Starry, starry night
Trip Start Sep 28, 2011
332Trip End Ongoing
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Paddy has woken early to watch the Ireland match leaving me to ponder the night before, sit and look at my belly button, and recover from a messy head. This I do with much pleasure until he returns, dour faced because his team got beat. We then do sod all until it gets dark, eat a massive steak and eggs, then as an afterthought decide to go for one of the desert astronomy tours.
I've been fascinated by the night sky since I was a kid, avidly reading teenage boy books on astrology and geeking it up in science class knowing the order and size of the planets from a young age. I used it sit in my room with a pair of crap binoculars and pretend to reach the stars, and nearly blind myself one day by looking at the sun. I've never actually seen anything of note, so I'm pretty stoked to be visiting an observatory for the first time. Chile apparently is one of the best places on earth to view the night sky due to its largely cloudless year and vast expanse of space, such as the Atacama desert. As we peer though the tiny viewfinder we can understand why.
It's a stunningly clear, cold, cloudless and crisp night as we stand on the observatory roof and gaze to the heavens. Although the stars and fascinating, along with the visible milky way, I'm more enthralled by the guides astronomical laser pointer, which ignites up to the sky like a light saber. I've got to get me on of these, although I'm likely to shine it in the eyes of pilots just 'for a laff'. Anyway it's all riveting stuff, especially seeing a tiny Saturn and it's rings, like the Zanusi washing machine symbol, and learning about new constellations to impress girls with before I throw the head on them. I would have been a really enjoyable evening had we not been lumped with this hippy South African woman who's questions and voice went right through you like rubbing two bits of polystyrene together. Still, the hot chocolate at the end was delicious.