Sunday, February 26, 2012

Starlight Starbright

What a treat.  We went out to the wood pile for a few logs to carry us through the evening fire and off to the west was our friend the crescent moon and Venus just above it.  We think Jupiter is  just off to the left and it was quite a treat.
The view from our front room, safe from the wind and cold (we aren't dumb), with a warm fire, some appropriate evening music prompted us to turn off the lights and adjust our seating to watch this little show for a bit.

When we were kids, parents bought telescopes because we were consumed by either the middle 50's War of the Worlds movie which scared us all to death or the Sputnik thrill when we rushed outside to see if we could see this little basketball object that seemed to scare the country as much as invasions from Mars.  Our first telescope arrived in the midst of all that and that first view of the moon is in our minds to this day.  We lived in a rural setting and ambiant light was nowhere to be found so the viewing was great, particularly in the summer when we could rest on the cold cement of the patio during the hot summer nights and peer up.

We saw a lot of things looking up - the moon was always center stage but with a telescope, Venus was as big as a golf ball and the moon filled the viewing lens.  When things wobbled off line we saw black; the black of space and we saw it again last evening viewing up at the moon and its early evening companion.  This blackness is like no other and we talked about how this moon was just hung out there on a string, pulled along against a backdrop of nothing.  So it must have seemed to our ancestors or the folks who were here before we brought "civilization" to the area whatever that was.

We went on about our evening rituals but this morning, at first light and the morning star Venus visible and the moon that ghostly white, we talked again about what the ancients must have thought about all this.  If they could have seen the true blackness of the space around these objects --- well....

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