The Spyglass Network (SGN)

The Spyglass Network (SGN)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Under One Sky by Jenni Kay

(edited, from SGN Newsletter 23)

Recently you asked how often do I think of northern skies from my location in Australia. I’m not so concerned about Sky and Telescope’s northern orientation, as it always arrives 2 months late anyway!  I like magazines like this for their broader coverage, and I don’t detect any ‘northern bias’. I just read what I’m interested in. I hear about the terrible climates northern observers endure, and the distance some northern folk have to travel to dark skies, compared to our dark skies close by and mild weather. Yet the ones I know are very enthusiastic, vibrant and productive, and are doing wonderful things.  But I love it here. I’m not bragging, but for 9 months of the year the Milky Way is well placed overhead in our skies, including Sagittarius and Scorpius near zenith when they’re up. During those other 3 months we have the Magellanic Clouds crossing the meridian and the Fornax Galaxy cluster overhead.  Its all in the south!   What are my impressions of northern constellations I can see?  What does the Dipper look like? Can I see the circumpolar at all?  Hmmm, I‘ll have to get back to you after I go take a look. I don‘t know. I‘m not sure.  But my friends and I in the northern hemisphere have bridged any gaps between us.  We don‘t talk about northern or southern skies, we talk about THE sky.  When I receive messages from you, you don‘t really seem so far away. We may be separated by great physical distances, but there’s no gap - you are always close by!  (Jenni Kay, an amateur astronomer in southern Australia.  Haven’t heard from her in twenty years but apparently she recently retired as the Southern Skies director of the Webb Deep Sky Society.)

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