Let’s play more with the starry sky. Playing with the stars is a long-lasting pleasure that will last a lifetime. From the light astronomy fan who has a vague interest in the starry sky to the deepest astronomy enthusiast who is fully aware that he or she has sunk into a swamp, we’ll talk about 10 tips for enjoying the starry sky!
The starry sky for all five senses
10 Ways to Enjoy the Starry Sky , the first half five pieces are “feel with the five senses”.
Enjoying starry sky by the sense of visual
A starry sky in perfect darkness
In an ideal location with no artificial light at all, the starry sky underneath is only about one-third of a billionth of the brightness of a clear daylight. If you have the opportunity to go to such a place, you can use your natural human abilities to the fullest and enjoy the darkness.
If you turn off the unnecessary lights as much as possible and let your eyes get used to the darkness, you will be amazed at the variety of lights you can see. Up until just a few thousand years ago, Homo sapiens spent their nights frightened by large animals in the wild , and they have an extraordinary ability to see at night. The stars in the sky seen with such high performance “eyes” are already impressively beautiful.
It is unfortunate that there are only a few places in Japan where you can experience such “true darkness”, but it is possible to experience such “ native experience of darkness to restore the wild” in the mountains deep in depopulated areas or on remote islands and overseas.
A “light pollution map” is a great way to find places where you can experience the “real darkness. I hope you’ll take a look at the following articles(sorry , Japanese only ! ) and more!
The beauty of a moonlit night is also exceptional. A bright moon that drowns out the Milky Way can be a hindrance to viewing the Milky Way and the starry sky, but dark starry skies aren’t the only thing. What’s more, on a bright moonlit night like a full moon, you can enjoy its beauty even with a many street lights.
A moonlit night in a place with little artificial light is exceptional. At moonrise, the sky turns red as if it were a morning glow. On a bright moonlit night that rises high, pay attention to the “moonshade” rather than the shade. If you walk along the boardwalk in the forest on a moonlit night, you can experience the “moon through the trees” rather than the “sun through the trees”.
Feeling the presence of the earth, clouds and twilight sky
Clouds are a nuisance when looking at the dark, pale starry sky, but how about reversing the idea and enjoying the clouds themselves? Clouds are proof of the existence of the irreplaceable “atmosphere” and “water” of the planet Earth, where we live. Using a photo or high-sensitivity video camera(*), you can capture the image as if it were a living thing.
Everyone loves the sunset/morning sunrise. The sky tinted by the bright red sun. But if you go to a famous spot, you’ll see that many people leave as soon as the sun goes down.
Um… Why? The fun is just beginning. After the sun has set, the real showtime begins when the first star begins to shine in a sky that at first glance looks like the sunset is over (*).
(*)Between 30 minutes after sunset and about 70 minutes after it
The navy blue sky is quickly becoming darker, and the sky to the west continues to turn red even though it is darker. And the stars start to appear one after another. The change in brightness and color is so much that you can’t get tired of seeing it again and again. When the human eye no longer sees the colors of the sunset, the stars become even brighter and the Milky Way begins to show. Even at such a time of day, the sky is still beautifully colored by the eye of a camera.
The beauty of the starry sky, the moonlit night and the twilight is best experienced in the dark, where there are no city lights. But unfortunately, in most places in Japan, such conditions are not available.
But that’s called “light pollution”! Instead of hating it, why don’t you change your mind and think of it as a “night view” or a “city light” and enjoy it. Even in the middle of downtown, you can see the moon and the stars if they are bright.
In most places in Japan, the sky is illuminated by the lights of a city somewhere. I don’t want the city to be illuminated by wasted light, but that’s where people live under this sky. If you look up at the sky with this feeling, you will feel a different kind of emotion.
Enjoying starry sky by the sense of hearing
The Sound of Waves
The sound of the waves goes well with the starry sky. The gentle sound of the waves is soothing. The sound is different for all of them, with a wave that draws in, a wave that pulls in, a small wavehead, and a large wavehead. The time of the eternal universe and the time of the short repeating waves. You can feel the presence of a large nature in the contrast of its scale.
In the shallow waters, the sound of water currents can be heard as the tide level changes at high and low tides. If you listen to your ears, you can hear all kinds of sounds.
The Sound of the Wind
The sound of the wind. The wind brings with it a variety of sounds, from strong winds that seem to blow you away to pleasant breezes.
The various sounds caused by the wind shaking something. The sound of leaves scraping against each other, the rustle of power lines, the clatter of silver mats, the sound of fallen leaves being washed away. It’s an irrelevance to the faraway starry sky, which in turn increases the sense of separation between the universe and oneself.
