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The WOW moment
The WOW moment

What is my most memorable astronomy experience? That one is easy, and ironically, it does not include any astronomy equipment at all. It is the "WOW" moment that now causes my eyes to be pulled toward the sky for hours at a time. Before this moment I rarely looked at the sky at night and barely noticed even the moon. Thanks to the love of my life, I now know the beauty of the objects in the sky above me.

It happened when the woman I now love and I were sitting on the beach of Lake Sydney Lanier in Georgia only planning to watch the sunset. When the sun had set I suggested we go, and she stopped me, asking if I would like to see something cool. "Okay" I said expecting twinkling stars, the moon, and maybe an occasional shooting star. It is nothing I have not seen before, but I wanted to be polite so we stay. We laid down and looked up at the sky. She asked me if I thought the night sky was beautiful. To be polite I said yes. I did not think it was ugly. It just was not interesting to me. I asked what we were looking at and she told me "Just wait and look at the sky." By the time I saw them it was fully nighttime.

It was completely dark outside and the stars seemed their brightest. I had noticed maybe one or two shooting stars and I was getting bored when she said "LOOK," and pointed. At first I saw nothing. "What?" I said. She said "look! LOOK!" and moved my head to look where she was pointing. Then I saw it. It was a little light moving across the sky. It was moving slow, too slow to be a shooting star. I asked what it was and she told me it was a satellite. "A SATELLITE?" I said, not believing. "I thought only certain ones at certain times could be seen." I said. She replied "There are thousands of satellites orbiting the earth. There are so many that they are constantly reaching those points in the sky where they can be seen." I hit the floor, so to speak. To think of being able to watch a small dot cross the sky and know that it is a satellite gliding through space around the planet is a breathtaking thought. We stayed there watching the sky for hours after seeing the first satellite.

One may say that seeing satellites crossing the sky is not much of an astronomy moment. I agree in a general sense, but to me it is the moment that opened my eyes to the sky. I may have seen more beautiful things since, but none compare to that which made me want to look at those more beautiful objects. I believe this moment will forever be my greatest astronomy moment regardless of the beauties I may see in the future.

Details
Date Taken: 06/15/2011
Author: Adam S
Category: Orion's Astronomy Essay Contest (2009)

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