For our last anniversary, I bought a telescope for Malcolm. We share a wonderment for the universe and how it operates. Often, you will find us watching shows like “Ancient Aliens”, “How the Universe Works”, or “The Cosmos”. We have many conversations about how gravity works, black holes, nebulae, quasars, stars, the solar system, etc.
Last Saturday, we used it for the first time on a stargazing date. Sounds so high school romancey, right? I haven’t done it since then. And it felt as magical as ever. We left the pups at home and drove to one of my favorite places in the world. I discovered it a few years ago when I was exploring on my own. No one I know knows about it, it’s not on any maps I’ve seen. There are frequent visitors, mostly campers, during the day, but it’s silent at night. Not one car drove by while we were up there.
Most of the time we were there was spent finding, focusing, and adjusting. We had our flashlights on while setting it up, and then we shut them off. The world went dark. Our eyes slowly adjusted. We could hear a critter of some kind, probably small, tittering about on the other side of a bush. Therefore, most of my time was spent listening for scary wilderness creatures to eat us and Malcolm reassuring me that it was a very small creature.
We also detected the sound of bats squeaking all around us. We couldn’t see them, but we could hear them batting about us. It felt a little like that scene from Batman, but mostly awe inspiring.
As we were discussing whether or not to stay longer, the moon rose, amber gold on the horizon. A harvest moon. I have never taken a picture or a video through a telescope before (as my telescoping days happened in like 1999), so the video above (sound on for etherial music) is the best shot we captured. By the time we got the scope aimed and focused, the moon was a brilliant butter yellow and white. The video is not precise or accurate at all, but I find it more mysterious that way. The moon has always mystified me, so I think it’s an accurate picture of how we were feeling on that mountain top.
Wishing you many socially distanced, fun dates ahead,
P.S. If you need a little extra push to organize a stargazing date of your own, a meteor shower will be visible on the southern horizon tonight after the sun sets. You can also view it just before the sun comes up the day after. We’re hoping to scope it out (heh, I’m debating whether or not to leave that in. Probz going to leave it). 🙂