This is what it looked like on Sept. 11, 2001 from the balcony of my midtown Manhattan apartment

 

 

Even the pigeons noticed that something was unusual

 

 

That evening, at sunset, I zoomed in to watch the eerie glow of orange on the billowing smoke

 

 

Two days later, the fire still burned, the wind shifted north, and we all breathed in some of the smoke. Otherwise the sky was quite clear, so the light from the waning crescent Moon and Saturn was able to make it through the smoke and into my telescope:

 

This is what the twin towers looked like from Brooklyn, years earlier at sunset, also through my telescope:

 

New York will never be the same again