Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Great Beyond

Picture doesn't do it justice, of course.  But I'm surprised we were able to get the camera to take a picture at all.  Isn't it interesting how colorful the stars look captured here?

A few nights ago we took a picnic dinner and drove up into the Uintas so we could see the stars.  It was cold but so beautiful.  So many stars!!  I wonder if you would ever get used to seeing so many stars, if you lived far away from the city, where you could see them like that all the time?  I can go for long periods of time without even thinking about the stars, let alone looking at them and pondering the significance of it all.  But it seems like it would be impossible to avoid thoughts of eternity if you saw a sky like that every night.

While we drove, Sam told the boys stories about space and the stars, (Sam loves astronomy. Just like he loves geology.) and the next day the four of them spent two hours on the computer looking up astronomy pictures and videos and talking about black holes and meteors and the Milky Way and Saturn and dust storms and the Great Red Spot and so forth.  They were all fascinated, of course (even Malachi).  The last few days they've been playing rockets and moon landings and black holes nonstop.

This is a picture Abe drew yesterday.  Labelled items are: the Milky Way, the moon, galaxies (spiral), space, Jupiter (note the red spot near the bottom), Mars, Saturn (with eight moons), Earth, a rocket, and a black hole.

It was cool to think about space. I used to think about it when I was little (I wanted to be an astronaut, who didn't?) but it's been a while and I've gotten all jaded and used to the idea of it, I guess. But it's just as amazing as it ever was. All those stars! The vast, incomprehensible sizes of things! Are there other planets like ours? Which of the stars has already burned out but the light is still reaching us? I got all excited, thinking about it, and started wanting to be an astronaut again.  Do you suppose I'll ever get my chance at that? :)


  1. What a fun trip! Philip is always wanting to plan things around a new moon so we can have starry skies (light pollution is bad here). We just watched a documentary about getting to the moon (Apollo missions), and we were talking about wanting to be astronauts as kids. :) I saw a really bright meteor (shooting star) Sunday night, and found myself having similar thoughts about its origin, where the core landed, etc. Fun stuff.

  2. I just found out one of my friends works at NASA, and I was so jealous -- suddenly all my Space Camp dreams came rushing back (too bad I'm too old for that). I LOVE astronomy and commonly refer to my old textbook from BYU. Can't get enough!

  3. My students got me completely off track this week asking about Pluto and planets during the middle of our grammar instruction. Fortunately, I think that sort of thing is totally worthwhile.

  4. I don't like stars. They don't move when I want them too. And they make me try to understand things with sizes way bigger than my imagination. I'd rather go to bed. But maybe that's just the puppies talking . . .

    another ellipsis

  5. the spelling on that picture is about the cutest thing I've ever seen!