The sound of living things
When I look at the starry sky outdoors, I notice that there are many different sounds of living things. The sound of insects in autumn, the fluttering of mosquitoes in summer, the “beep! A deer cries out, an unidentified animal shakes in the grass, and the voice of a frog in early summer. Listen closely and feel the signs of living things.
The whisper of the machine
Lastly, a bit of a maniacal “sound”. In the silence of the starry sky, even the subtle sounds made by the machine can be heard as a steady breath.
A loud roar when mount works GOTO, and a very weak sound of “tick” when it quietly tracks. It sounds like an elevator when you move the roof of a dome or sliding roof. Camera shutter sound, remote controller sound.
By listening to the sounds of these machines in action, you will feel that they are a dear friend to you under the stars.
Enjoying starry sky by the sense of smell
Scent of flowers
Of all the five senses, there is probably no one more easily linked to memory than the sense of smell. The experience of being accompanied by a scent is one in which just smelling it brings back memories of that moment in time.
Even in the dark, if a flower is in bloom, you will be aware of its presence by its scent. ”Sniff and then something smells good!!”. When you find a flower, gently bring your nose close to the petals.
Scent of the earth
Summer is a time when you can strongly feel the earthy scent. The smell of grass, the smell of earth. It smells like sand dust on a dry day, dirt after a rain, and even natural perfume drifting from the ranch^^;;
The smell of the wind
The wind brings in various smells. The sea breeze and the smell of the tide are representative of this. The “wind” is not only a set of senses of smell, but also touch, hearing, and sometimes taste (*). Feeling the wind in the starry sky is an experience that engages all five senses.
(*)On the shore when it’s damp, the splash of seawater flies with the wind. It will stick to your lips and you may feel the taste of the tide.
Smell of people
When we sharpen our senses in nature, we can sense the “smell” of people. ”Sniff and then something smells good!!”. In such a case, you may find a new encounter not only by looking at the starry sky, but also by casually calling out to them (*^^*).
Enjoying starry sky by the sense of taste
Warm food and drink
Everyone loves warm food and drink on a cold night. Hot pot, cup ramen, hot coffee, etc… It’s a time when our survival instinct, which is linked to one of the three major human desires, appetite, comes into play ^^.
— M&M (@656nm_freak) March 8, 2019
The blue flame of the gas burner and the sound of burning are also soothing. Enjoying a hot pot under the starry sky and taking pictures of the scene is also becoming a major genre of stargazing. This is also a combination of the five senses.
When star gazing, bring your “favorites” with you. Sweets, candies, chocolates, potato chips, etc. My favorite foods are convenience store’s “onigiri (rice balls)”, chocolates, and throat lozenges, which I can eat without getting my fingers dirty.
Alcohol is one of the best things to enjoy under the starry sky. Unfortunately, I can’t drink at the site because I often drive a car alone. But , when I go abroad, I’m supremely happy because I can drink it down without any worries.
Enjoying starry sky by the sense of touch
Lying on the ground
When you lie down on the ground, everything in front of you is a starry sky. The feel of the earth on your back. Meadows, dirt, paved roads, gravel, rocks, and sandy beaches. Everyone feels differently depending on the surface of the earth. Why don’t you engrave the memory of various places on your back with each starry sky? A sheer mat is a must-have so that you can lie down anywhere.
You wouldn’t want to run into a “bear,” a “viper,” or a “scorpion(*). Even though they look cute like red foxes, they can be at risk of contracting a bad parasite if they come in contact with them. For this reason, it’s advisable to basically avoid animals, but sometimes you’ll encounter unexpected creatures.
(*)Australia is said to be home to poisonous scorpions.
One of them is the image above. Something crawled up on the body when I slept in the sand and looked at a star. The sharp claws are quite wild. I let them play for a while and let them escape to a remote place so that they wouldn’t step on it by mistake.
One more thing: domestic and stray cats sometimes come by. The cat in the image above “accompanied” us all the way to the top of the hill, about a 10-minute walk from the campground^^.
The touch of the equipment
Finally, the equipment that is your sidekick to seeing the stars. The touch of the equipment also changes a lot depending on the season and climate. The balance weight and the cable which became hard like a stick is a poem in the middle of winter^^ The night dew in the spring and the autumn when the temperature difference between morning and evening is severe is troublesome, but if you take measures to prevent the dew, you can enjoy the touch of the lens barrel with dew as if it is the season.
