Monday, December 03, 2012

Appreciating the Night Sky

I saw a link to this video on BoingBoing about the profound sight of the star-filled night sky.

If possible, it's best to view the video in fullscreen HD.

Yosemite National Park:

Even though I live in a relatively populated area, it's still possible on clear nights for me to look up and see a starry sky.

When I go to a more isolated lake in the Pocono mountains for vacation, I sit out on the dock with my brothers & my brother-in-law, late into each night. While relaxing with beer & cigars by the lake, we get to see a much more brilliant sky, where the Milky Way band is easily visible. Known to the ancients as the Great Rift, it's easy to see why this celestial feature instilled such wonder in our ancestors.

 The Milky Way (& it's alignment to other heavenly bodies) is the central focus of all the theories about the end of the Mayan Baktun this month- December 2012. I've talked about this phenomenon before, but I've got plans for Dec. 22... so I'm hoping the 'galactic alignment' doesn't screw things up too much!

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Anyone with an imaginative spirit is naturally enthralled by the vast cosmos that surrounds us.

It's hard NOT to feel like you're mind is going to explode when you think deeply about the scale and complexity of the Universe.
It is entirely possible to oscillate between nihilistic feelings of utter insignificance... to ecstatic, awestruck wonder at being One with this amazing existence.

From Paul's Portrait

On a related note:
One app on my iPhone that's indispensable is Stellarium. It is augmented reality software that lets you pick out stars & planets in the sky. It is an amazing use for a smartphone that would have seemed impossible less than a decade ago.
The other day, I was out to eat with my parents & I saw a bright object right next to the moon. Using Stellarium, I was able to point out that it was Jupiter!
It definitely comes in handy while sitting out at night looking at the stars with friends or family.

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