Tuesday, November 10, 2020

a memorable night

Couldn't sleep.

Opened my library e-book and resumed reading At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life by Guy P. Harrison. Hit chapter 9. He started:

One memorable night in the Cayman Islands several years ago I was up late, well past midnight, alone in the backyard with my telescope.

What? What?!

It was dark, cool, and silent;  there were no mosquitos, and my wife and kids were asleep in the house.  Even my beloved dog had abandoned me.  It was just me and the universe, alone at last.  At some point during [the] night, I realized that one of those rare moments of near perfection had snuck up on me.  I had observed a few fine sights through the telescope that night, but it was with naked eyes that I saw the most stunning sight of all...  For the first time, I saw my larger home and truly realised where I was.

Isn't that lovely?

This resonates with me on many levels.

I love "whole sky" viewing, watching the sky slowly, inexorably move. I love looking at all the stars and the swath of our galaxy. It's humbling and exhilarating at the same time.

While I enjoy sharing views, I understood his moment of solitude, soaking in this feeling, one small lifeform on one small world in the vast black. The quiet.

I went to the Caymans, or the main island anyway circa 1989. It was a lovely trip, Jolie and I had a fantastic time, beautiful place, very nice people, stunning beaches, incredible water, amazing weather.

And while I was interested in astronomy at the time, I don't remember looking up. I know we went out and about at night but I didn't look up! 

Mind you, we were probably sloshed on rum.

And now, years later, that is my one regret. I didn't enjoy the night sky there, didn't take in the unique vista, didn't exploit my location, particularly at a latitude some 25 degrees south of where I am. What south treats would we have seen?

Oh to live there. Oh to have a telescope there...

No comments: