Chapter 05.4

From: Brandon Devlin
Subject: Starlight report
Date: Sagittarius 38, 0031 08:17
To: Tyler R. Cody

(CLT): 25.46 sec

Ty, my friend, you know they don’t let angels fly in restricted space, but I’ll keep an eye open for Claire, just in case.

Speaking of eyes, I wish yours could be here to see what I have seen and am seeing; it’s amazing. We’ve both been to the ISS and experienced the view from the portholes. But, that doesn’t hold a candle to the sight from this stateroom. As you are aware, the two staterooms we are using were chosen especially for the view they would get during the flight.

The problem with stargazing on Earth is the atmosphere. Only the brightest stars and galaxies are able to peek through. LEO is only slightly better, due to the light pollution from Earth. The best viewing possible in LEO is the short time span when you can get to the far side of the Earth from the sun, and then only when the moon is on the same side as the sun. But, that still doesn’t beat this spectacular view.

So, to answer your question, ‘yes’, the stars truly are brighter out here beyond LEO. Not just brighter, the colors are super-vivid. Reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples, all of them twinkling, shimmering, like they’re on fire (which they are, come to think of it)! I can see the entire Milky Way at this very moment (well, at least the parts of it we are NOT in) and the sheer quantity of stars and other visible galaxies is staggering. Being on the forward side of the ship, the ones passing this window are moving in a slow pinwheel counter-clockwise rotation. Fantastic! What a show!

Because of our rotation, the view from the side windows keeps moving past us, slowly scrolling upward on one side, downward on the other. It’s a strange sight. Unfortunately, the side views are marred by the solar panels, which extend outward nearly 26m each way. On the backside of the Hab is the Sun, so we are keeping that window shuttered until we land. The spiraling dance of stars outside this stateroom window is so mesmerizing I have to force myself to draw the shade in order to get any sleep.

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