West Seattle, Washington
EDITOR’S NOTE: For everyone who’s wished they had advance alert of an upcoming meteor shower/eclipse/etc. – and/or wondered “What’s that bright ‘star’ up there?” – this is for you; West Seattle’s own Solar System Ambassador Alice Enevoldsen, famous for her solstice/equinox sunset watches among other things, has offered to write periodic “Skies Over West Seattle” previews. Here’s the first!
By Alice Enevoldsen
Special to West Seattle Blog
Even with our cloudy skies and immense light pollution, there is hope for skygazing in West Seattle. As with everything, what you need is to be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. I’m here to offer some suggestions for what to do with those opportunities.
The easy part is to not forget to look up. It is easy for us to bend our heads towards the ground all the time: reading our phones, the news, and watching to make sure we don’t step in puddles. When you get out of the car or off the bus, take a second to turn your face up to the sky. Just before you go to bed, as you’re locking up, glance out the window, or step out for a moment, and see what’s up there.
Beyond that, the winter skies can be truly beautiful. There are many extremely bright stars, and recognizable constellations like Orion are high in the sky and up most of the night. The cold air of winter is also more still than the warm, roiling air of summer. This makes the stars appear more crisp. In astronomical parlance this is called “good seeing.” When it is clear out these situations together make the night sky breathtaking, even from the city.