Asterisms in the Dark Maine Skies

Image Credit & Copyright: Aaron Priest.

Alright hikers of the northeast, where’s this image?  This sight is pure heaven to Appalachian Trail hikers (unless you started here I suppose).  That’s right; it’s the view you see of Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine from Sunday pond, just south of the mountain itself.

In this fantastic image from Aaron Priest of Maine, we see the legendary asterism of the Big Dipper is highlighted for you to make out more clearly.  And although it may seem like an alteration to improve image aesthetics, which in a way it is, it’s truly difficult to emphasize just how bright the stars are in a true dark sky location.  The constellations and familiar individual stars that you look up and observe from your day to day light polluted locations disappear not in the lights of your city, but instead they disappear in the lights of the star city known as the Milky Way galaxy.  It’s something you just have to make time for and witness for yourself.  So when you see the next new moon week approaching and the weather is supposed to be clear, make an effort to gather some friends and make a road trip a few hours away from any major cities and be blown away.  Oh, and don’t forget your camera and binoculars!

Finally, just some simple housekeeping as it’s a common question.  Above I mentioned that the Big Dipper is an asterism and that’s correct.  An asterism is a familiar and or highly recognizable pattern of stars in the sky but aren’t one of the recognized 88 constellations.  The Big Dipper, as most of you know I’m sure is just a part of Ursa Major (The Big Bear or Great Bear).  Another favorite summer asterism is rising right now; The Summer Triangle and Northern Cross but let’s not get ahead of ourselves as I may be planning a writeup on that soon.

I really hope you enjoy this image and go check out more of Aaron’s images as this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Aaron Priest: http://galleries.aaronpriestphoto.com/

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