I don’t know how it is that it took me this long to look into a telescope for the first time. Maybe I’m not outdoorsy enough, or that I know of no family members or friends that are crazy about looking out into the solar system. But tonight, I stood in line to look through a million dollar telescope. There were a lot of people waiting, and many people gave up and left – fed up with the line. But I waited. It’s not often that I find time for this opportunity, and you can never tell with visibility. The visibility was fantastic tonight. Hardly a cloud.
One of the reasons the line up felt so long was because the astronomer spent a long time looking for the constellation Hercules tonight. He fiddled with opening the roof and realigning the telescope for about 10 – 15 minutes. It was exciting.
I had to stand on tip toe and steady myself by holding the ladder. It wasn’t quite what I expected. I didn’t see the splashes of red and orange and purple I had hoped to see. It was a dark blue sky. The stars were different. They were abundant. It was like…a maze. A web. Like the moment you pick up a dandelion and blow into it. The image of a sudden spray of pollen flying out into the air is how I might describe what I saw through that telescope – except it was a flurry of stars. I wish I could have stared longer. I kept readjusting my glasses, my focus, but there were so many people waiting.
It was great to experience, nevertheless. Knowing the stars is an art, I feel. A lost one. The guide told us of how, a long, long time ago, before there was TV and music and internet, the only entertainment people had was to go out into the night sky and observe the stars. They all knew the stars then. That’s where all the stories from the constellations come from. Now, it’s hard to even make them out. But they are still so beautiful. I have always preferred the starry night sky over all else. Kinda like the glass half full or half empty question, I remember being asked as a child whether I prefer a sunrise or a sunset. I answered: sunset, because after that, comes the stars.
Some images I took from within the dome tonight. Digital, albeit. But still lovely.