Wednesday, November 30, 2011

City of Lights!

It's time once again to not look at the calendar, and head up to "Ketelsen East" in the outskirts of Chicago to visit friends and family!  Yes, we know it can be cold and miserable, with a real chance of getting snowed in this time of year, but we get back almost every 2 months for the better part of a week, regardless of time-of-year.  Besides the afore-mentioned F&F, we're also working on the house up here, and there is work to be done!  And what better time for working on painting and indoor projects than December!?

It was an uneventful flight out (uneventful is good!), and I figured our seats (row 22 - right over the wings) wouldn't lead to any pictures of interest, so the camera bag was safely stowed under the seat in front of me.  But as fate would have it, as we descended into Chicago, an interesting shot or two exposed themselves (excuse the pun!).  So I grabbed the camera (a difficult task with the lack of legroom these days and my knees wedged against the seat back in front of me) and risked the ire of the cabin crew by turning on my electronic device during approach to grab a few frames.  Of course, the first one I caught, while banking over one of the brighter parts of the city, the exposure was set way too long (1.3 seconds), yet yielded a way-interesting shot, even better than the subsequent one (0.1 second) that is much more boring...

Now many of you likely say "what pretty lights!"  But the amateur astronomers among you are likely aghast at the light pollution!  Since we are flying over the lights, if they were even moderately shielded to reduce glare, we should only see the diffuse light on the ground, not the lights directly.  I'll endeavor to take some of Tucson that show that effect sometime.  Here in Chicago, I think they are proud of all the "pretty lights" that add to the skyline. Of course, if you try to do astronomy here, the sky glow from the urban area can be seen hundreds of miles away.  But that is one of the reasons we spend most of our time in Tucson, for that inky sky relatively easily obtained with a short drive.

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