Thursday, April 27, 2006

Indigo Sky

Tonight the new moon added no illumination after sunset and the sky quickly turned indigo before fading to black as the stars twinkled to life. Off the back deck I could see a firefly blinking in the darkness like a distant lighthouse. The dogs won't be fretful tonight I thought...not like on a night when the moon is full and the shadow of a night bird or a prowling opossum would send them into a frenzy.
My old friend Ed Boutwell used to come to our house on nights like this to look at the stars with powerful telescopes. We'd walk down toward the barn away from the streetlight in the front yard and setup. We'd put on long sleeve shirts and long pants to keep the skeeters at bay and we'd watch the sky. When you look at stars with a really good telescope, they quickly move across your field of view unless you have a scope that has a tracking system that slowly moves in sync with the stars. We saw constellations, the rings of Saturn, and the Orion Nebula....and the remnants of a supernova somewhere deep in the galaxy.
Ed has spent a great deal of time and energy traveling all around the country to get a better view of the stars. He says Texas up close to Oklahoma and over in New Mexico are the best. But he enjoyed coming to our house too. Not only could we lie our on backs and watch the show without the interference of city lights, but also because we always had a good meal and enough wine to keep us warm even when the nights were cool.
We haven't seen Ed in several years but I thought of him tonight when I saw the indigo sky.


  1. Anonymous12:10 PM

    Although I'm no astronomer, even on a minor scale, I often gaze into the heavens on the nights you describe.
    I've often done this on those occasions when my self-importance needed redirecting and a little perspective.
    I think it's God's way of reminding me what a 'piss ant' I am in the grand scheme of his universe.

  2. Anonymous8:14 PM

    I believe Ed passed away a few months ago. He was always available to talk about astronomy and help you. A really fine person.


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