One of my favorite things to do is to watch the stars. I'm very much an amateur stargazer, but depending on the season, I can pick out two or three constellations, including the one for my birth sign, Scorpio. That's how I noticed the planet. If you go outside right after dark and look to the east, you'll see a line of three stars, with three stars below it. The second star in the below is Antares, and that's the constellation of Scorpio. If you go a slight bit north, you'll see a very bright reddish object.
I've been watching this object for the last few weeks, because I like to check myself by picking out Scorpio. I knew it was a planet, and I'd dismissed it as Jupiter 'cause it was so bright.
Turns out, the news was blabbering about why today was a very special summer solstice. Not just because it was the longest day of the year on the North American continent, that's not very special at all...it happens every year. But...if you went out and looked up to the stars tonight, you would have seen that bright planet, the red planet, Mars, at its closest to Earth. The planet I'd so casually dismissed as Jupiter because of its brightness was actually something a little more special.
Turns out, that's not the only reason today was special. The first solar eclipse of the 3rd millenium happened today, in South Africa. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see this, but one of my lifelong goals is to see a solar eclipse in person.
Astronomy is something that now I'm in love with because I had a really awesome professor. I know tons about how stars are made, and why they work the way they do, because of my professor. If you're at UC Berkeley, and you need four more units, take Alex Filippenko's Astronomy 10. It's really an eye opener. Plus, I got to do cool things, like sit in the same room as the three meter telescope AS IT IS WORKING. If that doesn't make you feel small and insignifigant, yet powerful, then you're not human.
Alex, if you stumble across this someday, thank you. You're one of the best profs I had in Berkeley, and I find wonder in the stars because of you. I think this is the highest praise that can be given a teacher.
When I called the moon back to me
I thought all she wanted was beauty
I showed her the best that vanity buys
I covered the path where my life turned to lies
And the moon kept on rising
And I felt nothing at all
She shines on crumbling walls
When the empire falls
And I know you'll be calling me soon
And if I don't answer I'm calling the moon