Milky Way seen from our deck

The weather has been so hot and humid since we moved to our Newfield home that we haven’t really experienced a clear dark night sky until just recently. There is much less light pollution here than in our previous locations in Vestal and Owego.

The image above was shot from our deck, looking south toward the constellation of Sagittarius. The bright Milky Way is interesting in that region because that’s where the center of our Galaxy resides. If we wanted to call a friend in that neighborhood, it would take 27,000 years before his phone would ring because that’s how long it would take a signal to reach that distance. We would have to wait another 27,000 years for his reply, “Hello?” The conversation would go slowly and I don’t think I would have the patience. Perhaps a postcard would be better. If the US Postal Service has a ZIP code for each of the stars in our Galaxy (and why not, it’s currently believed that there are at least as many planets as stars), we would need a ZIP+12 to cover the 400 billion stars just in our Galaxy, not even counting the other 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe. By the way, a phone call to the farthest observed galaxy would take 13.4 billion years before the phone would ring. That’s definitely beyond the limits of my patience. Besides, I’m doubtful Verizon covers that far.

Although not easily visible in this compressed Web version of the photo, the trees have little points of light all over them too. They’re fireflies, thousands of which put on an impressive show each evening.

We’re finding the perspective we get enjoying these evenings on our deck are effective antidotes to the daily dose of lunacy around us.