home.... provides instantaneous familiarity no matter how long you've been gone. it was exciting to experience a whole new night sky when i moved to the southern hemisphere, but i feel like i've jumped back to my home planet when i stand outside on these warm austin nights under the northern constellations. i miss the exotic southern cross hanging overhead, but the presence of the big dipper comforts me like the neighbor from down the street who has always seemed like an old man even when i was very young! the summer triangle created by vega, deneb and altair, shines brightly overhead. cassiopeia... the hardest constellation to spell... but an easy "W" to find in the sky!
there's a lot of talk this week about google earth's new feature, google sky. it seems cool enough, but i still prefer to go browse thru the astronomy picture of the day archive or go directly to the hubble heritage project site. and better yet... just print out a star chart from sky maps and explore the sky with my own two eyes!