The Stars at Night

On a clear night in Spirit River, the sky is a theatre of stars.  These warm, autumn nights are some of the best for stargazing.

So, especially if you haven’t done it for a long time, find yourself a patch of long prairie grass, nestle on your back inside it, and marvel.  The universe above, ringed by blades of grass, will make you feel very, very small, but the wind will whisper night secrets through the grass and right into your ears.

You don’t have to know anything about astronomy to wonder at the immensity of a starry sky.  At about 10 p.m. these nights, the milky way arcs across the sky like a silvery rainbow, and on its northern end hangs the orange moon, the pot of gold.  You might see a faint glimmer of northern lights hovering over Fairview, preparing for their ethereal dance.  The Big Dipper is bold and supervisory in the northwest, and Cassiopeia is embroidered across the path of the Milky way.

You will see a couple of satellites cruise by, and probably a “shooting star,” a meteor streaking into Earth’s mesosphere, 85 kms away (don’t forget to make your wish!)

The bright beacon in the east is Jupiter, best viewed in October when its four moons are visible with ordinary binoculars.

The vastness and beauty before you, and the near silence of the prairie night, might hold you fascinated in that patch of grass for longer than you could imagine.

Have you got any astronomy tips?  Tell us at townspirit@hotmail.com!

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