Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Looking to the Skies

Last week’s Manhattanhenge and last night’s Transit of Venus have interested me enough to peer into the skies to see the unusual phenomena. None of us will see Venus pass directly between the sun and our planet again; the next one will take place in December 2117. Thankfully, the more awe-inspiring Manhattanhenge (otherwise known as the Manhattan Solstice), will happen again on July 11th and 12th. The reason why I find this more interesting than the Transit of Venus is because the sun will actually align with the New York City street grid, which really blows my mind. Watching Venus’s trek across the surface of the sun did get a little boring, except for the solar flare near the end of it. Regardless of this, I was and still am interested in more sky and space related natural events.

I would love to see the Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights) this coming winter where I can properly see them, such as in Canada or Norway. A beautiful natural light show in the skies above would be incredible to see. I would gladly welcome seeing all the streaks of light and their overall beauty for myself, even if I had to be bundled up in multiple layers of fabric to stay warm. There is something exciting about staring into the sky and seeing something so beautiful and almost unexpected.

Witnessing these natural events in the skies create great escapism. I think we as people get too overwhelmed with Earth-bound concerns, so looking above to witness something that happens once in a lifetime, yearly, or every few years is a nice way to look beyond ourselves. I am looking forward to the next Manhattanhenge in a month and any future sky gazing spectacles to come.

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