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HOLIDAY GUIDE

Vision quest

I want to see stars

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It’s not so unusual for people to direct their most fervent wants skyward, but for me, that’s where the obstacle to my fulfillment originates. Orlando’s night sky is bullshit. That’s why all I want for Christmas is a catadioptric telescope.

I don’t mean to nitpick, but in case you didn’t notice, some Southern cities (cough, Atlanta, cough) have night skies so reasonably dark, that residents were very recently treated to a rare view of aurora borealis (technically, aurora australis). The dowdy Orlando sky severely limits visibility of most basic star systems, let alone showing a little leg in the form of nebulae, gases or galaxies.

Unfortunately, the light pollution that shrouds the stars can’t really be helped, even with sophisticated telescopes outfitted to the nines with the light pollution reduction filters I dream about. But maybe if I owned a compact reflector-refractor hybrid, I’d be compelled to drive west toward Bradenton, north toward Cape San Blas or south toward Florida’s greatest darkness: the Everglades.

Modern telescopes even come equipped with thorough databases, making it even easier to track what is visible. If only I could get over how much more there is to see than what the tricky Mickey skies choose to show me.

Ashley Belanger is editor of Full Sail University’s getinmedia.com website. In addition to stargazing, she also likes poker.

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