- Published: Monday, 05 October 2015 09:00
- Written by Dan
My God, It's Full of Stars
Dispatch by Daniel Puiatti
Photos by Will Allen
Space—I have always been fascinated with space. Is there anything more effective at putting your problems in perspective than gazing up at the infinite universe above? I don't think so.
Last night we were unable to get a decent view of the night sky due to cloud cover, but tonight there wasn't a single cloud in the sky. Not only was the weather forecast calling for clear skies all night, but our contact Guillaume Poulin from Mont Mégantic’s ASTROlab just called to say that we would have a full night to access the Mont Mégantic Popular Observatory's 61-centimetre telescope.
That's right. Access. To a 61-centimetre space telescope. To say this was a childhood dream come true would not touch one half of one billionth of how excited I was.
Night falls on Mont Mégantic’s ASTROlab
As night fell on Mont Mégantic, Team Outpost made our way to the Observatory. Already the inky night sky grew dotted with billions of points of light. Every second the stars seemed to grow more brilliant, and the Milky Way spilled across my eyes and touched me with a powerful sense of awe.
The incredible night sky
We enter the Observatory with our sense of wonder set wild by what we had seen outside and make our way to the control room. Guillaume is hard at work moving an access ladder up to the telescope and configuring it to project its images on a display screen in the centre of the room. He motions for me to take a look.
I break for the telescope, climbing up the ladder in a frenzy and place my eye to the viewfinder. Wow.
There, before me, the moon that I had seen countless times in my life revealed itself in a completely new way. Hundreds of craters marked its surface; asteroid and meteor impacts transformed my perception that the surface of the Moon was relatively unscathed. An enormous mountain range split its surface in two. Guillaume explains to me that this range is the equivalent of the Alps in size, while he shifts the telescope. And then Saturn appeared, god of the golden age with his beautiful rings. Incredible.
The moon through the 61-centimetre space telescope
We spent the night photographing the stars, capturing countless asteroids and satellites racing across the heavens and feeling humbled by the infinite universe above. It is a night I will never forget.
I strongly believe that gazing up at the night sky is tremendously therapeutic, a real stress melter. I woke up the next morning calm and energized, with the image of the night sky forever carved into my memory. And the good news is that Mont Mégantic’s ASTROlab is open to the public, so you too can experience the heavens for yourself. And I recommend you do.