2009 has been designated at the International Year of Astronomy. Good news for the night sky! I’ve recently found TWAN – The World At Night. This is a remarkable body of work by a small group of exceptional photographers doing landscape astrophotography as part of the larger Year of Astronomy effort.

(Landscape astrophotography shows the night sky in relation to a horizon, as opposed to astrophotography or deep sky astrophotography that isolates an object within the frame with no reference to the horizon.)

These photographers are kindred spirits. Their work is the real world/actual imaging of what we (at Indigo Night) do as illustration. Where the Indigo Night night sky prints re-create a view of the night sky as it appeared on a given date at a given place, the TWAN photographers are out there, on site, living it and doing it in real time. Their work is majestic. Epic. Beyond words. I am humbled. And the motivation behind the TWAN effort is so beautiful – to show that we are really all one people, together under this vast canopy of night. Quoting from TWAN:

Wars are fought over boundaries that have been created in the name of politics, religion, race or beliefs. But the view from space reveals the true nature of our cosmic home – a border-less planet divided only into land and sea. While few will experience that view first-hand, the same is also true in reverse; the night sky above us – a view that is accessible to everyone on the planet – also has no visible borders. This common view is a bridge that connects us, creating understanding and friendship. When borders vanish, political and cultural differences become irrelevant. The beauty of brilliant Venus might be seen in Texas just hours after it is seen by sky gazers in Tehran. The famous stars of the Big Dipper might be viewed over the Vatican while Buddhists in China share the same celestial view over their temples. The magnificent Milky Way might be viewed over the Grand Canyon while people in Nepal are awed by the same celestial view over the Himalaya. We all live under the same eternally peaceful sky. And the Earth we inhabit under it belongs to us all.

Spend some time here. Get ready to get lost. TWAN

Here’s an image from the TWAN gallery with thanks to photographer Wally Pacholka.

bq Devil’s Tower with Milky Way. – W Pacholka / Crook County, Wyoming

See more of W Pacholka’s images here