My two favorite areas of knowledge to study are history and space exploration. I think it is not coincidental that I live in the open desert with minimal light and noise pollution less than 20 miles south of the Casa Grande National Monument, a group of Hohokam structures dating back to the 12th century. Twenty miles due east is the Newman Mountain petroglyph site, one of the premier – and most remote – petroglyph sites in America.
It is that time of year – post autumnal equinox – when Mrs. tVM and I forgo the television in the evening and sit in the quiet of the cool desert air and watch the stars come out as they create constellations and tell ancient stories we never tire of listening to. The first constellation we see each night is Cygnus the swan, which flies directly above us. The next is Cassiopeia, which appears in the northeast quadrant.
We are always excited to glimpse a meteor or two as they fall from the heavens. We’ve noted more satellite activity than we’ve seen in recent years. The Nano Avionics website tells us there are more than 7,500 satellites orbiting the Earth.
Last night, we were blessed with a special treat. As we surveyed the northeast sky at Cassiopeia, we watched a Starlink ‘satellite train’ for a full, clear 60 seconds. Mrs. tVM and I were left breathless. I’ve questioned the authenticity of the photos I’ve seen of the ‘satellite train’ on the Internet but haven’t given it much serious thought. Last night’s display was stunning. It is the real deal.
I am deeply engrossed in Apple TV’s “For All Mankind,” a four-season ‘alternate history’ that asks, “What if the Russians had been the first to land on the moon.” Though tempted, I’ve not ‘binged’ it and watch one or two episodes every week. Fascinating and well-written. History and space exploration, my favorites.
Shortly after we watched the ‘satellite train,’ we went to bed. I read every night, and last night, I picked up where I left off in Steven Ambrose’s Undaunted Courage about the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition from 1804 to 1806 to explore the uncharted Western United States after the Louisiana Purchase. As I read about Lewis and Clark, I thought about the men and women who will advance our race to the moon, Mars and beyond.
Despite what the media blasts us with 24/7, there are many more things of value and significance that can give us pause to reflect and wonder, and that give us reason to thank God for the lives we are blessed to live.