Gazing Upon the Galactic River

Milky Way in Sagittarius – Tom Haeberle

We, the Amateur Astronomers Association, and its participating members, had an enjoyable season for observing at North-South Lake this 2022 season. We are always grateful for the opportunity to observe at the South Lake Parking Lot, with the kind permission of the NYS DEC Park Rangers, as we have for over a decade. This deep-sky observing affords our members a chance to see our galaxy, the Milky Way, as we do our best to coincide our trips around or on the New Moon for the darkest of skies. The galactic river can be seen flowing through a forest of stars overhead and down to the southern horizon in Sagittarius. 

Bart Fried's Telescope - Tom Haeberle
Tommy Haeberle's Telescope - Tom Haeberle

Before our nightly excursions, we sometimes like to meet and share this fabulous time with like-minded folk at Selena & Nick’s Diner in Tannersville, NY, or other eateries before embarking on our journey to the observing site at the parking lot. It is a long trip of nearly three hours and most, generally pack-up after midnight or 1am depending on the weather and the driver [if you are carpooling with a group]. Some stay the night and sleep somewhere locally to enjoy the Catskill Park the following day, which is recommended if the party you are with is willing too. There is lodging and camping available, but it is suggested to plan ahead for most overnight stays on the weekends.

Moon by South Lake - Tom Haeberle
Earthshine - Tom Haeberle

The weather and the clear skies that came with it were for the most part very cooperative this past season. The Catskills can receive a lot of rain, so our planning doesn’t always work out which may result in cancellation of the event. I particularly remember the Sunday on the third of July to be the best night thus far in a long time, that I can recollect.

That evening at dusk, I tried to capture pure Earthshine on the Moon, but it was difficult with the bright side of the moon bleeding into the picture. Still, I got that Old Moon in the New Moons Arms! I like the Moon over the Lake and in subsequent pictures, I thought the Milky Way over Sagittarius was a nice capture. There are more expert photographers that attend these sessions that have been published in well-known periodicals, such as Sky & Telescope. For me, at least, I have my photographs for the record as one for the ages. For me, at least, I have my photographs for the record as one for the ages. I also have Tommy, my 18 year old son with me as my Astrophotographer teammate.

The 2023 Stellafane Convention of amateur telescope makers will be held August 17-20. 2023 in Springfield, Vermont. Stellafane translates as “shrine to the stars”. The Springfield Telescope Makers Club built its observatory in 1923. The convention is the longest running astronomical convention in the United States!

Stellafane, 2022 – Tom Haeberle

Start planning your Stellafane trip now, so that you may coordinate with others and travel as a group, or on your own. This, and all dark sky events, can be discussed at length at our special Dark Sky Observing Google Group that members can use to communicate for any up and coming observing sessions and to share photos after each event. If you are an AAA member, but do not yet have access to this group, please contact [email protected] and we will grant you access. If you have general questions, please contact one of our site coordinators at [email protected] and we’re happy to assist you. Observers are expected to bring their own equipment and be mindful of other observers attending to their own agenda at these sessions, as this is not a public event. 

The Andromeda Galaxy – Tom Haeberle

For further information details, please visit our webpage: which lists the event dates this season.