General Meeting – February 1, 2023
A Tour of the Great Rift
In the Summer Milky Way
The Great Rift, or Dark Rift, is a long swath of dust and gas clouds darkening a stretch of the Milky Way in the summer sky, blocking the light from stars behind it. This dark cloudy strip is where stars are forming, and you can see the Great Rift visually from a location free from light pollution. There are five major dust and gas clouds that make up the Great Rift. This talk will describe the locations of these clouds in constellations of the summer Milky Way. The talk will also locate these clouds in the local spiral arms of the galaxy using data from the ESA Gaia dust mapping project.
Dave Weixelman is a retired botanist with the US Forest Service where he worked for 37 years. He has been an amateur astronomer since the seventh grade when he ground a mirror and built an 8-inch reflector telescope. Dave has been a visual observer, deep sky imager, and nightscape imager for many years.