What's in the Morning Sky

#astronomy #planet

I go for a walk every morning at 5am. It gives me time to think and get my mind straight for the upcoming day. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated with astronomy so it’s no surprise to me that I love to check out night sky during my walks, looking for the few constellations that I can identify. Sometime last week I noticed an especially bright star almost due south just below the half moon. It was always the last star to wink out when the sun came up so it I used an awesome little iPhone application called Planets to confirm that it wasn’t actually a star, but Saturn, the sixth planet out from our sun.

That makes it close in astronomical terms, practically a next door neighbor. This makes me even more fascinated. This is another planet, a whole different world. With its own weather and its own moons, doing its own thing. It’s more than 800 million miles away and we can see it without the use of a fancy telescope. I can’t help but wonder, what more is out there? I kept an eye on it for the last few days, noticing its relative position to the moon and watching it get higher in the sky each day.

This morning, I was stopped by an elderly, gentleman. He pointed out the light to me and informed me that it wasn’t a star because it never moved. He explained that it must be a government drone that was watching the border between the US and Mexico just a few miles to the south. I tried explaining that he was correct in determining that it was not a star, but in fact, it was actually the planet Saturn. There was a bit of a language barrier in the conversation and each time I used the word ‘planet’, he understood that as ‘plane’, which only reinforced the idea that it was a government drone.

After a couple of minutes talking about it, we went our separate ways and I started thinking about the conversation. My study of other planets, stars and galaxies since I was young has provided me with the ability to look at a pinpoint of light that is millions of miles away and experience a sense of awe and wonder. Knowing just how awesome this universe is makes our little corner of it just seem that much better because we’re a part of it.

This was the first time that I realized that there are some people that don’t get that same feeling when they look at the night sky and I genuinely feel that they’re missing out on something wonderful.

So, the next time you’re outside at night, take a moment and look up at the night sky. Notice the stars and ask yourself, what else is up there?