Outer Space: A Traveler's Celebration

Published by Darron Toy on

growing up in the Space Age meant a lot of time spent in front of the TV set watching twilight zone Star Trek and especially the Rockets launching into space astronauts orbiting the Earth and men walking on the moon it was all out of this world so is that any wonder that I had the Apollo command module in mind when I picked my first trailer throughout my own voyages of discovery I've tried to capture the wonders of the universe on camera like here in Wyoming although my first attempts were rather crude I'm learning a little more each time I point my lenses skyward along with sharing my accomplishments I'm also going to share my favorite space destinations let's start in the sequoia trees of California the most magnificent of the redwoods these wonders of nature share a mountain with one of man's most wonderful achievements the Palomar Observatory the architecture alone is amazing incorporating 30s Art Deco into the design but to enter the main observatory is like entering a shrine or mausoleum you climb three flights of stairs to a narrow cavity in the center instead of an altar you come face to face with the visionary himself the man who made it all possible George Ellery Hale the 200 inch reflector telescope was the largest telescope ever built when it first peered into space in 1948 the upper section weighs a thousand tons and takes 32 trucks to move into position in the museum is the 18-inch Smit camera that discovered the shoemaker-levy 9 comet in 1993 as a teenager I was fascinated at seeing craters on the moon through my little refractor telescope but it took me over 40 years to see a real one at meteor crater national landmark just east of Flagstaff Arizona located on private land this is a meteorite impact crater of about 3,900 feet in diameter and 560 feet deep the debris field in the center is where most of the largest meteorite fragments existed it was actually a mine at one time with the hopes of finding significant amounts of meteoric iron but little was found one thing that was found was this meteorite on display at the Visitor Center it's just a small fragment of the hundred and fifty foot meteor that originally smashed into the earth 50 thousand years ago looking at the displays of asteroids meteors and comets reminded me of my own past attempts to capture these objects in space my first successful attempt was this shot of Hyakutake in 1996 the following year I managed to capture Hale Bopp in 1997 but nothing compares to the revolution of digital photography nowadays anybody can capture images of the heavens with a modest investment a good steady tripod and the appropriate camera app you as for visitors from outer space everyone seems to have their own opinion as to what might be out there some UFOs are merely strangely shaped clouds hovering on the horizon and science fiction doesn't help sometimes as Devil's Tower in Wyoming is more of a pilgrimage to Close Encounters than it is a spirit mountain for Native Americans by the way did anybody notice the elephant in the cloud believe it or not there actually are aliens at Devils Tower invasive species of plants that dislocate the native vegetation and compete for resources we've all seen something in a late night sky and questioned what it was I've had my own close encounters recently when an object appeared in the horizon apparently up in nowhere in my case it was a weather balloon in the New Mexico desert and New Mexico is no stranger to strange phenomena at the heart of it all is Roswell New Mexico located near the alleged UFO crash of 1947 it's also the home of the International UFO Museum and Research Center whether you browse the photos clippings or artifacts or get a selfie with the aliens it's great fun for all and don't forget the alien autopsy while some may find it difficult to separate the fact from the fiction there's one TV show that for millions of people was the cornerstone of space fantasy and yes I've made casual references to it in some of my videos welcome to Vulcan Albert [Applause] believe it or not Vulcan does exist and it's doing its best to live long and prosper a little prairie town in southern Alberta Canada it was named by a surveyor for the Canadian Pacific Railway after the god of fire Vulcan while mostly a farming community its silo still hold grain harvested from the local fields to the casual passerby it's hard not to notice there's something unusual about this quaint little spot of under 2,000 people if the murals don't give it away the local information center will modeled to resemble a flying saucer it's a haven for Trekkies and space enthusiasts alike while the model of the USS Enterprise attracts a lot of attention the town also boasts a solar park that supplies power to the local community it was a big event on Earth date April 23rd 2010 when leonard nimoy made a visit to vulcan and left his handprint of the Vulcan salute it was encased in bronze as well as the bus-stop mr. Spock I saw some Klingons once but then I took a shower with that it was time to leave Vulcan and head to the cold northern fields a viewer alerted me to a comet sighting recently so I braved the elements to check it out well I sure hope I'm actually looking at the right thing and photographing the right thing because I can't see it after seeing Hallie Hale Bopp and Hyakutake comet 46 P was a little underwhelming I mean you just be seeing blackness if it wasn't because of the moon just behind me here but it's just a black void I mean thank god there's astronomers that can tell me what to look at because I wouldn't seen it with a little magnification and a lot of enhancement I finally found what was dubbed the Christmas comet well I'm sure I won't win any awards for my video of 46 P but at least I can say I saw a rare celestial event but how about I take a breather from talking and show you my other little things I captured in the night sky one special effect I used was to light up the foreground with a weak flashlight at ayres natural bridge in Wyoming I tried it a step further lighting up the entire rock face of the bridge the effect was very surreal the clear skies of the Northwest are perfect for stargazers but on my next segment I had an entirely different goal in mind this location has nothing to do with stargazers at all but rather what happens when you view the Earth from space I sometimes use Google Earth to find possible campsites in remote areas at first look this dry lake near Willcox Arizona looked pretty normal but when I zoomed in a little closer an unusual pattern emerged is this a marker of some kind only viewed from above was it a symbol a hidden drop-off for smugglers it seems the only way I was gonna solve this was go find out for myself so somewhere out there is the mystery of the star wish me luck a couple of miles in I came across three pillars sticking out of the wasteland is this it finding nothing from my lookout post I decided to examine the area a little closer what were these weird markings in the soil was this device used to receive alien transmissions could this be a portal to another dimension like the twilight zone well I guess some mysteries just aren't meant to be solved that's why they're mysteries as thrilling as it was it was time for me to hightail out of there while I still could my last look at the heavens are to those celestial bodies we hold so closely to our hearts the moon the son and the earth the moon is a goddess immortal an internal rising from the dark to guide us the Sun is a king bathing us in light and warmth the soul of our very existence but when you put the Moon and Sun together the most magical and lumen ating experience happens the Eclipse all those the dream must cast a glance skyward I hope you enjoyed my tribute to space and please check my other videos on travel ideas and enjoying life please subscribe


