Pointing The Way

If this looks like another recent photograph, it is close but different.

From our time in the desert of White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. We spent an overnight, having backpacked a couple miles into the desert to camp amid the dunes and under the stars. I took over 700 photographs between sunset and after sunrise the next morning. If a few frames look a like, they should. We didn’t stray too far from our tent.

The massive dune of white gypsum sand is at the bottom of this frame. Clouds are lit up by the orange glow of Las Cruces, New Mexico in the far lower left of the image.

Rising from the center of the dune is the Great Rift, or center bulge of the spiral galaxy that we are part of, known as The Milky Way. It dominated the skies, competing for attention with the clouds that kept obscuring parts of the night stars.

This image is the reason I went to the trouble of hiking into the desert to camp overnight. The night sky is pretty dark in this part of the country. There are darker places in this country, where the dark sky is not dimmed by the reflected city lights. One day, I hope to get to more of these “Dark Sky” places.

There are countless stars in this one galaxy that we’re part of. Our sun is but one of those stars. There are countless galaxies in the known universe, each one full of more countless stars.

The wonder of it all, the immensity of the universe comes to mind when I look up and see the stars.

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  1. Stunning photograph, accompanied by your thoughtful and informative reflection. You’ve given each of us beauty rarely seen and so essential to understanding life. I wish every one of our leaders had this scene on her/his desk.

  2. Thank you Nick.