Have you ever seen the Milky Way?

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  • Tonka 12 Sep 2013 07:22:44 20,809 posts
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    Growing up on the edge of a small town in Sweden I used to see it whenever it was dark as a kid. Nowadays I only see it on those spectacular long exposure photos some people take.

    But then the power went out on Santorini (all of it except for a town miles and miles away) and we were treated to a spectacular night sky.



    Made me think about stuff

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  • boo 12 Sep 2013 07:39:50 11,840 posts
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    Years ago, when a bunch of us had a holiday in Spain, and the place we were staying was miles out of town.
    We had a particularly clear night and I suddenly realised just how much is up there! It was like someone had taken an aerosol can of white paint that was sputtering because it was almost empty, and painted an unimaginably huge stripe across the sky.

    It does indeed make you think about 'stuff'.

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  • LeoliansBro 12 Sep 2013 07:54:33 44,508 posts
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    You'd have to have lived a really sheltered life not to. It's like a third of the night sky.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Tonka 12 Sep 2013 07:58:11 20,809 posts
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    Sheltered life? Growing up in London or Manhattan? Or Beijing or Mumbai or any other city with enough light pollution to drown it out.

    There's a statistic that I quote, which is that eight of every ten kids born in the United States today will never experience a sky dark enough to see the Milky Way.

    -Guy inventing scale that measures light pollution

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  • Grax 12 Sep 2013 08:04:05 2,296 posts
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    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4drNFXd6dw

    On a serious note, I wouldn't know if i had seen it. Is it just a bunch of stars??
  • Tonka 12 Sep 2013 08:14:46 20,809 posts
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    @Grax You would know if you had seen it. It's quite spectacular. Not as spectacular as Photoshoped long exposure photos of it, but when it hits home that you're watching our galaxy it is rather knee trembling.

    It's like a long cloud stretched across the sky.

    It's always there, but with light pollution you can't see it.

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  • LeoliansBro 12 Sep 2013 08:26:15 44,508 posts
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    Growing up there and never leaving, or finding yoirself in a position where a) it's dark and b) you look up.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Tonka 12 Sep 2013 08:31:51 20,809 posts
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    I take it you have seen it then?
    I did find the "80% of american children will never see it" figure to be very high

    Edited by Tonka at 08:32:35 12-09-2013

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  • Grax 12 Sep 2013 08:31:54 2,296 posts
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    Yeah can't say I recall ever seeing it :( bloody London
  • elstoof 12 Sep 2013 08:36:47 7,755 posts
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    There's plenty of hick towns in the US which I'm sure you'd be able to see the Milky Way from. 80% sounds like bunk.
  • LeoliansBro 12 Sep 2013 08:47:31 44,508 posts
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    Yes I've seen it. You can find a night sky dark enough 30 minutes out of London.

    Not that I don't appreciate that light pollution is drowning out the night sky, but I'd be more surprised if someone on here hasn't seen the milky way. I'd put it in the same category as 'Have you seen a fox?' or 'Have you tried sushi?'.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • kalel 12 Sep 2013 08:54:05 88,451 posts
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    I prefer black holes.
  • ZuluHero 12 Sep 2013 08:55:29 4,202 posts
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    I've seen it loads - but then I grew up in rural wales.

    I hate these kind of statistics though - its in the same vein as 8 out of 10 inner city children don't know which animals their meat comes from and think eggs come from cows. Ignorance plays a big part, so does apathy but like LeoBro says, it wouldn't take a lot of effort to go and see it.

    Don't feel sad for those that don't really care Tonka, and those that do will see it eventually :)
  • Grax 12 Sep 2013 09:00:45 2,296 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    Yes I've seen it. You can find a night sky dark enough 30 minutes out of London.

    Not that I don't appreciate that light pollution is drowning out the night sky, but I'd be more surprised if someone on here hasn't seen the milky way. I'd put it in the same category as 'Have you seen a fox?' or 'Have you tried sushi?'.
    i have seen a fox, actually stroked one stupidly (i was pissed as a nut) thankfully it didn't bite me, just run away. Got home and beached the shit out of my hand as i realised i had no idea what i may have caught. However, i have never seen a wild hedgehog or a badger

    also never tried sushi, the idea of raw fish doesn't appeal to me

    Edited by Grax at 09:03:41 12-09-2013
  • siro 12 Sep 2013 09:01:22 1,828 posts
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    On Iceland, driving out of Reykjavik for an hour or two, right into the middle of nowhere. Seriously pitch black - you couldn't see your own fingers in front of your face.
    Winter sky, completely dry, no clouds anywhere... it was hard to spot any black patches in the sky, no kidding.
    We came for auroras, which we did see, but ended up sitting down and gazing at the stars. Simply breath taking.
  • Grax 12 Sep 2013 09:02:32 2,296 posts
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    @ZuluHero to be fair, with all the horse meat shit that went around, i'm sure not many people know where their meat comes from.

    i probably have seen it, i probably went wow look at the sky. Did i know i was looking at it probably not :(
  • Tonka 12 Sep 2013 09:06:42 20,809 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    'Have you tried sushi?'.
    Funilly enough I was at a meeting where they bought sushi and our intern that was with me had never tried it. He was 21 at the time.