MR. Mendez · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Dude your awesome!!

Paul Ricard · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

You are the Man Slim. I have been enjoying your videos for about a year now and hope to travel to some of the many places you have shown us when my wife joins me in retirement next year. I'm glad I wasn't sipping coffee when you mentioned the Klingons that were remedied with a shower. Your videos are better than most of what's on tv. You have a great documentary voice.

Shawn Vanden · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Science is what transforms a "Mystery" into a thesis, which when tested with the strict tenants of trials, tests & retests becomes validated, or invalidated. Though, there are a few mysteries I think science will never fully solve/resolve like consciousness, Time & who actually buys & eats a Hot-pocket ?!

Joel Hudson · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Hi Slim, always remember Astronomy IS looking UP!!! (I lived in the shadow of the James Lick Observatory near San Jose, CA. an ACTUAL Mausoleum James is buried under the 36" refactor there)

Peaceful Wife · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

I've been playing catch-up on your videos, admittedly "binge watching ". This one so far out of the many I've watched ( with the exception of the "Caught in a Snow Storm") this one is my most favorite thus far… loved all the beautiful sky shots. I'm fixin to go to sleep now and ready to dream about the sun, moon and stars. Goodnight, Moon. Goodnight Slim.😴😴😴😴😴😴

Jannike Jay · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

I loved this one. Your photography is not only fun, but amazing. I particularly loved that last shot. It's unfortunate that the vast majority of North Americans will never see the night skies like you have photographed (according to satellite images, 80% of NAmericans can't see the Milky Way) due to light pollution, which is only getting worse.

Peterrabbit Roberts · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Great and fun video. I found out a couple of years back New Mexico was a good place to watch the skies at night for stars and ufos.

Mark Hosbach · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Wow, one of your best! You got skills.

T CR · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Great wonders you found to share with us. Thanks always real and enjoyable Slim Potatohead!

