Friday, March 25, 2011
The Great Nebula Orion
I know it's been a while since I've posted about my Winter To Do List...mostly because I've been a slacker about checking items off! The first day of spring really snuck up on me, so I decided to give myself a little grace period. New deadline: April 1st.
Lucky for me, I have a lot of free time and so-so weather this weekend, so I get to squeeze in a few last items. First up: Check out the Museum of Science Observatory. I honestly don't know how I got this far in life without knowing that you could do this. For free, no less! It's definitely worth doing, although you should probably wait until the temps are out of the 30s. And definitely either bring someone with you or bring your iPod so you can drown out the whiney little boys (and their fathers) who are too young to appreciate the observatory, too cold to deal with waiting in line for it, and have mothers that don't care.
I made my way up to the top floor of the parking garage and saw the line for the observatory. And a pretty nice view of the Back Bay skyline across the Charles, too! There were a few different museum reps there, updating everyone in line about what we would be seeing, and where it was in the sky. First up for us was the Orion Nebula. Or as I like to call it, Baby Star Land. I had no idea what to expect, and it was pretty fun watching and hearing the reactions of the kids in line in front of me (and their parents!). I was kind of underwhelmed by the Orion Nebula - it was really just a few bright (baby!) stars and a cloud of dust and gas. And then I would realize that I was looking at something that was 20 light years away, and it was pretty cool.
After everyone already in line had seen the Great Orion Nebula, as the very enthusiastic museum rep would call it (in a booming carnival-esque voice), they moved the telescope to look at Saturn. See the first picture I posted? And see the teeny little dot just to the left of the top of the spire above the butterfly billboard? That's Saturn. Cool, right? Well...not so much. Until you're seeing it through the telescope, where it's not even as big as a dime, but it's one of the coolest freaking things I've ever seen. And I saw it's moons! Well, okay, only two of them, because Saturn has a boat load of moons...but at least one of the the ones I saw was Titan. As one of the Museum reps pointed out, if you can see any of Saturn's moons you can be sure one of them is Titan because it's the biggest. Titan has it's own atmosphere, which makes it very cool and amazing if you're a ten year old boy. Or a museum rep with a booming carnival-esque voice.
You guys, seeing Saturn was awesome! After being underwhelmed by the Orion Nebula, I was prepared to not be so impressed with Saturn either, so it was a nice surprise when Saturn made my standing in the freezing cold totally worth while.