The beauty of the unknown
May 7, 2018
I never had those glow in the dark stars hanging on my ceiling, nor the solar system mobile in my crib, but I still have had this unexplained fascination with space and what’s out there. There is this beauty in the things that many don’t get to see.
Living in the valley is difficult, due to the amount of light and smog that is trapped inside, so it is incredibly difficult to see the stars at night. I remember the first time I saw a million stars and my first shooting star.
It was the last day of school my junior year. Every year my friend, Felicity, and I would burn our school work, and make s’mores to celebrate the ending to another year of high school. When we were done, I commented that there were a bunch of stars that night, which I’m not used to seeing. Felicity mentioned that there was a mountain (now known as the Yarnell Hill Fire Memorial, where 19 firefighters died) about an hour away that she visited; there was a spot on the side of the road to park, and you can just look out into the horizon or look up into the stars. We decided it would be fun to visit, and that was probably where my love of astronomy truly blossomed into what it is today. Once I saw that first shooting star, I knew I wanted to explore more into what space has to offer. For me, there was something fascinating about the unknown. Even my graduation announcements have a galaxy background.
Think about it, as far as we know it, there is no end to space. It continues on forever. Everytime I think about it I feel like a minute grain of sand in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
Random Facts about Space (according to Space.com):
- One million Earths can fit into the sun. (If the sun was as big as a door, Earth would be the size of a nickel!)
- If a star passes too close to a black hole, it can be torn apart.
- Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system.
- There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth.
- If we were to travel at the speed of light, it would still take us 100,000 years to travel the Milky Way alone. (That is only one of 100 billion galaxies known in the universe.)
- Venus rotates backwards.
- Uranus is tilted in a strange way. Because of this, a single night lasts 21 Earth years!
- We know more about space than we do about the depths of the ocean.
- Stars appear to twinkle at night because the light is being disrupted as is passes Earth’s atmosphere.
- If you screamed in outer space, even if someone was right next to you, they wouldn’t be able to hear you.
- Shooting stars aren’t actual stars. They are actually a burning meteor that is entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Although my love of space, stars, and the galaxy continue to strive, I would never want that to be my area of study. Working around something I love that much would hinder the beauty I see in it. If I had to work around it everyday, it loses that interest I have, it would no longer be unknown territory for me. As tempting as it is to launch out into space and explore what I’ve wanted to explore for years, I think it would be best for me to stay on land and look up into the great, vast universe from Earth.
¨How can you look at the galaxy and not feel insignificant?¨ -Ridley Scott [Director if Alien (1979), The Martian (2017) and Phoenix Forgotten (2017) ]