While walking into town this evening with Miss 13 on a doomed mission to purchase tea lights for the pumpkins the children have been carving for Halloween, I happened to look up at the night sky.
After the clocks changed last weekend we have dark skies in the evening again. Twinkling overhead we saw Cassiopeia, Ursa Major, and almost certainly a planet. I pointed them out as we walked. The constellations have become old friends – returning during the winter months to decorate the night skies.
Mentally joining the dots between the stars – jumping from Orion, to Taurus, to the Pleiades – has never lost it’s fascination for me. I doubt it ever will. I still remember the first time I saw the double star Albireo through a telescope – eyes resolve a bright twinkling jewel in the centre of Cygnus – through a lense the jewel becomes a pair of blue and golden stars, almost touching – through an observatory telescope, the two become three.
Anyway. The stars have returned. Look up. The light from the closest took fifty years to get here – the light from the farthest many thousands of years. Think about that – the light we see overhead on a dark night left those stars long before recorded history began. I think that’s kind of awesome.