Chris Hill peered through the lens of the telescope in his backyard one cold night, looking into the sea of stars and galaxies that pepper the night sky like grains of sand.

He walked to a pair of computers nearby and pressed a few buttons. A picture came into focus: a blue, transparent circle surrounded by rings of pink, red and orange popping out of a starry backdrop. It’s the Helix Nebula in the constellation Aquarius — 655 light-years away.


Read more from Annie Blanks with San Antonio Express-News here.