Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Waking Up (Not) Lost In Space

Spica (Alpha Virginis) is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, and the 15th brightest star in the nighttime sky. It is 260 light years distant from Earth. A blue giant, it is a variable of the Beta Cephei type.

Spica is believed to be the star that provided Hipparchus with the data which enabled him to discover precession of the equinoxes. A temple to Menat (an early Hathor) at Thebes was oriented with reference to Spica when it was constructed in 3200 BC and, over time, precession resulted in a slow but noticeable change in the location of Spica relative to the temple. Nicolaus Copernicus made many observations of Spica with his home-made triquetrum for his researches on precession.

Wolfram|Alpha can make a star map
if you type in something like

“position of saturn from chicago april 3 at 2 am”
I added the arrow pointing at Spica

I said, “Jupiter and Saturn each
have their own unique shade of ochre.”
“Yes,” she said, “but would anyone know?”

“Hidden mysteries,” I said, “hide and teach.
No cat always purrs when you stroke her.”

Monday I was running around all day
and early in the evening I stretched out
on my bed with all my clothes on to rest.

I fell asleep with my bedroom light on
and my computer on and my TV.

The big window behind my bed has blinds
and I fell asleep with the blinds open.

I woke up and I knew it was “later”
but for a quick instant I just felt lost.

I didn’t know if it was day or night
or if it was Tuesday or still Monday.

I’d fallen asleep with my glasses on
so when I woke up I could see my clock
but I had to stand up to look closely
to read the little ‘day’ indicator
that said it was Tuesday in the a.m.

So I yawned and switched off everything
then changed into sweat pants and a tee shirt
then I flossed and brushed my teeth and gargled.

When I reached up to close my window blinds
I saw two bright stars in the southern sky.

And I stopped. And I stared. For the first time
since I woke up all disoriented
I had a sensation like I might know
exactly where I was and when I was.

“Is that Saturn?” I thought. I hadn’t seen
Saturn for a while but I remembered
Saturn is in Virgo now, near Spica,
and with Scorpio coming up near dawn
Virgo and Saturn should be in the south
right about in the middle of the night.

I was too tired to grab a telescope
but I took my binoculars outside.

Spica is a beautiful bright blue-white
and Saturn’s a beautiful gold ochre
and Spica’s a tiny pin-point of light
but Saturn’s oval in binoculars.

I saw them last night sparkling like gemstones.

For a fast moment I didn’t feel lost.

I felt like I knew where and when I was.

Back inside with everything switched off
I went back to sleep but I left open
my window blinds and slept under the stars.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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1 comment:

Zubair_Khan said...

It is looking like poetry, but overall a nice post.
Stretchable sweat pants are the comfortable choice.