Crab Nebula
Courtesy of Neil Davis

Texans are known as braggarts, but in the arena of geography, they can’t start to compete with Alaskans who can brag about the facts that we are the biggest state, the northernmost state, the westernmost state, and the easternmost state, plus we have the longest coastline of any state, and we own the highest mountain.

We’ve also got more volcanoes, glaciers, swamps and even bigger mosquitoes than Texas, for whatever that’s worth.

However, when it comes to astronomical bragging, we don’t do so well. We do have the aurora, of course, but otherwise we are astronomically challenged on several counts.

For one thing, half the year we can’t even see the stars because of perpetual daylight. Then, for the other half of the year, it is no fun to stand out in the cold looking at them through a telescope all frosted up from the viewer’s breath.

Furthermore, stuck like we are up near the North Pole, we rotate around on the earth’s axis unable to see a great portion of the firmament, that grand spectacle containing all its galaxies filled with untold numbers of stars, planets, interstellar gases and who knows what else.

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