Godzilla Lives In New Hampshire

Sep 19, 2014

Godzilla is 17 feet tall and resides in a cave-like trailer in Dorchester, New Hampshire.  He comes out on New Moons when the sky's at its darkest. 

The boy sat in the back seat and the two old people - his parents - sat up front.

Do you remember where we're going?
To see Godzilla!

The boy was going to see Godzilla who lived at the top of a nearly treeless hill at the end of a long dirt road.

It's like we're driving over the moon...

The boy knew about the moon. Through his telescope at home he could see its rubbled surface, the pond like craters and the ranging mountains.

When the car stops, the boy leaps into the darkness and runs toward the looming monster and its two owners, Kevin Ackley and Barry Sawyer.

This is what we call Godzilla
Oh my god.
Godzilla likes galaxies.
It's ginormous.     

Godzilla is a 17 foot tall telescope with a 36 inch mirror, co-owned by Ackley and Barry Sawyer.

This is probably the largest scope in New England.        

To look through the eyepiece, the boy will have to climb to the top of a rolling warehouse ladder.

This the perfect night for telescopes.

But before he can look through the great telescope, the two astronomers want his eyes to get used to the dark. 

Every object you can see with your unaided night eyes is within our galaxy - with the exception of the Andromeda galaxy.

Barry Sawyer fires his green laser pointer into the sky and guides the boy's eyes from star to star.

This is the great square of Pegasus.  And if you come out to here and go up and right in their you'll see a little fuzzy blob of light.  That's the Andromeda galaxy and it's about as far away as most people can see.  The light that left the galaxy that you're now seeing left 2 million years ago.
2 and a half million.
Latest estimate, 2 and a half million.  I don't want to make you nervous, but it's heading toward us at 300,000 miles an hour.

After 30 minutes of skygazing, Sawyer asks the boy if he wants to look at Saturn in the big telescope.

You have to walk up and hold the handrail.  Put your eye right there in the big circle.
Oh my god, it's giant. It's actually - I can see it moving away.
What you're actually seeing, why that's moving -
Is the orbit.
That's right.  And since you're seeing such a small piece of the sky, you can actually see the earth's movement.

Sawyer shifts the telescope so the boy can keep looking at Saturn.

I have seen things halfway across the universe.  I have seen the moons of Jupiter go behind the planet.  I have seen 2 or 3 moons casting shadows on the face of it. The rings of Saturn are always a wonderful sight.  But mainly I go after star clusters and they're just like sparkling jewels in the night.

The boy is shown the sparkling jewels. Comet Jacque.  M57 - the Ring Nebula. The globular cluster M13 and the dwarf galaxy M32.

So cool.

As the boy is leaving, he tells Sawyer that he wants to be an astronomer when he grows up and Sawyer gives him some advice.

Once you figure out the constellations and get a feel for that and you find your first two objects, your confidence builds up and you start going after fainter and fainter objects.  But there's always an enjoyment in just being out and just looking out into the deep night...Yeah, somewhere out there I'd like to think that a kindred spirit is looking back.

Sawyer looks up hopefully and the boy yawns with sleep. The boy has school tomorrow and doesn't wonder about the kindred spirits.  He's young enough to simply know there's someone looking back. 

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