My heavens: Capturing the stars from Deerlick Astronomy Village

Milky Way Galaxy over Sharon, GA. June 21, 2020.

I am starstruck! The pictures I have posted here were taken with my own camera.

And before you say, “Get out of town!”… the truth is, I really did have to get out of town to capture them!

As much as I would’ve liked simply stepping out on my back porch and snapping away, it is nearly impossible to take clear shots of the night sky in the metro Atlanta area.

The reason is light pollution. You have to find what is called a dark sky location.

“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie

Because the camera iris has to remain open for so long in order to capture every faint bit of light, it becomes sensitive to any light. That means bright city lights ruin pictures.

So, after watching my frustration while trying to capture these shots from home, my science-loving son, Erik, gave me the most awesome Father’s Day gift —a membership to the Deerlick Astronomy Village in Sharon, Georgia.

"People actually live there!" Deerlick Astronomy Village

I have always had a fascination with the stars and planets. As a kid I would fall asleep while looking through my bedroom window at the heavens. It seemed the longer I fixed my gaze on one spot in the sky, the more stars and planets popped out!

This is what it was like that night at DAV -but on a grander scale. The stars were everywhere!

It is little wonder how the very sight of them inspires song writing and yes, romance.

We arrived early and set up camp, cameras and tripods.

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do you see what I see?!

And as the sun set, the most spectacular light show began to appear before our eyes.  The darker it became the more dense the star formations appeared. Meteors were like fireflies!

“The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.” ― Carl Sagan

The most amazing site of all was my discovery of the Milky Way Galaxy with my own eyes.

Our galaxy is so named because of its collection of stars, gases, planets and dust give it a hazy-milky appearance. And there it was - right in front of me in the south, southwestern sky.

Looking up at the Milky Way, it was humbling to remind myself that our own planet and solar system are but a speck in the spiraling arms of this galaxy. And that the our galaxy is in turn a speck in the universe.

Still working on identifying planets and constellations…. But that’s my excuse to get out of town again soon!

It was the best night ever. Necessary and therapeutic.

"It was the best night ever! Necessary and therapeutic."

A magical light show, and uninterrupted conversation with my son. Just a glorious night.

“Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at the stars because we are human?” ― Neil Gaiman , Stardust