Monday, July 7, 2014

reason #482,698 why I love new york

I've been working at Lincoln Center these past few months (which is cause for celebration in and of itself), but on recent weekend evenings, I've walked past a collection of telescopes and people gathered on the plaza in front of the fountain. The first two times I noticed the telescopes, I had neither the time nor the energy to stop and ask what was happening. Last week, though, my friend Kristen was accompanying me on my walk out of the theater (she had seen the show that evening), and when we happened upon the telescopes, I exclaimed that I was soooo curious as to who these people were and what the were doing.

Well, have you asked them? she said.

Huh. Nope, hadn't thought of that.

And with that, she strode over to the nearest telescope and asked the guy behind said telescope who he was and what he was doing. Because she's awesome that way.

It turns out that he was a member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York, a group devoted to the aesthetic and intellectual enjoyment of stargazing. On certain nights and in specific locations, they set up telescopes pointed in the right direction so that anyone who happens upon them can join in the celestial fun. And it just so happened that on that particular evening, conditions were just right for a primo view of Saturn.

So we got in line. And after just a few minutes, I stepped up to the telescope and got my first ever look at our solar system's 6th planet.

And it. was. so. cool.

photo courtesy of Cambridge University Press

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