Some of my favorite nights have been spent in the middle of nowhere, head tilted up with eyes glued to the night sky. As a kid, my most memorable field trips were to the planetarium, but growing up in various cities with lots of light pollution, I’d rarely see more than a handful of stars outdoors. Nevertheless, I often dreamt of swallowing the Milky Way with my hungry eyes.
My favorite memory of stargazing was when I was visiting family in Australia in 2018. We were driving from Sydney to Melbourne at night, with much of the road in a quiet darkness. I remember rolling the window down and sticking my head out. It was August, so the chill in the air stung my skin, but I couldn’t help but remain fixated. I’d never seen the Milky Way like that, with the Southern Cross boldly waving hello, beckoning for us to follow. Speeding down the highway, we chased the horizon of that sparkly path, hoping to meet it.
There’s no way I could, in total, capture what I’d experienced, other than the sheer awe in the vastness around me and the tininess of my humanity. I was perusing r/Astronomy when this photo captured me:
This photo was shot in Wyoming, so a bit far from the road of my memory and dreams but definitely a continuation of it. I hope it transports you to another time and place like it has for me.