View Poll Results: Have you ever seen the Milky Way? (naked eye)
Yup 167 91.26%
Maybe 6 3.28%
No, sadly 10 5.46%
Voters: 183. You may not vote on this poll

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  #51  
Old 09-09-2019, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by CurtC View Post
I'm astounded that 10% of the people here have polled "no" or "maybe." I would have expected virtually 100% have seen it. To me, it's like asking "who has ever tasted bread?"
I am surprised it's only 10 percent (or less) who haven't seen it. I would have bet that most urban/suburban dwellers have never seen it.

During the 1994 blackout in LA, people were calling 911 worried about the strange glow in the sky. It was the Milky Way.
  #52  
Old 09-09-2019, 03:15 PM
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I've always been in areas with pretty heavy light pollution. Even now in this largely rural county, so many people have security lights and so many places stay lit all night, I'm lucky to see a few stars. Dammit.

Even when I would be at sea on a cruise, there was too much light on the ship. Maybe I need to go into a desert or something.

Last edited by FairyChatMom; 09-09-2019 at 03:16 PM.
  #53  
Old 09-09-2019, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
I am surprised it's only 10 percent (or less) who haven't seen it. I would have bet that most urban/suburban dwellers have never seen it....
I believe it's selection bias. People who haven't seen it are far less likely to click through into the thread.
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  #54  
Old 09-10-2019, 06:57 AM
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Yes, over Bishop CA and all along the Eastern Sierra Nevada.

I live near San Francisco and often do not see it. But east of the Sierra Nevada along US-395 from about Minden/Gardnerville to the north and Mojave to the south you have over 350 linear miles of beautiful, dark skies. The stars are fantastic.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:17 AM
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When flying at night in our small plane, we'd occasionally douse all the lights and look at it from 8-9000 feet. Also spent a week backpacking in the Weminuche Wilderness -- saw it every night as I stretched out on my sleeping bag. It was actually more spectacular from the ground than the air.
  #56  
Old 09-11-2019, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
I am surprised it's only 10 percent (or less) who haven't seen it. I would have bet that most urban/suburban dwellers have never seen it.
Just to clarify my comment - I would not be surprised that a poll of random USAians would be 10% or more who haven't seen it. I AM surprised that 10% of Dopers haven't.
  #57  
Old 09-11-2019, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I don't know what to tell you. I live in Chicago, and it wasn't until I was 18 until I saw anything that even remotely looked like this.
Really, no one has seen the Milky Way looking like that. You'll never see colors in it with your eyes, even through a telescope or binoculars. It takes a photo to get colors.

But here in Dallas I can often see a pale streak in the sky that some might mistake for a wispy, long cloud, but I know it's the MW.
  #58  
Old 09-11-2019, 06:29 PM
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Once in Saline Valley on a camping trip. The next time we went there was a storm (we were snowed in and had to take the Lippincott Lead Mine road to get out via Death Valley) and couldn't see much.
  #59  
Old 09-11-2019, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtC View Post
Really, no one has seen the Milky Way looking like that. You'll never see colors in it with your eyes, even through a telescope or binoculars. It takes a photo to get colors.
I swear to god, to me it looked like I saw colors. (And I'm a photographer, so I know the effect you're talking about.) Even if I didn't, the effect to me, when I saw it, was as dramatic as that--with the gaseous clouds and everything. I describe it as "for the first time, it felt like I saw all the stars." And, since it's in the Southern Hemisphere, from what I'm reading online, it's much more overhead than in the Northern, so even more impressive.

ETA: For example, here's my description of that memory from five years ago:

Quote:
Yep. For me, growing up and living in Chicago, you have to go quite a bit afield before you can see the clear sky. I was 18, visiting my cousins in Tasmania, when I first looked up into a night sky and realized why it's called the Milky Way. I mean, it was jaw-droppingly breathtaking. First of all, the foreign-to-me Southern Hemisphere sky was interesting, but second of of all, I just could not believe how much stuff was just out there. Not only was there a big wash of stars splitting the sky, there were colors up there, too. And it's not like I hadn't traveled in the US. We've done many road trips but, apparently, never stayed far enough afield to get that kind of sky. Here in the Chicago area, I'm lucky at night if I see dozens of stars. Off in the middle of Wisconsin or Upper Peninsula Michigan, which seemed rural to me, I still only saw maybe thousands of stars. In Tasmanian, the stars just looked uncountable. I had no idea you could see that many stars.

Last edited by pulykamell; 09-11-2019 at 06:48 PM.
  #60  
Old 09-11-2019, 07:17 PM
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Just to clarify my comment - I would not be surprised that a poll of random USAians would be 10% or more who haven't seen it. I AM surprised that 10% of Dopers haven't.
Maybe what I should have asked is whose kids/grandkids have seen it? It's a shame that all kids aren't able to lie out under the stars.

As I touched on in my OP, it was the effect on me of the night sky - the genuine deep, inky dark sky with clouds and clusters of stars - when I was young that would lead me to all types of things which soon became guideposts in my life. And, even beyond the effect it had on me personally with respect to science and philosophy, I think that experiencing and knowing 'the stars' connects us all with humanity past, present, and future.
  #61  
Old 09-11-2019, 07:21 PM
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I saw it just last week, on a boat of the shore of Crete. Even just a short distance from shore you're far enough away from the light pollution from the small but rather touristy villages to be able to see it.
  #62  
Old 09-11-2019, 08:04 PM
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Saw it just a couple of weeks ago, every night as the campfire died out, while at one of the Finger Lakes.
  #63  
Old 09-12-2019, 09:17 AM
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I've seen it while driving through Arizona, New Mexico & Nevada in my early 20s. Never saw it in New Jersey of course or NYC. Even upstate NY I don't recall seeing the Milky Way.
  #64  
Old 09-12-2019, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I swear to god, to me it looked like I saw colors.
the brain is sensationally good at filling in colors where your mind knows they belong. Deep sea divers often report seeing red on things that they know are red (like a Coke can) but at depths where that is not physically possible (Past 40-50 feet or so it isn't possible to see red light.) The brain says "that's red" and fills it in.
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Last edited by RickJay; 09-12-2019 at 02:50 PM.
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