Mile 161, North Columbia State Wildlife Recreation Area, Washington State.
Driver: Dad with Mom in the passenger seat. Purpose: Mike & Staci’s wedding. Fall 2010.
I have an eternal but inconsistent and total inaccurate interest in astronomy. I love science fiction in all it’s forms. Real space exploration fascinates me and has been a lifelong dream, but I never understood what becoming an astronaut entailed until it was probably a bit late for me. As much as I loved science and math they definitely took a backseat to art and literature. My only real hope of someday going into space is probably alien abduction.
My favorite part of astronomy is the dreamer aspect of it. There were no initial concretes. Someone had to say I think there is something out there and I am going to find it. I love how so many of the early serious observers of space were sure the other planets contained life similar to Earth’s. William Herschel did, and he was one of the greatest 18th-19th cent. astronomers. He built some of the earliest large reflecting telescopes, discovered the planet Uranus, two of its moons, Titania and Oberon, and two moons of Saturn. And he was sure he had “found ample evidence of life on the Moon and compared it to the English countryside. He did not refrain himself to populate the planets, with an special interest in Mars, which was competely in line with most of his contemporary scientists.[…] Herschel went so far to speculate that the interior of the sun was populated.” -stolen from Wikipedia.
“Coelorum perrupit claustra.
He broke through the barriers of the skies.”
― the epitaph for William Herschel
My very favorite of the early speculative astronomers is Percival Lowell, who believed there was life on mars and especially water on mars, making detailed maps of the planets aquatic features. He lost all of his credibility as a scientist even though he did discover Pluto. And now, a century later, NASA’s Curiosity is finding evidence of water in Mars’ past and the potential for life.
Here are some pieces from my “I am the Cosmos” series, inspired by Percival Lowell and William Herschel: