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Norman Sperling
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Just Strolling

© Norman Sperling, Winter Star Party, February 25, 2014

Last night I just strolled among the stars.

I used my Astroscan in laptop mode: long before computers were “laptops”, Astroscan was designed purposely to include that capability. Just sit down, cuddle the sphere in your lap, and scan wherever.

The latitude was unfamiliar so the angles weren’t the “same old” ones. A different eyepiece displayed a different scale factor. I didn’t look up any familiar deep-sky objects or star patterns. I just scanned and wandered. I was usually so unsure of where the scope pointed that whatever showed up was a pure surprise. That gave a wonderful element of discovery and fresh beauty.

The Milky Way is spectacular, but in this really dark sky, even the Hydra Void shows plenty of stars and clusters and nebulae. Many familiar favorites popped out, but I didn’t bother with catalog numbers. The joy was in the freshness, coming at objects from different sides, seeing them in unfamiliar angles and sizes.

Don’t always take the same route. Whether you scan a database, a petri dish, a landscape, or a starscape, take a fresh field of view, a different angle, a different filter for what to notice.

The Journal of Irreproducible Results
This Book Warps Space and Time
What Your Astronomy Textbook Won't Tell You

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