observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Amazing Night Sky (Space Shuttle & Cygnus Bubble)


I thought I was seeing things. I was about to slide into bed after being up late working on some images from a photo shoot when I saw it. It was an oblong bubble hanging in the eastern night sky. Surely I was seeing things, I thought. Once in bed, that bubble shone through the branches and leaves of the tree outside the bedroom window. Finally, I had to get up — it was just too real to dismiss as something in my eye. (Before I go on, NO, this is not a shot of what I saw … this image is one taken of the moon on a misty evening from last year & without using my tripod).

I went back to the large picture window in our living room and, sure enough, there hung that oblong bubble shaped oddity. It was so large too, that I couldn’t fathom what it really was. The entire outer edge was lit as if it was made from a band of beaded lights. Then I remembered that the TV evening news had reported the space shuttle was visible in the night sky simply with the naked eye. Surely this enormous ring of light was not the space shuttle! Then I noticed what I had seen the night before and the night before that: a large glaring light that outshone everything else in the midnight sky. I fumbled in the dark for the binoculars and took a closer look.

That glaring light was the space shuttle! Yes, it was so obvious with the rectangular row of lights — that definitely was not a star. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling I had. I oooh’ed and ah’d and after a good long look finally decided I’d better get some sleep. At that point, I still hadn’t figured out what that enormous hanging bubble was in the sky, at least not until this morning. On Twitter, I noticed that a few other people reported seeing the space shuttle. Then, because I follow meteorologist Josh Classen, I saw a tweet from him that certainly captured my curiosity. I followed the link and this is what I uncovered. That oblong bubble that had me totally mesmerized was planetary nebulae named the Cygnus Bubble. Check it out! I’ve never experienced two such out-of-this-world phenomena in my decades on earth. I’m still very much in awe.

{If you Twitter, you’re welcome to follow me at Twitter}

Here’s one more classic car shot … I picked one of the Firebird emblem to try and tie in with my night sky post 🙂


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Puna - July 27, 2009 - 3:00 pm

That’s so cool Diane.

sherri - July 28, 2009 - 10:54 am

Sounds like a very notable experience. I like this car capture. Very different approach and very well done.

Candace - July 28, 2009 - 8:20 pm

Wow, that sounds so cool! I have the same fascination with the night sky and would have been thrilled to see either, much less both!

Very cool car shot!

Marcie - July 29, 2009 - 6:58 am

WOW! Amazing finds in the night-sky. Who’d have ever thought there was such ‘treaure’ buried there!!

Junie Moon - July 29, 2009 - 9:31 am

What extraordinary sightings; I never even thought to look to see if I could see the shuttle and to also see the planetary nebulae is awesome. I like your misty moon photo (amazing that you got it without using the tripod) as well as the car shot. I told my husband about your photographs at the car show and said we ought to give that a try here in Tucson. He thinks that’s a brilliant idea so we’re keeping an eye out for the next show.

Gayle - August 2, 2009 - 9:38 pm

Oh my gosh that is so cool! One evening last year my kids, my husband and I went outside to see the space shuttle move through the sky when we heard it would be visible. It was just a light moving through the sky from our viewpoint, but it was still neat!