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April 9, 2011 / Avarielle

Seeing the Stars: My first Stargazing Session

Yesterday, I went for my first ever stargazing session at the local Science Centre Observatory. A group of people had telescopes out on the lawn for viewing. And the observatory was open for us to go in and look.

The folks there were nice and happy to let anyone view the skies through their telescopes.

First telescope I looked through was pointed at the moon. I was blown away. I had never seen the moon up close before.

One of the folks had their telescope pointed at Saturn so I went to take a look. I was blown away for a second time. I mean, I can see Saturn from my balcony at home but it’s just a reddish star. Through a telescope, I could see the rings around the planet.

After that, I wandered around for a bit and decided to check out the observatory. Popped in and it was really crowded. So I decided to go back later.

So I headed back into the main building. There is a classroom there with astronomy books out. And on the tables there was colouring pages. And completed pages were stuck on the wall. One of the colouring pages had Saturn coloured as the Annoying Orange. I nearly died laughing. And another page had Saturn as a Great Ball. I also laughed at that.

After that, I went back out to see more stuff.

At this point, I was just bumming around, wandering around and drooling at all the telescopes.

Finally I decided to go back up to the observatory to try my luck.

When I got there, they just had gotten done with with looking at the Orion Nebula. So I missed out on that – kind of. But everyone requested to look at Saturn so they had to turn the telescope around. It was pretty cool getting to watch them turn the telescope around. The entire dome just moved around and the main telescope moved. Of course we had to get out of the way so that we couldn’t get hit by it.

After waiting for a bit, and letting some kids take a look first, I finally got my turn at the telescope. I WAS EPICALLY BLOWN AWAY. I saw Saturn, the rings AND OMG I SAW TITAN, the largest moon. SO EPIC.

(and we all know how Saturn is VERY RELEVANT to me currently)

After that, I stood around with a I AM IN EPIC AWE look on my face for a bit. Then headed back down to see what else I could see.

Then I wanted to go hide in air-conditioning for a while so headed back to the classroom. Since I was bored, I took one of the colouring sheets to colour. Me being me, I took the Saturn colouring page. Ended up drawing an awful picture of Cassini-Huygens in front of the planet. And I was using the picture of the space probe I have as my wallpaper on my phone as reference. Since I was using crayons, I did an awful job at colouring. But at least I had tons of fun.

Then headed back out again.

One of the folks how had their telescope pointed at the Orion Nebula so I got to take a look at that after all. From what I gathered by listening to people, there’s a cluster of four stars inside the nebula called the Trapezoid, because that is exactly what it looks like. So I got to take a look at that.

Also popped by this massive binoculars and got another look at Saturn. And also looked at the moon through a couple other telescopes.

Finally everyone started to pack up and leave so I left.

In summary: an amazing night. I don’t regret going. And I am seriously considering buying a telescope.

(When I was much younger, about 5 – 6 years old, I was obsessed with astronomy. I could recite the names of the planets – in order. I knew about the Milky Way. My favourite book was about astronomy. Then I discovered history and my astronomy interest was left alone. Said interest didn’t return until just a couple of months ago. At least, this time round, I have the Internet and the astronomy apps on my iPad to help me. And not forgetting Google Sky Map on my phone.)

Also, new category: Star stuff contemplating the stars From a Carl Sagan qoute and the song “Our Place in the Cosmos

There are stargazing sessions at the Science Centre Observatory every Friday from 7: 50pm to 10pm. The public is welcome and admission is free. Check out their website for more info. Or follow them on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date.

No photos because I didn’t have my digicam with me and because my phone’s camera cannot capture good pictures in low light conditions.

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