About 13 years ago while living in Chino Valley, Az., near Prescott, I was out in my father in-law's backyard on a ultra clear mid-summer night at
about midnight. Out here you can see the entire night sky as there are not very many mountains or obstructions anywhere in the area except for Granite
Mountain which was behind me. There was no big city light pollution at all and the stars were incredibly bright and vibrant, the Milky Way was visible
in its entirety. A huge swath of what looked like airbrushed light across the entire sky… it was amazing…. Then it hit me. WHOOAAAAAA!!!!
I, for the first time saw our Milky Way galaxy in 3 dimensions… it had depth.. I could clearly see the spiral arms swirling out from the dense
bright center, one of them curving around to Earths position near its outer edge….. like looking at the center of a pinwheel from its edge. I was
floored… then very VERY emotional. Just like that moment Jodie Foster had in Contact when she “had no idea”…. It was that kind of speechless
A few years ago while backpacking in Yosemite with a friend I tried to explain to him what I saw while stargazing that evening atop a granite mound
just outside the tree line. We could see the Milky Way but not quite enough to see it like I did in Arizona. He couldn’t “see it”… he tried
and tried but there just wasn’t enough of the sky visible. Then a few months go by and I get a phone call from him after a trip to Yosemite he made
in which I was unable to attend. “Dude, I SAW IT!! OMG!! I saw it man you were right… there were no words… only tears.”
We both agreed that this experience has changed our lives in some way… there really are no words.