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Astro Bob

Bugged Out Over The Milky Way

17 Jul 2017, 20:41 UTC
Bugged Out Over The Milky Way
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A time exposure of the southern Milky Way and the planet Saturn (upper right) Saturday night caught a firefly with a double-flash pattern. Credit: Bob King
Boy, it’s a buggy time of year. I don’t like using insecticide, but I caved the other night and practically showered in the stuff to keep the mosquitos at bay. That worked for maybe an hour. Standing under an incredible Milky Way, I tried to picture all the insects between us and the stars — wayward moths, fireflies shaking green lanterns, mosquitos out for blood, spiders riding silk parachutes and many others too small to alert the senses.
Our planet is so intensely alive. July nights make you even more certain that life, so incredibly infectious, is busy eating and procreating on a million alien planets.
The Milky Way around midnight in mid-July crosses the sky from northeast to southwest. The Northern Cross is near the top with Sagittarius at the bottom. The Great Rift splitting the band in two is opaque interstellar dust blocking starlight from behind. The green and pink colors are airglow; the yellow at the bottom is city light pollution, and the thin green streaks, firefly trails. Credit: Bob King

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