Lana Hallock · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

You are amazing!!!!! Spectacular, mesmerizing and way beyond wowzer.

Russ Raetzman · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Hey Slim! Have you ever boondocked in Oregon? I can't seem to find that in your list of videos.

M. D. Grimes · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Spectacular! Thank you for sharing.👍👍👍👀😎

Azreal911 · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

the shots and quality of the video makes me think you've worked in the tv industry before or something like that. it's too high quality vs what i've seen out there! also I love how crazy you are in just finding some interesting place on the map and then proceed to drive 1000's of miles out to it! when I retire that feels like something i really wanna do!

Jutta David · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Great video 👍💕

Beverly Neville · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Really enjoy your blogs. My husband and I are hoping to "follow the road" soon. I think we've watched nearly all your videos.. Keep safe.

Graciela Leon · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Wow.😳😳 thanks for sharing.

Matt.p pony · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Gorgeous work slim, cant get over how cool the sky looks

Matt.p pony · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

There is a toy store in PA think the town started with a B but the entire store is shaped like a UFO and lights up etc

Ms sudlow · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

A fantastic video. Great quality and well edited. What a great life you have!

Brian Winter · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

How did I miss this video? Very cool Slim. One of my favorite times of the year is the Perseid Meteor Shower in late July early August. Nothing much compares to sitting out into the early morning watching for the shooting stars. Do you get out for any of the meteor showers Slim?

page white · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

I really enjoyed that, live long and prosper.

Chantal Fortier · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Wow! Delightful to watch! You posses such talent! Your posts are very entertaining. Your a pro! Thank you!

Ice Bob · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Very entertaining

Amy Haney · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm


Jeanette Silhouette · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

I saw a chimp with it's fist up. 5:28

kevin elton · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

thankyou wow

Shirley S. · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Spectacular video!

Mary L · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

I love your videos . Thank you ! I’m almost sold on an a liner. I’ve seen satellites in the night sky . Your photography is great .

Greg Jobe · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm


Jeanette Silhouette · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Wow….glad I stumbled across you 🙂

Jesse Hodge · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Wow Slim this one was really good .

Vicki Brown · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Beautiful star filled sky’s. Grew up with Star Trek, loved the characters, loved the premise. 👽👽👽👩🏼‍🚀😊

Cassy So Sassy · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

I have watched you for so long, finding you right after we bought our aframe, which we’ve moved on from because we are a family of 4 with a big dog! Every single video you’ve shared ya been so great. I’m shocked PBS or NETFLIX hasn’t hooked you up with a spot even deeper in the public eye. Amazing. Incredible. Informative. Adventurous. Love it all.

William Rose · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Great choice of music Slim. Who’s your source?

Eric Holloway · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

That was a fun and entertaining video. Great work!

Walter Pendleton · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

You may inspire others like me to get out and view the sky. I am heading out this weekend.

Fermis paradox1 · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Love it. Exactly what I have in mind when I hit the road. Star gazing and going to the Roswell's and area 51's and all those other places you showed. Devils Tower a must and the sequoias .

Dale Evans · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Thank you for another enjoyable moment Watching your videos is never a waste of my time because they never fail to enlighten or bring back fond memories.

KenKaiOKC · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Absolutely amazing video Slim!!!!!!! Thank you

Tito Bazi · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Awesome content

Dawn Turner · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Nice shot of the jet in front of the moon!

meeposito · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Oh man, you are so funny!  I LOVE watching your videos!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maria Lopes · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

I loved this video ❤️❤️❤️ Thanks Mr. Slim !! Keep those videos coming !!

Gus Guss · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Awesome Video and Effects 😉

art evans · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Captivating! 🌞👍

Ape Man · May 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Love the videos Slim. I'm a bit of a tree nerd and even make youtube videos about conifers. I'm pretty sure those big trees by the Palomar gift shop are Incense Cedars which are easy to confuse with Sequoias. There are a lot of Sequoias planted up there though. Walking into that observatory is like walking back in time. I was just there and as usual you captured it magnificently.

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