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Stargazer October 26, 2009

Posted by tlwonline in Uncategorized.
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The first thing I do after walking out of  a building at night, whether it be my house, my place of employment ,  or wherever… is look up.

The night sky has always captivated me.  Those thousands of tiny points of light glittering against the blackness of space. The moon and it’s phases,  and the changing positions of the planets as they wander through our solar system.  I recall in my childhood memories,  many a summer night lying on the grass  in the backyard and just gazing into the heavens for hours on end.

At the age of seven I received a telescope for Christmas; a 60mm refractor. It was one of those cheap department store brands , but I didn’t know that at the time. All that mattered to me was that I now had a “real” telescope and I was no longer just a passive stargazer,  but an astronomer.  I was soon hopping from star to star and cruising along the craters of the moon,  discovering the moons of Jupiter, and some fuzzy objects that I later learned were not stars but entire galaxies which contained hundreds of thousands of stars! They are so distant they appeared as a smudges in my little telescope.  From then on I was hooked on astronomy!

Years have now passed since that first telescope and I am now well into middle age, but my passion for the stars and the fantastic universe that  holds them has never subsided.  I never became a professional astronomer as I once envisioned,  or any type of scientist for that matter,  life took me in another direction,  and that’s alright with me .

I now spend cold Alaskan nights under the stars as opposed to warm summer ones,  because in these far northern latitudes the stars are only visible in the winter. The summers here are dominated by the nearest star, our sun, which sets after midnight and barely stays below the horizon before coming up again.  This is due to the fact that the Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees on it’s axis, and Alaska, being closer to the North Pole, is pointed toward the sun in the summer, and away from the sun in the winter.  Somewhat different from the stargazing days in my native Michigan. However, I do not see this as an obstacle to my astronomical pursuits, but an opportunity to study a star up close, the sun!

So as life goes on for me in the last frontier I will continue on with my studies of the final frontier! Peace be with you, and start looking up!