Sep 27, 2010

The Last Hurrah of 2010

The last weekend of the season at Pine Mountain Observatory gifted us warm and clear. So warm, we didn't even put on our coats until after 11:00 p.m. on Friday night. At 6200 feet, that's a feat. The only thing marring the perfection of two cloudless, warm nights was the bright as heck moon turning our sky into city sky.

I hiked up to the summit both nights, knowing I would not see the place I hold sacred again until May. I soaked in the peace and renewal the mountain always offers. The moon and Jupiter rose together Friday night. Saturday the moon rose later, allowing us a brief glimpse at dimmer objects before they were washed away in the glare of moonlight. A very special gift. Clicking on any of the photos will enlarge them.

The lights of Bend coming on in the distance

The Moon & Jupiter rising over the summit.
The bright dot a little right of center is Venus.
A bonus, the thrill of discovering Uranus for the first time in my telescope. Uranus is very close to Jupiter right now.

The little blue dot is Uranus

We sat under the stars and blare of the moon, soaking up the esprit of nature under our feet and over our heads; enjoying the warmth and the peace and glory of what was around us.

The moon and some stars

The crowds cleared out early both nights. I went up to the 24 both nights and we roamed it over the skies looking at galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, planets and comets.

Jupiter. From left to right: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

It was a great season with fun crowds and many clear nights. I filled my eyes with stars to serenade my dreams until May 2011. I hope to get out a few times on my own before then, but it's never the same. The thrill of discovery looking through my telescope is magical, but the true heart of the magic is Pine Mountain. I will dream of it often.

A view I never tire of.

Although I look forward to getting some semblance of a normal sleep pattern back, I am sad it's over. I can't believe it's over. I hold the memories dear. Till we meet again, Pine Mountain, till we meet again.