Viewing the stars in Ellensburg


Brittany Cinderella, Staff Reporter

Whether you’re someone already in love with space and everything around us or just like to see the moon from your backyard, take time out of your day to explore the stars.

If you’ve ever had a chance on a clear night to stare up at the sky in Ellensburg, you’ve seen the beautiful blinking stellar objects above you. After moving to Ellensburg during my freshman year from the west side, I was drawn to not having clouds or light pollution for the first time in my life. 

I started to love seeing the stars, but I didn’t have a way to view them up close. So I asked my parents for my own telescope, and we researched to find the best option for my desired viewing. We found the perfect telescope but needed a way to take photos through the telescope without trying to balance my phone on the lens, so we added a ring that can be attached to my personal digital camera to take photos. 

Needless to say, I can’t put my telescope away unless I’ve captured an image. I’ve seen Jupiter and its moons, the redness and stormy eye of Mars and the crater spots on our own moon. With our moon, I’ve seen both types of eclipses, lunar and solar, and photographed most of its phases. Recently I was able to catch one of the CWU aviation students flying their plane past the moon and it’s one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. 

Outside of photography, I find it fascinating to see space in Ellensburg from my backyard. I remember for years having to travel to a higher elevation location to see anything, but if I step out my door, I see constellations such as Orion and both Ursa Major and Minor, the big and little dippers. With the sun setting so much earlier in the day now since it’s winter, it gives you even more time to stop what you’re doing and look up at the amazing sky above us. 

To get slightly philosophical, the idea of space has always been something I’ve been amazed by. Since I was little I took time to look at the stars, but I never could have guessed it would be part of my college education. 

Double majoring in Physics and English, with minors in Astronomy and Math, I’ve been able to take part in some amazing sky-viewing with my peers. In Physics 303, Observational Astronomy, we went up on the roof to memorize the constellations, whilst also working with the telescope attached to Discovery Hall. I got to take photos of a star cluster for the first time, and process the image colors to my desire. I’ll still never be able to get over the fact that the stuff we see in the sky is only seen as it was in the past since it takes so long for the light to travel. 

Of everything I’ve seen in our visible sky, I will always remember seeing Saturn for the first time. It was August of 2019, I had lined up my telescope to the bright spot that my phone app marked as Saturn, and hoped for the best. Adjusting my eyepiece into focus, I immediately recognized the beautiful rings and felt tears coming to my eyes. 

I, a college student with mediocre telescope skills, found Saturn by myself, and saw it from my backyard. As tiny as the planet appeared, I could see it as if it were right in front of me. My camera wasn’t able to capture it well enough, so I grabbed my phone and lined it up with the eyepiece as well as I could, to capture one of the coolest photos I’ve gotten.