    On the topic of the Milky Way I'm surprised at how rarely I can see it. Definitely not from my own garden in a small swedish town.

    My wife had never seen it before the Santorini incident, but then she is a big city girl and not some farm town trash like I.

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  • jellyBelly 12 Sep 2013 09:09:16 428 posts
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    @Grax It's stars and interstellar gas(which is what stars are made from). You're looking at the cut section of the spiral arm of the galaxy which the sun is sitting on.

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  • Armoured_Bear 12 Sep 2013 09:09:30 11,355 posts
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    Tonka wrote:
    LeoliansBro wrote:
    'Have you tried sushi?'.
    Funilly enough I was at a meeting where they bought sushi and our intern that was with me had never tried it. He was 21 at the time.

    On the topic of the Milky Way I'm surprised at how rarely I can see it. Definitely not from my own garden in a small swedish town.

    My wife had never seen it before the Santorini incident, but then she is a big city girl and not some farm town trash like I.
    I didn't try Sushi till I was 24, it wasn't quite as omnipresent as it is now though.
    Funny to see nephews being huge fans of it at 7 years old though :-)

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  • kalel 12 Sep 2013 09:11:21 88,451 posts
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    Is it really that fundamental?

    I'm pretty sure I've seen it, I must have done really as I've been in all sort of deserts and arctic type places. However, I can't say for sure. Which sort of makes my point.
  • Tonka 12 Sep 2013 09:22:18 20,809 posts
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    Might be I should take up astronomy. To me it's mind blowing.

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  • jellyBelly 12 Sep 2013 09:27:50 428 posts
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    Galaxies are interesting beasts. I remember for my final year project on my physics degree (10 years ago now) I got hold of some galaxy data from a telescope and run it through a neural network to classify them as spirals, elipticals, etc. I am not involved in astronomy anymore but I have often thought of getting back into it as a hobby

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  • ZuluHero 12 Sep 2013 09:37:31 4,202 posts
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    @Tonka To blow it further - We all live in a mouse brain:

  • elstoof 12 Sep 2013 09:41:03 7,755 posts
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    I work with a guy who's never tried pasta.
  • Shikasama 12 Sep 2013 09:42:23 6,988 posts
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    Hang on, since when were eating Sushi and driving around looking for a bit of sky where you can see a few more stars the hallmarks of being a good human being?
  • Armoured_Bear 12 Sep 2013 09:44:24 11,355 posts
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    Shikasama wrote:
    Hang on, since when were eating Sushi and driving around looking for a bit of sky where you can see a few more stars the hallmarks of being a good human being?
    Since 2005.

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  • glo 12 Sep 2013 09:46:50 3,428 posts
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    I had never seen the milky way fully until last week when I was on holiday in a remote part of the Scottish highlands. As other posters have said it is an amazing sight even if you have seen photos of it before.

    The comparison to the terrible view of the sky we get here in the centre of Nottingham is quite shocking.
  • RyanDS 12 Sep 2013 09:47:47 9,587 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    Yes I've seen it. You can find a night sky dark enough 30 minutes out of London.

    Where?

    I am a proper astro geek and take my telescope out of London on a regular basis. None of the astro clubs within an hour of London (which are obviously situated in the darkest areas) have ever had the milky way visible when I have visited.

    In the UK I would assume one of the dark sky parks (of which scotland and Isle of wight? hold the only two) will have the milky way visible regularly these days.
  • RyanDS 12 Sep 2013 09:50:15 9,587 posts
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    Tonka wrote:
    Might be I should take up astronomy. To me it's mind blowing.
    My first telescope which I still use:

    celestron astromaster 130eq

    For 130 from the lightest skies in London you can see the rings of Saturn, the bands of Jupiter and all it's moons and even the polar caps on mars. Move out of London and you will be able to see some wonderful deep sky objects.

    Be warned though, the upgrade path is incredibly expensive when you get the bug.
  • Tonka 12 Sep 2013 09:53:19 20,809 posts
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    Another astronomy thing I love is Venus and Mercury on the night sky


    I get this freaky sense of perspective. Looking in on our solar system. Actually being able to observe planets in their orbits.

    O_O

    Edited by Tonka at 09:53:36 12-09-2013

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