A Cool Night at Brasstown Bald Mountain

Brasstown Bald Mountain, located in northeast Georgia, is the highest mountain in Georgia. Not only is it beautiful during the daytime, but the night skies there are very good because of the lack of light pollution. The nearest towns are Blairsville, Young Harris, and Hiawasee, but they don’t generate enough light to cause much a problem when shooting up at the mountain. There is a large parking lot where you can set up you telescopes and/or cameras, and it is one of my favorite places to shoot.

Last Friday night (November 29th) I saw that we would have clear skies in the area so I decided to pack up my scope and cameras and head up there for some night shooting. I got there just before sunset, and I managed to get a few really nice shots of that. This is my favorite of them:

Once it got dark, I decided to set up my Canon 60D on a regular tripod with a wide-angle lens and get some wide-field shots of the Milky Way. Here are my two favorites of that group:

I also set up my 80mm Orion APO refractor telescope and did some observing to get a feel of how good the seeing was. I then connected my Canon 60Da directly to the telescope and did some shooting of a few deep sky objects. The 60Da has a specially modified sensor that is designed for astrophotography. Here are the best shots I got with that camera connected to the telescope.

Dumbbell Nebula

Pleiades Cluster

I had intended to shoot a few more objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and the Double Cluster in Perseus, but it started getting a bit windy. It was already very cold up there, and wind makes for bad shooting as it’s almost impossible to keep your equipment steady. I would up staying maybe four hours, and I got some really nice shots. If you are ever in that part of Georgia, I highly recommend a daytime or nighttime visit to Brasstown Bald.


Getting the “Reformers” on Board with Music

Maybe we need to try a new approach. Our so called “reformers” in education are so focused on standardized test scores that they won’t pay attention to anything else. This is so wrong. Our students are so much more than that.

So perhaps we try a somewhat subversive tactic. This study shows that music helps to develop cognitive schools that can be applied to other tasks. Well, if we can convince these “reformers” that studying music would INCREASE their precious standardized test scores, maybe they would begin to value music and perhaps other arts-education programs. Instead of cutting music programs, maybe they would start funding them again.

Okay, I know it’s silly to try to reason with these people but I thought this might just be a new approach.