Let's just talk about the sky for now.
Do you EVER look up?
|Moonrise Over the Mulberry Tree - 6.3.12|
There was a solar eclipse a couple weeks ago.
In a few hours there will be a lunar eclipse.
Day after tomorrow a Transit of Venus passing across the face of the Sun occurs.
Perhaps the Mayans are/were on to something, because the heavens are certainly putting on a show for us right now. What does it all mean?
It means we are fortunate to be at a particularly good vantage point from which to view some of the cosmic gyrations that happen all the time whether we are looking up or not.
Granted, conditions are not such that we see a solar eclipse, or a lunar eclipse, or a Transit of Venus as frequently as our daily sunrise and sunset. But my point is -- skywatching is not much of an activity most folks engage in these days. Too many other things to watch: YouTube, Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, Oh My Oma's Blog, etc. I enjoy watching all those, too.
The Avid Skywatcher in my world was my father. He was an amateur astronomer. Built a homemade observatory in our back yard. Telescopes were ever present in our family life. He made them by hand, too. I grew up thinking most fathers did the same.
Dad's nocturnal cycles were all out of whack from years of stargazing in the middle of the night.
The regularity of the movements of objects in the sky is comforting to me, even the path of the sun across the sky in daylight hours, but especially the cycles of our Moon, and the planets and brighter objects.
I never got very good at identifying constellations, but I learned to distinguish the visible planets pretty early in life. Some of the learning came out of my native curiousity, but much of it just happened by osmosis or magic due to the rich environment at home. Perhaps I was born to love Science. But I like to think some of the love was handed down to me from Avid Skywatcher.
He read all kinds of astronomy books and magazines and star charts, but my father mis-pronounced the word "gaLAXy" because he had never heard the word aloud. EmPHASis on the wrong sylLABle. If I could hear him say it again -- aloud, not just in my memories -- I would laugh for joy and kiss his face.
"Avid Skywatcher" sounds a bit like a relative of Luke Skywalker. It's silly, but I kinda like the thought him having an adventure as Avid Skywatcher in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.
I won't be getting up in couple hours to view the partial lunar eclipse. Need to keep my nocturnal cycles in whack. But I will be checking the Interwebs first thing to see photos and read reports.
See you in my dreams Avid Skywatcher.