Friday, September 14, 2007

Look To The Sky

For the longest time I couldn’t see much in the night sky beyond the Big/Little Dippers and the Orion’s Belt asterisms. I’ve always liked to stargaze, but most patterns escaped me.

A few years ago I started getting up early and going outside and looking. I often go through my morning prayer cycle while staring up at the stars. It makes me feel big and small at the same time. It’s also a tad hard on the neck. I don’t care, though, especially now that I can see more constellations.

Eventually I learned how to look. I needed to take the bigger view so I could see beyond the belt to the whole hunter.
The Pleiades are close by, but very hard to see if you look right at them. Use your side vision to see the Seven Sisters and they’ll show nicely.

I’d read that the Bull was somewhere near the Hunter and the Seven Sisters, but I could never get a bead on it.
Eventually I found the main red star, Aldebaran, but couldn’t out together the V shape of the Hyades.
Then one day I did. And then I saw what appeared to be a calf in the sky with the V as its head.
The Hunter uses his shield to ward off Taurus while his dog Sirius is at his heel. Finally, I got it.

These patterns are easy to spot this time of year. Orion and the Pleiades are high in south-southeast and the Bull’s head is right between them. The V and Aldebaran draw the gaze in.

I couldn’t see them for the longest time because I was trying too hard. Looking too intently. Then one morning a few years ago I stepped outside thinking of something else and the V was obvious.

Now, each September I look skyward in the early hours and find them and am reminded: stop trying so hard.

7 comments:

The Bag Lady said...

Good for you for getting out there in the mornings, Leah. It's been nice and clear here in the mornings, but also damned cold, so I haven't bundled up to go out. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not. Brrr. I've never been able to distinguish any of those constellations, either. The big and little dippers are the extent of my celestial knowledge. I'll have to try harder, I guess.

bunnygirl said...

Sadly for me, living in the inner city means there's no time of night when I would be able to see much more than the very brightest stars.

But I went to an outdoorswoman camp last spring and we had a nighttime star-watching session. Wow! I saw SO much! The combination of being out in the country and having an expert to point things out to you makes a big difference!

Leah J. Utas said...

Well Bag Lady, I'll tell you what, if we ever find ourselves together outside of a September morn I'll point 'em out to you. Or a winter evening for that matter. Once you've seen them, they're easier to find.

Hello Bunnygirl - That sounds like a wonderful experience. I'd love to go on a starwatching session.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Leah,

You have put star gazing on my to-do list the next time I am somewhere with great night visibility.

Terrie

Crabby McSlacker said...

So I could have sworn I left a comment here yesterday--must have forgotten to go from preview to publish!

I really struggle with any endeavor that requires "not trying too hard". Trying is sort of an on/off switch for me--not at all or Full On. Probably my problem with meditation stems from the same difficulty.

Glad you're getting out there and enjoying them!

Dawn said...

I really relate to your comment on how star gazing makes you feel "big and small at the same time". I feel the same. The constellations show at different times down here in the southern hemisphere but I do agree that someone to actually point some of the main ones out does help. Happy star gazing!

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Dawn - I've had the pleasure of seeing the constellations in the southern sky. It was a treat.