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Dark Sky in Uganda

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#1 rolandlinda3



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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:05 PM

I was attending the local church prayer meeting with a number of our Ugandan friends in Nyamabuga Village in Western Uganda. They hold it outdoors by a campfire. The sky was beautiful even though clouds were near the Eastern horizon and there was a light layer of clouds/haze overhead. The truly amazing thing was the Milky Way, under these very good no-ground-light pollution conditions, was actually causing sky glow. The prayer meeting lasted 4 hours, so I had plenty of opportunity to glance skyward and mentally remember what I had seen. Early the next morning I recorded the scene as best as I could, including the measurements that I had done with my hands.

I have NEVER seen the sky lighted by the Milky Way like this -- even at the Wester border of Virginia in the Appalachians where the sky maps show "black" for no light pollution. You can see my notes, which speak for themselves.

The view of the sketch is looking southeast. The top of the sketch is about zenith. The nearest true city is Kampala, which is 4 hour drive away. The other towns that are closer are small and not lighted at night (except in rare cases).


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#2 frank5817



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Posted 23 February 2009 - 12:01 AM


Very impressive sketch. It is not often we get to be at a place of such great dark sky which is even dramatic under less than ideal conditions.

Frank :)

#3 CarlosEH


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Posted 23 February 2009 - 04:09 AM


A beautiful sight to behold! Thank you for sharing it with us all.


#4 rodelaet



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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:10 PM


You are very lucky to have experienced such a night!

Thank you for sharing.

#5 varmint


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 03:56 AM

Wonderful observation, it reminds me of my experience a couple of years ago when I woke up at 3am in Montana (Glacier National Park) and sat by Lake McDonald just staring at the sky. I had binoculars at the time, but no scope and no sky atlas, so I just drank in the stars. I couldn't recognize a single constellation because of how many stars were visible.

The lake added to it by reflecting the starlight upwards as well.

Thanks for sharing, hopefully we all can experience this once (or hopefully more) in our lifetimes. :grin:

#6 rolandlinda3



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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:08 PM

Like you, the closest I got to this was also in a national park...actually about 3 miles from the north section of Acadia (Schoodic Peninsular). There is a private campground right on the ocean (not the bay...the ocean) that does not permit night lights and loves the natural setting. We have observed there and gotten lost for the same reason...too many stars!! What a way to get confused and have a good time! Roland

#7 JayinUT


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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:38 PM

I really enjoyed the observation and the sketch. It brought to me a childlike wonder that I get when I observe and realize how magnificent what I am observing is. I also hope once in my life to see the Milky Way like this and guess I should head towards central/southern Utah and see if I can catch a glimpse this summer.

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