Looking up – The Suburban Times


Only last Tuesday my husband and I watched Saturn travel the evening sky. (Photo: NASA @https: //unsplash.com/)

When I was a child, my mother would show me the Big Dipper in the night sky and Orion. I nodded conscientiously, but I was never able to find them out for myself. For me, they were stars like any other. Beautiful to watch. A little mysterious. Certainly, no constellations.

Then our city built a planetarium and my parents took my younger brother and I to a show. For me, it was like a movie without a plot. Interesting but not exciting. I remember the speaker talking about supernovas. Armstrong and Collins were also mentioned. It was confusing and somewhat scary – lifeless worlds. Everywhere, endlessly.

I only started looking for constellations in my early twenties. Pretty funny in the most unlikely place – outdoor parties on my college campus on hot summer nights. Not much to discover in a sky lit by city lights. Now I was able to find the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia and – in the colder seasons – Orion.

Jason Whalen for Lakewood City Council

It was my husband who sparked my real fascination with the afterlife with a telescope he produced on a very cold winter night in England. At the time, he lived in a small village with a large dark night sky above. He regularly looked at astronomical charts on the Internet, and whenever there was an interesting planet to see, he would take his telescope out of the conservatory, place it on his lawn, and seek the sky. When he showed me Jupiter for the very first time, I was struck.

When my husband first showed me Saturn, I fell in love with the telescope. (Photo: NASA @https: //unsplash.com/)

Since those days, we have verified many phenomena of the sky. We even traveled to see a spectacular Blood Moon eclipse, chased a total solar eclipse (which was sadly eclipsed by clouds), and took the telescope to campgrounds. In short, the once scary infinity up there has become something much friendlier, meaningful to me.

Only this week, during the Harvest Moon, we took our telescope to our terrace and observed Saturn and Jupiter as they traveled through the sky. And I found the horn of Capricorn and parts of Aquarius all by myself with my naked eyes. What a discovery!

Lakewood Arts Festival 2021

A few years ago my husband and I went exploring the upscale neighborhoods of Port Townsend and found ourselves in an antique store. I immediately fell in love with an old telescope; its feet were made of wood, the bezel itself was decorated with beautiful brass elements. I knew I wanted to have it. My husband went through the entire store and seemed to ignore the instrument. I should have been better informed. Because while I was still wondering whether or not I should buy something that would only be used for decorative purposes around the house because of the much better quality telescope we already had, my husband was already at the checkout. And the antique telescope was ours, now an eye-catcher in one of our rooms.

We traveled to Townsend Harbor in 2019 to witness the Total Blood Moon Eclipse.

Autumn and winter nights are before us. Many will be too dark to see the planetary beauty in the sky. But I’m already looking forward to the moment when we take turns behind the lens, snuggled up in our coats, tapping our feet to cool our toes. You can try this for yourself. It’s a wonderful moment of bonding around something so old – and yet still so new!

About Hannah Schaeffer

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