See that dot?
It’s tempting to go with Sagan here: “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.” (Yes, I have that memorized, mostly inadvertently.) But it’s not here/home/us. It is, according to every internet resource I can find combined with my common sense, Jupiter. It is by far the brightest object in the sky besides the Moon and various airplanes.
You see, my building has some very nice rooftop decks that no one seems to use on weeknights when it’s SoCal-cold outside. So I’ve started going out there most days to get some alone time with the stars and various Neal Stephenson tomes.
There are stars and constellations I think I have identified with some certainty — my problem, besides my lack of telescope, is possessing the sense of direction of a brick. Seriously, you can see a bit of highway near the bottom of that picture. My bedroom window faces it, too. I don’t know what highway it is.
A third and equally serious problem is the city itself. Between the light-pollution and the pollution-pollution, you can see only the brightest of stars on the clearest of nights. So while I think I can see a large percentage of Pegasus, or most of Cassiopeia, or three stars that must be part of Cygnus, they lose some of their status as constellations.