Originally uploaded by Jenny Lee Silver.

At midnight last night we drove out to a nice little place near the airport with minimal light pollution for within the city. There were five of us, and we came bearing two telescopes, some binoculars, and my camera. Upon our mighty bicycle steeds we rode out into the darkness, lit only by our MEC-equipped headlamps. (This is what happens when you go on an expedition with four people who work at MEC.)

The flashing lights from the airport were disconcerting. Jets passed over our heads as we set up the telescopes in the darkness.

It being the first moonless, clear night since this idea had been hatched, and also the first clear night after a strong rain to cleanse the air, it was an ideal night to find celestial bodies. And celestial bodies we did find.

For the first time ever, I saw the rings of saturn with my own eyes. I also saw four moons of Jupiter lined up in a nice, neat row next to the planet itself. We snacked on nachos and had some hot chocolate out of a thermos and generally marvelled at the wonder of it all.

Next time we hope to find the dark sky preserve that’s somewhere in the vicinity of Abbotsford. We also hope to bring a chart so we can find more interesting things to stare at.

Have bike, will stargaze!

2 Comments so far

  1. Ariadna (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    Wouldn’t the airport be one of the worst places to go for this type of activity?

  2. Jenny Lee (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 8:00 am

    Surprisingly, no – I wondered the same thing before we arrived. We were at the end of the point at Iona Island (or Iona Beach, I’m not entirely sure what it’s called since it was dark and I didn’t read many signs.) We were basically out on a narrow spit of land surrounded by water and next to a treatment plant.

    I think the area surrounding the airport might theoretically be darker to reduce confusion for the planes landing.

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