When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much
applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
- "When I Heard The Learn'd Astronomer" by Walt Whitman
Our neighbors hauled out a small telescope that they'd recently purchased, but had not successfully used. They asked if Mrs. Geek or I knew anything about how to use it. I volunteered what little I knew.
After messing around with the computer controlled mount for a while that was pointing the telescope at next to nothing, we turned all that off and started pointing it at things we could see. We looked at craters on the moon. When we turned it toward a planet near the horizon, that planet turned out to be Jupiter because of the three Galilean moons we saw close by.
It was glorious.
on 2008-09-06 at 10:11 p.m.
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