Tonight I stepped outside to record a song I've been working on. The crickets have finally arrived, and I thought they would be a nice accompaniment. After a hot summer day, I discovered that the temps had cooled, there was a nice breeze, the crickets were fully orchestrated, and the sky was laden with stars. Even from our backyard here in the city, the stars above were twinkling brightly. And so many of them, too!
After I finished my task, I went inside to invite my husband to join me for a glass of wine, and to witness the shining constellations. I brought out a pair of binoculars, too. Most often used for bird-watching, but they have proven very useful for stargazing, too.
Though there are city streetlights on both sides of our block, we could still see the clusters of stars twinkling above. In my experience, you need to head away from the city, to dark skies, to witness that many stars. But not lately.
Back in mid-July, the world was abuzz about the comet Neowise passing through Earth's orbit, en-route back to the outer parts of the solar system. We decided to try and spot and photograph it ourselves, and, surprisingly, we were able to do so. We definitely needed the binoculars to spot it, but spot it we did. It was so exciting! I decided to collect my camera gear the next night and try to photograph it.
I did some research to determine what might be the best settings, and what lens to use, and set up my tripod in the backyard and waited. Eventually, like the night before, it showed up. Once I had tracked it with the binoculars I adjusted my camera view and started shooting. Though the photos are not stunning, like so many I saw on Instagram, I was able to capture it. I'm considering it a success.
Just last week the Perseid Meteor Showers were peaking. Though they often pass through the galaxy at a rate of up to 100 per hour, I was only able to spot two from our backyard. Even so, it was a thrill!
It's a wonder to experience comets and meteor showers, so far from the galaxies they inhabit. But, it's also amazing to look up at the skies on a simple summer evening and witness the wilderness of stars above. When so much chaos is going on in the world these days, looking up can impress upon us a bit of wonder and beauty. It can instill a bit of peace and awe.
Even if Covid-19 prevents us from being with the ones we love the way we'd like to, we can take a bit of solace in the fact that, no matter where they are, we are all together beneath the twinkle of the night sky.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.