The “Five desire” of Astronomy Fans
10 Ways to Enjoy the Starry Sky , The second half of the five is “How to Deal with the Five Desires”. Man is a “greedy” being. In Japan, “appetite, sexual desire, and desire to sleep” are called the “three major desires”, but in addition to these “survival of the species” level desires, there are various social desires such as “to be respected”, “to be recognized”, “to be better than others”, and “to be loved”(*).
Personally, I think the happiest thing for me is to be able to think “as long as the pleasures of the five senses are satisfied, the rest is just a bonus“, but it’s hard to reach such a “state of enlightenment”.Everyone has his own worldly desires. The secret to living happily in today’s society may be to stay true to one’s “desires” at times, and to take a step back from them at other times.
That’s why I tried to summarize the “five desires of an astronomy fan” and how to enjoy them!
Desire for knowledge , ” I want to know more! “
Knowing the universe makes it more interesting, feedback from knowledge to the senses
There’s an emotion that you feel just because you know it. In the section on “The Starry Skies with the Five Senses”, I talked about “excitement” and “emotions” at the level of the senses before knowledge, but when you add knowledge of “what the universe is” to this, the excitement spreads even further.
What is the true nature of the stars and the Milky Way that shine in the night sky? Why do planets move so differently from stars? Throughout its history, the human race has answered the question, What is the universe really all about?
Those of us who live in the modern era can easily see the results. What was a “mystery” to the ancient people is no longer a mystery. The sun and the stars are the same mass of gas, and the Milky Way Galaxy is a spiral of those countless stars. And there are countless galaxies like the Milky Way here and there in the universe.
So, what good is such knowledge? To put it vaguely,it amplifies the “love of the universe”^^
And let’s feel the universe with our five senses. Even if you can’t reach it, you are in the universe and the universe that is there is for you. Then “knowledge” becomes an aphrodisiac that enhances the pleasure of communion with the magnificent universe.
Rediscovering Yourself in the Universe
The moment I realized that the earth is round.
Do you notice something different about the “evening” crescent moon in the image above? Yes, the shiny part is on the left side. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, that’s where the moon is at dawn. There’s a good reason for these little differences(*) and it shows where you stand on the round earth.
(*)Even in the southern hemisphere, celestial bodies sink to the “west”, but diagonally to the left, opposite to the northern hemisphere. Since the sun is just beyond setting, the direction in which it is illuminated is also reversed.
One of the most beautiful asterisms in the entire sky (*), the Big Dipper. The angle and time indicate the season, and the altitude indicates the observer’s location on Earth. When you look up at the Big Dipper, you can also realize your own existence with the Earth in the universe.
(*)asterism: a sequence of stars, a group of stars
Desire for Experience ,” I want to see and do various things! “
the best night of your life
Superb starry skies in the best conditions, including the 2001 Leonid meteor shower, giant comets, and a total solar eclipse. If you’re an astronomical hobbyist, I’m sure you’ve experienced one of the best nights (moments) of your life. Once you’ve experienced such “the best night of your life,” you’ll begin your journey to meet the best night again.
One of the great things about the astronomical hobby is that no two experiences are ever the same and you can experience the best as many times as you want. The weather may not be so good, but a total solar eclipse will definitely happen on a certain day, and the big comet will come sooner or later. If it’s a starry sky in the southern hemisphere, you can always go. If you are patient with the whims of the weather, you are sure to have a “the best night of your life”.
I want to use that equipment!
Such “desire for experience” is not only in the field , but also for equipments. “I want to take a picture with that camera,” “I want to see with that telescope,” “I want to combine that and that”.
It’s a common phenomenon among astronomy maniacs that new equipment with similar specifications has been added to the fleet…. This must be the result of this desire.
Desire for equipments, I want that, I want this, I want that
How to live with the desire for things
The astronomical hobby is left to the weather. You want to see the stars, but you can’t. Having such frustration is a daily occurrence. (Especially in areas with humid climates such as Japan.)
At times like this, the desire for things picks up a lot of steam. I want that too, I want this too^^. In Japan, these symptoms are referred to as “potilinum(*) infection”.
(*)It’s a paronomasia of “botulinum”. “Poti” is an onomatopoeia for the CLICK operation to purchase an item in your cart.
Let’s take equipment portraits!
But it would be a bit boring to get what you want and end your desire for things. So here’s what I’d like to suggest. Why don’t you take a picture of your favorite machine or equipment?It’s good to shoot beautifully with careful lighting indoors, or it’s fun to shoot outdoors with actual equipment in use(*).
(*)Just like we do with people, try our equipment to be “cool” and “get to the inner truth”!
