Earlier this evening, Bob pinged me. "Go look at the moon!" I went outside, and enjoyed the slight child (by Florida standards). I still have to orient myself as to where things are in the night sky here, but I soon looked west at a beautiful crescent moon.
Below it, two very bright stars. Well, they might look like stars, but I remembered my nightly drive home from work when Ed and I lived just outside the DC Beltway. Many a night, I'd be listening to Stardate on NPR and driving through the USDA Agricultural Studies facility in Beltsville.
It was probably the best place to be in the DC metro area if you wanted to stargaze. I remembered December broadcasts of years ago. Sandy Wood said the two bright bodies weren't stars at all, rather, they were Venus and Jupiter. (Sorry Bob, I had the song in my head, thinking Venus and Mars)
Yes, I'm an astronomy junkie. I can't name many of those constellations, maybe a dozen. But I can always find you Orion-even when standing in a city with way too much light polluting the atmosphere. The enjoyment of viewing the night sky started with all those planetarium trips, but the four years living on top of a mountain sealed the deal for me.
Three miles out of a one horse town, 30 miles from the county seat (then not so big, now a little bigger), 100 miles from either DC or Baltimore, over 100 miles from Pittsburgh, you can see A LOT of stars at night. You can even see that haze of the Milky Way. In the spring and fall, you might have found me out in the yard on a blanket or in the hammock, staring up at that sky. It was so...pretty.
Do me a favor tonight, please? Go take a look at the moon and two of those other rocks that orbit the sun. It's a pretty sight.