The Star-Herald

Starlight, star bright, embrace the night

The Christmas season here in the County is about stars. December days are short on sunlight and long on starlight. With christmas and december coinciding it follows that there are lots of opportunities for stargazing. Driving south on the Caribou Road at the midnight hour it is possible to see northern light displays that fill the entire sky. Those long, cold nights are filled with wide open skies and thousands of stars. It is an under-utilized resource for development. Ground space and low light pollution make the County an ideal location for scouting the night skies.

Where are our educated heroes? Consistently, students who have graduated from County schools go on to achieve success far beyond humble potato fields and forests. One of our students is an astronaut. Others are surgeons, lawyers, and actors with international reputations and material. All remain loyal to their heritage even though so few schools make any effort to bring the pride and joy back to their roots. Few are the trophy cabinets, brass plaques, and named sites that honor students who have succeeded. Still our students continue to produce well beyond the expectations of a disinterested public.

In the vast starscape of graduates of local schools there are some graduates who impress. One is David Dickinson of Presque Isle High School.
He loved the night sky and after graduating from Presque Isle High School went on to develop his knowledge of Earth Science and astronomy. Amongst the field of avid sky buffs David stands out for his ability to explain the complexities of sky watching with the mundane ability of creepy bugs to annoy a viewer’s night out. David Dickinson has authored a book on how to explore the night. Titled, “The Universe Today: Ultimate Guide to Viewing The Cosmos: Everything you need to know to become an amateur astronomer.”

This handbook explains in short easy bursts how to use simple equipment to get the most from watching the stars. This is a user’s manual. From understanding how to look at the sky to building tools for observation and explaining the terms and mathematics of the science behind the knowledge, David brings the joy of sky watching to the reader. As a guide book it is set up for jumps in logic and desire on the part of the reader. Whether it be finding an azimuth or tracking a meteor the explanation is simplified and gives the new astronomer the confidence to talk with others.

David graduated from Presque Isle High School. Now his book is trending on Amazon and used around the world. Not too bad for a graduate. Look to the stars and much will be explained. Just ask three kings on Camels in a far off desert.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

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