life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, October 10, 2014

Looking Skyward

You may have noticed that astronomical events fascinate me. Not that I'm any sort of astronomer, but I do like to observe eclipses and meteors and, of course, the stars.

I was nine years old when Neil Armstrong took that one giant leap for mankind. No one who grew up in that era could be indifferent to the heavens and the concept of outer space.

But more important, I think, were all those trips to the planetarium.

My high school actually had a planetarium! All through my elementary school years there would be field trips to the high school planetarium. We'd board a bus for the short ride down the road, and soon we would find ourselves sitting in the dark, gazing skyward. The high school teacher would tell us how to find the North Star or where to look for Orion's Belt. We would discuss the Earth's rotation and its orbit around the a Sun. How the ancients called the planets "wanderers" because they travel through the sky. About longitude and latitude, and how sailors navigate by the stars.

The field trips stopped once I entered junior high, and I never took a formal class in astronomy.

But if I'm out and about on a clear night, I find my gaze turning upward...

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