One of the blog family wrote of getting up in
the small hours of the morning a few years ago and she looked out of the window and saw
stars. So many stars that she was led to write about it in her
blog.

I sent a comment at that time that it reminded me of an December
evening some time ago when I stopped on the west end of town  to
pick up a guy who was riding with me to school. We were in night
classes obviously, and shared to cost of the not inconsiderable trip by
carpooling.

The west end of town is residential only and few
sodium vapor lights to cast their residual glow upward and interfere
with sky gazing. He was waiting by the street  and I picked him up. 
And as I drove toward the outlet onto the Turnpike, I saw a long-shaped
glow. It took up a lot of the sky and it was pitch black outside. I had
to stop anyway before I could pull into traffic so I looked again and
commented to the man with me. He said " Oh. That’s the Milky Way. We
see it all the time. Haven’t you ever seen it before?" He was
unaffected and I sat there staring until he urged me to get onto the
road and get us to our classes (Marketing, if you are curious). Finally
I got a move on and I have never forgotten the wonder since. Never
again saw the Milky Way. But I have seen Venus at it’s usual point
above the horizon, and at the right time of year, Mars and Jupiter
fairly much in opposition with/to one another. That is totally cool.
Even with the naked eye IF you know where to look and when, you can
make out the faintest of reddish cast to Mars. With our telescope, we
got to see it much much better and at the time, Saturn and a few of
Saturn’s rings. Got to see Jupiter and a moon…just one. I bought a
moon filter so we could look at the moon and not have our eyes knocked
out by the brightness once we focused on it. Even got a fuzzy picture
of it then.

 Times have improved in those years and even folks such as
myself or my sons can have a much larger refracting telescope with a
motor. Something we didn’t have back in the days of yore and I or rather we
were most annoyed by having the heavenly object summarily move
itself!!! It was, of course, the Earth’s rotation that seemingly moved
the planets, and it was darned hard to find them again in our sights.
And have you ever had the pleasure of seeing Venus shining so
brilliantly, just under the thin sliver of moon, low on the
horizon..like a diamond or gemstone suspended from the moon’s crescent.
A pendent worthy of the richest mogul but there for we mortals with
wonder in our minds and eyes.

It was funny sometimes though. One, there is a
forest right here at the back of my home. I have written of it.
(leaves, anyone?) and so the boys would set the ‘scope up in the front
yard away from some of the trees but then, the neighbors saw it and
likely thought "those dirty old boys!" or worse, " That dirty old
woman" when we were out there doing our best through the light
pollution and trees to catch a glimpse of the starry heaven.

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