Posts Tagged ‘Kitt Peak Observatory’

Night sky over the Grand Canyon

Mother Nature’s Silver Lining

 here are places in this world where, when looking up at the night sky, you can clearly see portions of the Milky Way, the galaxy we live in. It’s a magnificent sight. But those places get fewer and fewer every year because we humans are fond of lighting up the dark, creating a light pollution that dulls our view of the stars.

 Some cities, including Tucson where I live, have ordinances that limit artificial-light pollution. Supposedly, Tucson’s location in the heart of the Sonora Desert, has the darkest sky of any city its size in the country. And because of this, astronomers come from all over the world to visit nearby Kitt Peak National Observatory, home to some of the best sky observation telescopes in the world.

 I’ve visited the observatory, but only during the daylight hours. The best sky watching I’ve ever experienced came when I was rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, especially in places where the canyon was tall and at its narrowest. As I lay in a sleeping bag on a sandy beach, I could actually see the stars move across the thin strip of visible sky.

 It was magical, a moment in nature that connected me with the whole of the universe. Thinking about those Grand Canyon nights still leaves me awed.

 Sky watching here in Tucson doesn’t compare. But I’ve never seen more spectacular sunsets than the ones that I see most nights from my third-floor balcony here in the city. They, too, are magical, a silver-lining for surviving the daily news.  

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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