I had one of those moments last night. I went outside to have a hit of cannabis — I use indicas to help me sleep (thanks to cannabis, I’ve been sleeping better for years) and there, in the sky, were Jupiter and Saturn, staring down at me.
I live in Los Angeles where light pollution obliterates most of our view of the night sky. But even the bright lights of LA (made less bright by coronavirus) can’t blot out Jupiter — the bright object to the right; Saturn is the less bright object to its left).
The sky is so ubiquitous that we take it for granted — the night sky included. But, last night, as the cannabis smoke rose slowly, I suddenly had a sense of the earth in its orbit, versus every other planet in theirs. What struck me is that while we perceive the sky as being almost static, “static” is the very last thing the night sky is.
It’s in constant motion. It’s dynamic as hell. What looks stationary is actually flying through space at breakneck speeds.
We have to remember that while we see this from our vantage point, what we’re actually seeing is more like this (not drawn to scale of course) —
We live on a rock that spins on its axis while revolving around a yellow dwarf star that, itself, is part of a huge galaxy filled with billions of stars many just like our sun.
Down deep, I’m a science geek. Can’t help it. The idea that I’m staring up at an object the size of Jupiter — that’s reflecting the light from an object the size of our sun — which is all quite paltry when compared to other stars and solar systems. And the vastness of the universe itself.
We live someplace as huge as it is amazing.
And last night, I got to experience a little of the awe it all deserves.