Looking up

Between the total solar eclipse on April 8 and the Aurora Borealis, often called the Northern Lights, visible as far south as coastal Alabama and Florida throughout the second weekend in May, the sky has been putting on quite a show recently.

Social media was flooded with photos and conversations during the 2024 total solar eclipse, but that event may have been eclipsed by the shocking and beautiful images everyone captured through their phones as the Northern Lights lit up the sky. While not entirely visible to the naked eye in the metro-Atlanta area, cameras and phones were able to capture the brilliantly bold pink, green, yellow, and purple hues that decorated the sky.

Locals interested in seeing more of what the sky has instore for viewing pleasure are in luck; DeKalb County is home to multiple observatories and planetariums, including Fernbank Science Center’s Ralph Buice Jr. Observatory in Atlanta, which houses the largest telescope in the southeastern United States, according to exploregeorgia.org.

Observatories and planetariums are great resources to learn more about the phenomena in the sky that happens nightly. For example, the Bradley Observatory on Agnes Scott College’s campus is an astronomical teaching and research facility that hosts a free open house every month during the semester. The open house usually includes astronomy talk with special guest speakers while watching the stars drift overhead during the college’s planetarium sky show, and, weather permitting, viewing the real stars and planets through the observatory’s telescopes.

While we might have different views on topics like politics and religion, looking up to the sky has proven to be the great equalizer, bringing us together—even if momentarily—to witness something wonderful.

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