Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:
Click on the picture to go to the site. This little version does not do the picture justice. I think it is one of the best astronomy landscapes that has appeared on APOD in all its years.
The APOD description:
This sky is protected. Yesterday marked the 50 year anniversary of the first lighting ordinance ever enacted, which restricted searchlight advertisements from sweeping the night skies above Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. Flagstaff now enjoys the status of being the first International Dark Sky City, and maintains a lighting code that limits lights from polluting this majestic nighttime view. The current dark skies over Flagstaff not only enable local astronomers to decode the universe but allow local sky enthusiasts to see and enjoy a tapestry contemplated previously by every human generation. The above image, pointing just east of north, was taken two weeks ago at 3 am from Fort Valley, only 10 kilometers from central Flagstaff. Visible in the above spectacular panorama are the San Francisco Peaks caped by a lenticular cloud. Far in the distance, the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy arcs diagonally from the lower left to the upper right, highlighted by the constellations of Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and Cygnus. On the far right, the North America Nebula is visible just under the very bright star Deneb.
Here in Bucharest, Romania, I enjoy a relatively dark sky for an urban area. The light pollution here is much less than it is in a comparably-sized city in the U.S., such as St. Louis. I can go outside in my neighborhood and actually pick out constellations. But the night sky on moonless nights in remote parts of the western U.S. is absolutely astounding, and the people of Flagstaff have done well to preserve this darkness.
David experienced this on a regular basis, and wrote about it in Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV)
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Grace and Peace
Photo credit: Dan & Cindy Duriscoe