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Things We All Ought To See

040402_iod_venus_04.jpg Everyone should go look at the images and news at this site every once in a while. I don’t much care about strange sounds being heard on the space station but I do think that seeing images of space is about the closest thing we can have to that old story of the Romantic Era when poets looked at waterfalls and clouds and had intimations of the eternal, and felt holy terror at the immensity of nature and the tininess of themselves.

This image, by the way, is of Venus in Pleiades. I remember seeing Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, when I was a childup in Northern Canada. It was so bright in the dark, starry skies above the little town where I lived, and I was out on a stargazing outing with the cub scouts. One of the older boys pointed out something called the Seven Sisters to me, and it just seemed so mythical, that name, that I fell in love with those seven little stars, so far away. Imagine my annoyance at discovering, later, that a bunch of UFO-cultists were claiming that aliens were visiting earth from their home system of Pleiades. I wanted to know the real Pleaides but all I could ever find information about, in those days, was about UFO abductions and alien visitations and the like.

But the Seven Sisters remain as beautiful as they did that night when I, as a child, looked up across space into their tiny, shining eyes. Perhaps someday when I visit my family, I shall talk someone into taking a trip up to that little northern town again, and going out to look at the stars.

Not that I am feeling a shortage; I stargazed on half the nights I stayed in Dharamsala, actually, and it was breathtaking to see so much of them after being in Korea two years… where you can often see only a couple of stars in daily life, thanks to light pollution. But in the country, you can see more. I think it’ll be time for a camping and fishing trip as soon as it’s a little warmer out. I don’t think it’ll be hard to convince the rest of the band, either. I’m looking forward to that.

Anyway, I recommend, it’s worth checking out.

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