the reason I was up there in the first place:
Orion Nebula as seen from 4500ft
Once I had decided i was frozen enough I packed it up and stumbled back down to camp.

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