A Scoop of Stars

February 24, 2013 at 8:15 am (Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I center myself by finding Orion in the Night Sky. In Winter, under clear skies, I always find him easy to find. I look for the three stars that are his belt and follow them down and up to complete the torso. Orion is headless, don’t you know! The Orion Nebula is situated south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. He is one of the most noticeable constellations in the night sky due in part to the very thing that makes him famous, Orion’s Belt. The belt is made up of three individual stars: Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. Orion’s belt was a major plot point in Men in Black!

The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye, in the night sky. This makes it easy for me to find Orion; I find the nebula, I find Orion!  I find him easiest to find in Winter.

Perhaps, because it is in Winter when I am more likely to be out after dark. The days are shorter; there is more dark. Perhaps it is because Orion is only visible, here on my side of the world, from October to April. When I am out in the dark now it is usually morning . As a girl, if I was out after dark it was usually after midnight. Now, I walk to work under indigo and cerulean skies. Then, I walked home, from babysitting jobs, long after twilight under starlit, midnight black skies.

I would gaze at the skies looking forward and backward at the same time. The skies of my childhood were always clear, cold and endless. I would follow the phases of the moon and delight in the aurora borealis. There seemed to be more sky then.

I grew up in a small town surrounded by open fields and skies. The sunrises and sunsets were always visible, blocked by nothing. I’ve been mostly a city girl since I graduated high school; sunrises, sunsets and open skies are harder to find. There are buildings blocking the view. There is light pollution. I am hardly ever out late at night when the aurora borealis sings.

So, the variances of the night sky are always a delight. Look how close that full moon is! Where are the dippers (the first constellations I learned to find) tonight? Is that a planet or a comet or (horrors) a satellite up above? I need a Night Sky app!

Will I ever be able to find Cassiopeia and the seven sisters? Cassiopeia is a Queen in her chair who got herself into a lot of trouble, leading to the story of Andromeda and Perseus and involving no less than six constellations in the sky, the most involved of any of the constellation legends. Of all the constellations in the sky, no group of stars has been known longer nor had more different stories, legends, or myths told about it than the Pleiades (the seven sisters).

I find the most intriguing night sky discoveries happen between midnight and sunrise. I remember driving home from the city, with my eldest sister, one very late August night. The sky suddenly lit up with hundreds of shooting stars. Neither of us could explain the phenomenon. I learned after that it was the Perseid Meteor Shower.

Looking at the sky, that night, was awe inspiring. Hundreds of shooting stars, too many to make wishes on, and no idea of the why. No wonder there are so many stories told about the stars and under the stars. Though I will no longer sleep on hard ground under starry skies, I still long to explore the stars and learn their legends.

I miss hours spent watching the night sky revolve around me.

Looking up night sky

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;
While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? —
Then you’ve a haunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.

The Shooting of Dan McGrew
By Robert W. Service

Thanksgiving Moon

I met a girl in university, a new friend, who knew all the constellations and where to find them. She teaches and writes about stars now. She is an avid Science Fiction reader and has always been. I think, given the change, she would quickly hop the next shuttle up and out to space. She is Helen of Troy, a goddess, a paladin, a Djinn.

Me, I like the Terra Firma here. I don’t need to touch the stars to know them. It is enough to wonder and experience and remember.

Cold, clear nights. Cold, clear mornings. I look up. I look back. I look forward.

I am awe-struck with wonder and delight.

I am awe-struck.

Almost Full Moon

I want a giant ice cream scoop. Never mind, I can use the little dipper! I want to scoop up pieces of cold, clear night sky speckled with twinkly, colourful stars and swallow them down into my very soul so that I will always have access to the calmness of cerulean mornings, indigo nights, twilight and starlight.

I am star-struck.

1 Comment

  1. Laurie Kazmierczak said,

    Enjoyed your blog….I look for Orion in my night sky as well♫

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