The way in which the machines play their “natural role” so blandly is picturesque.
Desire for approval, ” I want to be recognized and respected!!”
Is a star something you see alone?
Akira Fujii, one of the contributors of Sky&Telescope , the leading amateur astronomers, quietly affirms in his book , If you really enjoy the stars, you should see them alone(*).
(*)Kawade Shobo Shinsha, “Fabulous Starry Feast,” published in 1979.
In this day and age where SNS have become so widespread, it is necessary to reconsider the words of Dr. Fujii, who has loved the starry sky with all his heart. The phrase “you should see stars alone” can also be a question of “why do you see the stars?” and an answer to “I see the stars because I like them and because they are fun”.
You will be happy to be selected for an astronomical magazine, and you will be happy to have a lot of favs on your SNS posts. That’s right. Everyone is happy to be complimented. But it should be a result, a reward , and not just an end in itself.
You didn’t start this hobby out of necessity, nor did anyone force you to do so. You have to be very careful about your desire for approval.
Let’s write Blog!!
So I have one suggestion for you. Would you like to write a blog? It’s been said that blog service has become less and less popular than at one time or another, but that’s not true(*).
(*)I don’t think the needs and motivations of bloggers have changed just because the business model of simple free blogging services has collapsed.
The good thing about blogging is that it allows you to have your own world (place). Although SNS is suitable for communicating with many people in the present moment, posts and comments quickly disappear from the timeline.
In this respect, a blog is the best tool for a personal lifelog (diary) that accumulates information around “me” over a long time axis. A blog basically only has information that you have written. What you experience, what you feel, what you think, write for yourself first.
(*)It is sometimes said that the IT architecture is old, but this is a complete misunderstanding. Unlike the closed SNS, the open blogging system such as wordpress is evolving day by day.
For your blog, the most important and best reader is yourself. Let’s “approve” yourself first^^
Desire to achieve, “I want to be who I want to be!”
Getting closer to the person you want to be.
You’ll be able to do things you couldn’t do yesterday. The scenery appears to be a little different from the one before yesterday. Where You are standing is a little further forward than it was last year. Envision the goal you want to reach and get closer to it. This is very positive happiness, isn’t it?
However, I believe that as long as it’s a hobby, the fulfillment (or lack thereof) of the “desire for achievement” is not something that others can meddle with. Do what you want to do. Do what you want, when you want, how you want, as much as you want!
When I’m about to break my heart…
However, the more you try to achieve something positive in your astronomical hobby (especially astrophotography), the more masochistic you become. It seems to be a long and painful apprenticeship. But seems to get little results. There’s a lot of noise, the color balance is weird, the stars aren’t showing to be, I’m sick of it!
When you feel like you’re about to give up, let’s go back to the starting point. Out of the wide variety of games out there, Why did I choose the “astronomical hobby” ? Remember your memories of “the best night”. First of all,You started this hobby and you’re here because something sparked in you in the first place.
Despite the fact that it’s a completely different genre, it’s a great book that delves into “why people run” from a variety of angles based on a long marathon experience, and has many suggestions for both runners and non-runners alike.
Desire to be lazy
Laziness to enrich your life
One more thing. As the sixth desire, I would like to add one more important desire if you enjoy it as a hobby. It’s “Lazy greed“. I want to slack off and take it easy. It is one of the “seven desires” that both Buddha and Christ listed.
”I used to do it all the time when I was young, but I’m done. There’s nothing better than going to an easy place to have fun, drinking wine under the stars, and zoning out!” Is it only me who feels the convincing power of the words of the brave man who has fought many battles?
No, that’s okay. It’s not a job for day-to-day sustenance. As long as you don’t maliciously interfere with people or drag their feet, “laziness” will enrich your life.
Creativity that comes from “Laziness”
And furthermore. When laziness turns in the direction of “coming up with ways and tools that make it easier, this is already one of the biggest creatives. Goto through voice recognition is the most obvious example.
Conclusion: Enjoy the five senses and the five desires
Thanks for reading this far!！
The astronomical hobby is a great hobby. It’s fun to watch, fun to be greedy with. The object is infinite and eternal. We can never touch it directly, but the cosmos that is there can be felt by all five human senses and all five desires.
The depth and distance of the enjoyment is also at your disposal. You can get into it in full force, or you can take it easy on the light side. Now, let your imagination run wild and enjoy your own astronomical life in your own way ! .
— チヌーク＠来世は重機 (@chinook_CH47) October 5, 2019
- Images not otherwise noted were taken by the editorial department.