Astronomy... If astronomy were human I’d ask it to marry me. I LOVE ASTRONOMY. It all goes back to when I was three or four. My mother and I were sitting on our trailer porch in San Diego, CA. My mother was pointing out Orion’s belt (or what she and I though was Orion’s belt) when I saw a flaming ball in the sky. My mother didn’t see the flaming ball but I drew many pictures of it and my mother concluded it to be a comet.
Some years later I would come to find out the belt was Ursa Major and the fire ball was probably a shooting star (meteor). I found this all out around the ages of 5-8 when I moved to Michigan and started going to the library reading on comets, planets, and stars. I was interested for a while but like any child moving and changing schools I lost interest or forgot about it completely. Then one day my teacher announced we will all be making a trip outside to experience a solar eclipse she told us not to look at it directly... but again I was young and naive so I looked directly at it (this had been my second time looking directly at the sun) and it was beautiful imprinted in my mind forever. To see the moon practically covering the sun was AWSOME!!! Kids in the class went crazy when the sky went dark in the middle of the day. I just sat there and smiled watching everything turning yellowish-green.
After that we moved a couple more times. I once saw a star when the sun was setting; much later found out this was Venus. Again I forgot all about astronomy. Some years and a couple more unfortunate events later, I think it was 98 or 99. Mars was very bright and Venus was also visible, I remember showing my mom and my girlfriend of the time and felt very proud I could spot them out. Hale-Bopp was also around this time. It was AWSOME. I remember it was really close to the moon and I looked at the sky for two weeks straight! Again the urge died.
It wasn’t until the lunar eclipse a couple years ago that I got back into astronomy. I actually neglected work to watch the lunar eclipse. That year I saw three shooting stars, one of them was on a ten degree angle and very low in the sky; I TOLD EVERYONE. I continued watch the sky periodically to see Mars and a few stars.
The spring of ‘05 my fiancé’s father gave us free tickets to the new Detroit science center. They sat around the apartment for months. I saw them on top of the microwaves and realized they expired in two days. Thankfully I had the next day off so we went to the science center. Fortunately it was the opening day of the new space exhibit. The science center gave us free passes to the planetarium and a free sky map (BOOM I was hooked forever). After the planetarium I could recognize Cassiopeia, Mars, Venus, Orion, and the Pleiades in the night sky, now I wanted to gaze at the sky every night.
I had an old pair of binoculars from K-mart and they were great but I wanted more. Next I went to my apartment complex’s Main office and started looking on their computer for scopes online, where I found Ryder’s Hobby Shop. I went looking there but Ryder’s had no bang for my buck. Dave, a very nice person, showed me an Orion catalog; I couldn’t decide which scope to get. Dave then informed me about Ryder’s weekly star party where I could try some scopes out. I arrived as early as my schedule allowed speeding on the way there with my fiancé in tow. I met Nathan Murphy and Bobby G. there, and after looking through the Porta-Ball, I was doubly hooked. During that star party is where I decided to get the 8” Dobsonian reflector, bigger aperture less maneuverability, a good choice later told by many astronomers as well. I then asked if they were part of an astronomy club and they gave my site to the University Lowbrow Astronomers. I pledged my twenty dollars and showed up that night to a Public Open House Event, where I met a lot of people including D.C. Moons; he showed me M13 in the McMath (I was totally blown away!)
It was three weeks late on delivery but my dob finally showed up! The first night out I stumbled upon the ringed wonder SATURN! I screamed like a little girl at a Backstreet Boys concert, this is when I realized that astronomy was to be my life.
Astronomy is the reason I decided to go to college and get a future. Astronomy is the reason I bought a computer, to get connected to the world. Astronomy is the most positive thing that has ever happened in my life. The rest is history... Astronomy will you marry me?