The Pillars of Creation, located in the Eagle Nebula (gas cloud), is known both as M16 and NGC 6611. The nebula is located in the constellation Serpens 7,000 light-years (LY) from Earth. The left tower is 3 LY long. One LY is 5,800,000,000 miles.

Much like life forms, stars comes into existence, evolve into old age, and perish. M16 is one of millions of stellar ‘nurseries’ found in the Milky Way - our home galaxy. Newly formed stars appear as tiny red dots.

(Image Credit: Hubble Space Telescope)

Meet Mike Best

Mike BestMike and the Spitz A-3PR star projector in Southfield's Vollbrecht Planetarium. With 70 upholstered seats under a 30-foot dome, the facility ranks among the finest planetariums in southeast Michigan. It is located at Adler Elementary School on Filmore, 1/4 mile east of Evergreen. Filmore is 4 blocks north of 10 Mile Road and the first street south of Southfield Civic Center.

Mike Best first fell in love with the stars in 1945. Since then he has shared his enthusiasm by popularizing astronomy, space exploration, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

 "A delightful blend of Robin Williams and Dr. Carl Sagan."

"His gift is translating complex science into everyday English.                                                       

Since 1976, Mike has made more than 1,000 presentations to a combined audience of nearly 285,000 listeners and viewers on radio, television, and in lecture halls. His list of 25 topics will run from 30 minutes to all-day seminars.

Mr. Best has taught adults and talented and gifted (TAG) students at Schoolcraft College, Livonia. He is the 'almost' resident astronomer at 3 nature centers and has given more than 200 public and private planetarium shows at Vollbrecht Planetarium in Southfield.

He is a member of the: Astronomical League, the Astronomical Society of Michigan, the Great Lakes Planetarium Association, the National Space Society, the Planetary Society, the SETI Institute, and the Warren Astronomical Society.

Mike can be seen waxing eloquently in libraries, service clubs, churches, synagogues, community education departments, and private homes. He has spoken before the Association of Analytical Chemists, the Engineering Society of Detroit, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and the (US) President's National Commission on Space. His numerous radio and TV appearances include Bill Bonds, Kelly & Company, Madonna University, David Newman, and Dan Valkos.

Mike has followed the twists and turns of the UFO phenomenon since 1947. He is able to offer a unique perspective to this exciting topic by serving for 10 years as a field investigator for CUFOS (Dr. J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies). He was later affiliated with both the International and Michigan divisions of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network). His topic 'The Reality of UFOs' continues to be a favorite for audiences.

From 1953 to 1957 Mike served in the U.S. Navy. While flying with a Sea-Air-Rescue squadron in the Pacific, he founded the Kwajalein Island Astronomy Club. He later founded the Astronomy Club of Livonia (1976) and the Astronomical Society of Michigan (1985).

During the 1980s, Mike hosted and produced 30 local access TV shows in Plymouth - 'Beyond the Moon'. Currently he produces a second series, 'Secrets of Space', for the City of Farmington Hills.

Mr. Best retired in 1995 after working as a staff writer for 20 years with The Detroit News. Before that he had worked for 20 years in the travel industry touring 105 cities in 31 countries. Between speaking engagements and working on a science fiction novel, 'The Navel of God', he finds time to sing in the ARPI men's chorus for the Swedish Club in Farmington Hills. And yes, he does find time to star gaze with his telescopes.

If you share Mike's passion for space exploration and those values depicted in Star Trek™, visit U.S.S. Intrepid, one of the country's largest Star Trek fan clubs where he serves as ship's cosmologist.