Thursday, February 14, 2013

Star Gazers

    The other night when I went out for my walk I found my 12 year old neighbor, Kenny, standing on the sidewalk with her dog. She was supposed to be walking her dog. Instead she was standing two doors from her house and looking up in the sky. I asked her what she was doing. (Dumb question.) She was obviously looking at the stars and she told me she liked stars.

   It was one of the clearest evenings we've had for a long time. She told me, "That's Orion over there." I said, "No way! Orion is in the southeast." Kenny bought her ipad out of her pocket and started fiddling around. Then she said, I have an app to show me Orion. Kenny pointed her ipad skyward and all the stars, constellations and planets were named as she pointed at them. I was completely blown away. I am familiar with star maps and charts ,but never imagined these things would be refined into a computer map. Papers used to have star charts once a week and maybe some papers still do.

    So we forgot the dog. I forgot my walk and we looked at stars. It was clear so we'd point and say, "I wonder what that one is?"  In a second or two the app would give us a name. Jupiter is now very bright almost above us and to the south. Take out your field glasses and have look.

   So half an hour goes by in a hurry when you're star gazing. I think the app is called Star Rover and it's free.      

   Kenny is one of he best twelve year old neighbors you could have. She's a "yakker" and she knows how to talk to adults, even old ones. So had a few pluses in a short gazing, visiting and being outdoors.