Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Starry Night

I have been wondering for the last month or so, why I had never once seen Orion in the sky since moving here. Why? Was it avoiding me?

Well, last night I left school at around 3:40 a.m., and when I arrived at the top of the hill, on my way back down into the valley and my apartment, there was Orion in the sky, leading me home. The sky was crystal clear, and the southwestern sky, which always seemed tainted by clouds or light pollution, was instead as beautiful as the northern sky.

I stood there for ten minutes or so, awestruck.

I wondered whether Orion was my favourite constellation or not. The challengers would be the good old reliable big dipper, or the mysterious tortured Cassiopeia. I guess that I love all three, in different ways, and all powerfully. Sigh.

Still, though, the beautiful night sky here in town just makes me want to get back to Mongolia ASAP. The night sky there was unlike any I'd seen in my life, so brilliant and vast and incomprehensible. In Mongolia, they should charge admission to go outside at night.

Did van Gogh ever experience a sky like that, or was Europe in his day already too polluted by the industrial revolution? It must have still been that pure night sky, and I imagine that Pierre also looked up at a similar sky at the entrance to Arbat square.

4 comments:

Bil The Man said...

Nah, I bet the sky sucked for him too. I remember the sky at my Grands in North Dakota. It was breathtaking. Also, the only place I've seen the northern lights. Uncomparable. Interesting musing about constellations. It is funny to think that they are one hundred percent about our perspective in both time and space. In another couple of thousand years I suppose Orion will lose his belt. Poor Xyzzy probably has no idea what you are talking about.

Tall Medstudent said...

The aurora borealis was also occasionally visible in Ottawa, but it was always rather faint.

Man, the other day I was thinking how lucky I was to be alive when comet Hyakutake came to town.

My next 'project' is the little dipper. I think that I saw half of it yesterday, with the other half hidden by the hospital. It's never in the right place when I either go to school or come back home...

Xyzzy said...

Alas, we don't have a visible sky. But I've seen the most flamboyant stars that you could ever imagine, zipping around the galaxy in my vehicle. One beauty, a monstrous blue one, nearly melted my craft! Perhaps the most beautiful sky I've ever observed was when I landed on the desert planet Mokre -- shades of lavender, looking as if it were woven with silver filament.

Pray tell, who is Orion? Your best friend?

Tall Medstudent said...

I can only imagine what space looks like from space.

Perhaps if someone built a very large vacuum cleaner, once could sit inside the bag and get a sense of what it must be like.

Orion and I used to hang out on Westpark Drive, back in the old days.