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Sun Valley’s Night Sky Ushers in New Year
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Nils photographed this magnificent show of a late afternoon sunburst while walking in the forest.
 
 
Friday, January 1, 2021
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

PHOTOS BY NILS RIBI

In a year that was grossly out of whack, Sun Valley photographer Nils Ribi found that focusing on the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the stars kept him grounded, reminding him of just how small and insignificant we are in the larger scope of things.

Contemplating Sun Valley’s dark skies, which are part of the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve--America’s first dark sky reserve—also helped him remember how important it is to look out for the health of the globe we live on during a year that the climate crisis took an untimely back seat to the coronavirus pandemic.

 
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Nils took this picture of the Milky Way as it streamed over the Sawtooth National Recreation Area north of Sun Valley.
 

Nils took pictures of Jupiter and Saturn in December when they became the “stars” of the sky, coming as close to one another as anyone on Earth has seen them for 800 years. And he even managed to note the timetable for the International Space Station in a year when not much else being penciled in on our calendars.

Enjoy as Nils shares some of his favorite photos taken during 2020—his New Year’s gift to you.

 
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It’s always nice to look up at the Moon at night and see a 22-degree halo around it, an optical phenomenon created by refracted ice crystals from thin, high-level clouds, said Nils. The ring of light is so-called because it’s 22 degrees from the sun or moon.
 

 
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Nils managed to fulfill two personal photo goals this year. One was to photograph the International Space Station as it transited the Sun on June 19, 2020. The other was to photograph it transiting a full moon, as it did in this picture on July 5, 2020.
 

 
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Nils says we were fortunate to have Saturn and Jupiter in the night sky most of the year. Throughout the spring summer and fall, they hung out with the Milky Way, adding nicely to this photo he took of the Milky Way.
 
 

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