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A glimpse into another world or two…

March 29th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Sunday night we stepped outside to see the stars and planets. A bit late, perhaps to see what’s been on display for days, but at least it was a clear night and I remembered to go look. The girls and I stood out on the porch, bare feet on the cold concrete, staring up at the sky. After our amateur astronomy peek at Venus in a parking lot last week, they were thrilled. It’s been raining but last night the stars were visible. The island where we live restricts outdoor lighting: although at times I’ve wished for better brightness at night, yesterday I was grateful for the clear display and visibility.

I think I could find Venus, Mars and Saturn. I guessed with help of a map. But I was sure we saw Orion and the Big Dipper. Those are the only constellations I think I can find. Abigail and Michaela bounced back into the house yelling “We saw Orion and the Big Dipper”.

Thanks to my friend, Robin, who sent me this link to Planet Panorama with helpful sky maps.

Rayne described her family seeing the planets in The viewing:

So we bundled up in a big flurry, hats and shoes, pajama pants and mittens, then headed out to look at the early evening sky.

The little guy was worried about his pajamas; would anyone notice?

No, it’s too dark, I assured him; they only look like pants. No one will see the pattern of little lizards and frogs all over your legs, I think, only me. I’d mind them far more if these creatures were enough to stop our mission.

There are only a few dozen hazy stars in the sky at 7:45 pm EST as we look up from mid-Michigan. My breath is taken away by the brilliance of Venus, the complete visibility of the entire new and waxing moon, the surprising brightness of Mercury. I hadn’t expected these to be so wonderful.

Read the whole post. As a parent, I appreciated this moment:

We talk for a moment about the significance of this display; they won’t see this many planets in the evening sky with the naked eye for another 32 years. My daughter will be nearly my age. My son laughs at the idea of being a man old enough to have children nearly grown; at six years of age it seems impossible. They both laugh at the idea of me being as old as their grand parents are. I’m glad someone thinks that’s humorous; perhaps it’s just the amusing idea of two grownups and a grandparent standing in a driveway at night looking at stars many years from now.

To think that 32 years from now the planets will be visible again. The same planets. But we parents won’t be the same. We will be older. Perhaps even grandparents. And it may be our own children holding their children, pointing up to the night sky and saying “do you see it?”

Tags: homeschool

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 The Binary Circumstance // Apr 1, 2004 at 4:20 pm

    Showing Children the World

    Julie Leung writes about showing her kids the planets in the sky. She links to Space.com which gives a map of where the five planets which are visible to the naked eye can be found. From Space.com: All five planets