Welcome to Meadowlark Ridge Observatory

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look back through time - to see things as they existed hundreds, thousands or even millions of years ago?  Sound far-fetched?  Perhaps...but that is exactly what you will be doing as you view the images on this website.  Let me explain.  As we glance into the nighttime sky we are not seeing things as they are at this exact moment in time.  The photons that hit our eyes have been traveling through space at a speed of just over 186,000 miles per second or just under 6 trillion miles per year - the definition of one light year.  The distances from earth to the nebulae and galaxies you see on these pages range from a few thousand light years to millions of light years.  Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.  The Soul Nebula is approximately 6500 light years from our earth.  In other words it takes light 6500 years to get from this nebula to our eyes (or cameras).  Therefore the image you see is exactly how this nebula looked 6500 years ago...If you want to know how this nebula appears today you will need to stay healthy, live another 6500 years, and then photograph it.  The image you produce will be how the nebula looked in 2015...so you can see that we are, quite literally, gazing back through time.  And at "only" 6500 light years away the Soul Nebula is one of the closest targets that you will see as you view these pages.  Consider galaxy M109 whose distance from earth is estimated to be between 50 - 75 million light years.  Let's use the 50 million number.  The light that produced the image you see left the galaxy when India was colliding with Asia forming the Himalayan Mountains - and about 16 million years after a huge asteroid is theorized to have collided with earth causing the Cretaceous - Tertiary Extinction...


So, get comfortable and let's take a trip back through time...


Clear skies


NGC 6960_Starless   Image by Bruce Bartle
NGC 6960_Starless Image by Bruce Bartle

Meadowlark Ridge Observatory
Meadowlark Ridge Observatory