Since re-watching Agora, my lust for stargazing has been rekindled. It's an indescribable feeling looking into the stars. Oddly enough, it's grounding for me to loose myself in the celestial bodies. Somehow, it manages to put my feet back on the earth and helps me remember my place in the Universe. I find it captivating to know that I've shared the same fixed gaze upon a star as millions of other people, my ancestors, ancient peoples...
I think this happens to me during the summer. I'm just now beginning to realize there's a bit of a pattern here. In the Pacific Northwest we have cloud cover more often than not, but during the height of summer you can get a good view of the stars even on the edges of Portland light pollution. One of these days I'll cross the Cascade Mountains and out into the scrubby dry land of eastern Oregon, so I can hopefully make out the spine of our galaxy home the Milky Way.
I've never actually been able to see the stars far from light pollution, or out in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes it shocks me to say that, but I haven't! And it's on my to-do list. Regretfully, it never crossed my mind to look at the night sky while traveling from Iowa to Oregon. Montana, Nevada and Utah all boast some pretty amazing star seeing.
Since I can't just hop in a car (as I do not own one) and run off to the desert I have a few methods of keeping myself star connected...
Sky Map . I can lie out in my backyard and identify the stars as they appear. It's a great tool to train yourself to recognize stars with the naked eye. You'll learn a lot!
If you're not inclined to use your mobile to track the stars, there's an Interactive Star Map I've found. You can use your own location to navigate the sky, wherever you may be, night or day!
Tonight's Sky is handy if you're wanting to know about up coming celestial events and sightings. It's also handy to help pinpoint star cluster viewing.
Oh! There will be a Perseids meteor shower between August 10th-13th! This year is predicted to be a most dazzling show. The shower will be peaking during the few hours just before dawn. Set your alarm clock!
The stars speak of hope and inspiration, mysteries and the unknown in darkness, of very old and ancient beings. When I gaze up at the heavenly bodies, it is a special kind of trance I can achieve. A heat swirls in my solar plexus, it buzzes and hums and something that I can never quite put my finger on snaps into place. For lack of better words, it is the feeling of the deepest connection, of feeling alive and blessed. Try it sometime. Get lost in the stars and allow all that you can see be a thick blanket of twinkling lights, perhaps you'll discover what I'm talking about.
I'll be soaking up as much of the clear night skies as I can before the rain Gods come back into our fertile valley, covering everything in clouds, mist and life giving rain. While I appreciate both sides of the year, I revel in these summer nights.