A night with the stars and the Staircase to the Moon
Without knowing it I seemed to have planned my visit to Broome perfectly. I saw the last ‘Staircase to the Moon of the Year’ (apologies for the rubbish photo) and also got to see a lunar eclipse (photo stolen from internet:).
I absolutely love learning about the stars and the universe. When I went to the observatory in Chile I said that I hope when we die we are taken to a big lecture theatre where we are told everything about the universe. Where we came from, why did the Big Bang happen and that little question of ‘why are we here?’ The thought of the universe absolutely blows me away.
(Have a wee look at this link to be completely blown away! The part about the Hubble telescope is just amazing.
I watched the lunar eclipse last wednesday where the earths shadow covers the moon. The moon turned a blood red colour which looked incredible. (My photo didn’t come out very well so I stole this one from the internet so you can see what it looked like)
The Monday before I went on an astro tour in Broome with an amazing guy called Greg (cool name:).
Greg has been giving talks about the stars for the best the best part of 20 years. He is completely self taught and explains the universe in a such a simple way that you can’t help but understand it.
Greg said that he first really took note of the stars when he was working as a Pearl Diver in his younger years. Pearl diving is determined by the tides so he always knew tidal and therefore moon patterns.
He then became a mechanic and would service trucks which would take him out on the road. He would sleep beneath the stars. As he lay there he would noticed that the stars were in a different position each night. He then went away and bought himself a star map and there started his learning of the earth and the universe which surrounds it.
Greg’s tour was in a beautiful spot in a field where he has a range of telescopes and you sit under the stars listening to Greg explain everything you’ve never realised you wanted to know. Unfortunately the moon was shining bright that night so many of the stars couldn’t be seen but seeing the moon throug the telescope was pretty amazing! You could see every detail of the craters.
There were so many things he explained but the one which really got me thinking is that we all still talk like as if we live on a flat earth. We still say things like ‘let’s watch the sun go down’ when I fact it’s us that’s rotating so it should actually be ‘let’s go and watch the sun move away as we turn away from it’! Not quite as romantic but that’s actually how it is.
I also didn’t realise that the moon is 400,000km away from the earth and is pretty much the same size as Australia. If you put the moon on top of Uluru in the centre of Australia the moon would just about cover Oz! It goes to show juts how big Australia is!
The earth travels at 66,600mph through space and spins at 1,036mph. Wow! And here’s me worrying about going to another country whilst all the time we’re hurtling through space at almost 67’000mph! It’s quite a thought isn’t it?!
Just when I thought Greg couldn’t be anymore awesome he then pulls out cups of HOT CHOCOLATE for everyone! The dream end to an amazing night.
Greg has a Facebook page which he updates with facts and videos which you can find here. He also has some great photos of the eclipse:-
The staircase to the moon was good but I’m told that this one wasn’t the best. It was a bit cloudy so you didn’t see the moon until it was quite high in the sky therefore the staircase effect was a bit lost. It was still incredible to see it rise over the mud flats so I’m so glad I stayed to see it for myself.
An amazing week with the stars and my friend Katherine having to put up with me singing the lyrics to ‘I swear’ by All 4 One! Remember that classic?…..”I swear by the moon and stars in the sky…” I hang my head in shame!;)