Stars and Planets

[You are seeing this in your e-mail as I’m slowly moving old posts from my old blog to this new one. Please bear with this for a while as I still have some posts to transfer. You can go ahead and read this if you haven’t read it before!]

One of the most amazing things about being in Singapore is that the largest telescope along the equator is open to the public every Friday night. Theoretically, being along the equator means that you could see stars on both sides of the hemisphere. This is by far one of the best use of tax-payers’ money. Every Friday, you could just pop by to visit the Observatory and catch a glimpse of the stars and planets. There, trained volunteers – astronomy enthusiasts – are present to explain the wonders of the universe to you.

20 Jan 2012. That was the day I brought The Girlfriend to the Observatory. It was her first time there. I’ve been there before twice, but unfortunately the sky had been too cloudy to see anything. That day was our lucky day. Even though the sky was cloudy, it was clear enough to see two planets – Venus and Jupiter – and a few stars. It was therefore, to our excitement, the first time we’d get a chance to look into space and catch a glimpse of the stars and planets out there.

In a place like Singapore, where buildings are so brightly lit throughout the night, it’s easy to forget that there are stars up in the night sky. Or sometimes we do remember it, but the surrounding might have been too bright or the sky might have been too cloudy to see anything.

It was truly awesome to have been able to introduce The Girlfriend to the awesomeness of the night sky and just how mind-blowing it is to realise that the stars we see today could have come from stars millions of light-years away! Let’s say a star was a million light years away: to see that star in our night sky is to see the very light that emanated from a source one million years ago. As of this moment, that star may not exist anymore. But we won’t know until a million years after its dissipation.

To look at the stars in the night sky is to see the past in the present. Not just one moment of the past in this present moment, but a vast collection of past events (each star seen is one historical moment reflected in the present moment) glittering in the present moment of the night.

Wow. Simply mind-blowing.

It was really cool just being there. We saw Venus, Jupiter, the Orion constellation, the Orion Nebula (a.k.a. M42), Pleiades, and a few other stars whose names we couldn’t remember.

Even after leaving the Observatory, we couldn’t help but to keep looking up at the night sky, gazing at the stars. Our necks ached, but it was still quite a mesmerising experience.

Since then, looking up at the sky has been one of our favourite activities. Even while there are hoards of people rushing from one place to another, we’d be standing still, looking up, hoping to spot a star or a planet, gazing at it until our necks begin to ache. =)

 

(If you’re a new reader here and you’re wondering why we’re sharing such stories, read “A Prologue to The Relationship” for the inside scoop!)