Seeing Stars

I looked through a telescope!

Now you might wonder how I could be married to an astronomer for 8 years and never have looked through a telescope – well the telescopes he uses do not have eye-pieces and the observing is done by computer.

But…   when we first started going out he gave a talk at the Sydney Observatory and aferwards we were given a private tour of the observatory and telescope. It was late afternoon and the telescope was pointed at Saturn especially for us. 

When it was my turn I walked forward and promptly poked  the view finder directly into my eye!!  I certainly saw stars!!  

I was so mortified that I stood there staring into the telescope even though I could see nothing but tears and my eye and brow bone were aching in pain. I uttered something along the lines of "oh, that's amazing" … and stepped back keeping my head down.

As we were walking down the stairs the astro-dweeb whispered into my ear "how's your eye?"  He later told me that he could hear the crack of my bone hitting the viewfinder!  How embarrassing!!  

I got a decent black eye from the incident and a lot of laughs when I explained how I got it!  

So anyway ….  on the side of the road not far outside Coonabarabran is the Skywatch Observatory with a 12 inch telescope and it seemed time that I attempt star gazing again.

The astro-dweeb went off to socialize with the owner & chef of the Star Thai Restaurant (on site at Skywatch) while I joined a group of 13 others (mostly Swedish).

First we gazed at the night sky oohing and aahing at the Southern Cross (which you can't see in the Northern Hemisphere) and the Milky Way.  It was an incredibly clear night.

Then we headed into the dome and looked through the telescope at Mars followed by the stars Sirius and Betelgeuse (pronounced like Beetlejuice); then the Orion Nebula (beautiful) and Alpha Centauri.

They saved the best till last – Saturn and then the Moon!  It was spectacular!  And I managed to do it all without hurting myself!

Out near the Siding Spring Observatory we saw a group of kangaroos by the side of the road.  I got out of the car and approached them to take photos  – I was surprised that they were not more scared of me.  There are actually about 12 'roos in this group:

Eventually they got sick of me ……. once this "leader"  headed off they all did.

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14 responses

  1. Wow..if you see kangaroos and emus by the roadside, I wonder what going to the wilderness would bring. lol @ the telescope story..the things we do for love. Stargazing is particularly suited for romance, though, isn't it? šŸ™‚

  2. Oooh! Ouch! Too bad for your eye. The astronomical viewing there must be amazing. I once walked amongst 'roos at a zoo. They hopped across my path with wild abandon, almost as if they were saying, "nanner nanner nanner… we can hop about but you can't!" They were surprisingly large and perhaps a bit frightening. Seeing them in the wild would be very cool.Your photos are amazing and I am really enjoying them. I'm taking a virtual trip through Oz without the long flight listening to Johnny Cash!

  3. I'm so glad you finally got to look through a telescope. I haven't had the opportunity for a long time. Back about 20 years ago when I was teaching we had a 6-inch reflector at the school that I would take home with me every summer (no sense in letting it collect dust for 3 months!) and spend lots of nights looking at the stars. It usually involved being up at 3 or 4 in the morning to see the really good stuff. Winter star gazing has much more convenient hours, but it's so darn cold outside!

  4. LOL – my black eye! It still makes for such a funny story. Basically in the outback there are the same animals – just many more of them šŸ™‚ plus some other cooly named marsupials… wombat, platypus, wallabies, etc etc.

  5. LOL – I remember the first time I saw a deer – I was riding my bike through a park in Maryland. I was so excited I nearly fell off my bike! My friend explained that it is only exciting the first couple of times …. I guess it is a bit the same with kangaroos here – they are considered a pest by farmers.

  6. LOL the Johnny Cash comment! Thank you for remembering my "taste" in music!
    'Roos can be very frightening. If cornered they can kill a large dog. Their hind legs and tails are incredibly strong.

  7. That sounds a cool thing to do. It really was quite amazing to be seeing these stars/planets – I was so glad to have a second "chance" to do it – and in my own hemisphere!

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