Journal 2 – 8/12/10 2:04pm
First I will discuss last night’s adventure to the historic museum and outlook of Lowell and then the trip to the mesa. Well we went a bit late to the observatory site. There were a bunch of people there and there were lines for all the telescopes on display. I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting that there would be so much stuff around. It is nothing like the one at Widener. Well we watched a movie about Lowell’s observing and what all was discovered at Lowell observatory over the years. I also learned how biased the people of Arizona are with regards to the discovery of the expanding universe. According to them Hubble did very little and got almost all his information from Slipher, the man who used Lowell to find the information. It’s funny how one’s pride can conflict with everyone else’s accepted point of view. Oh well. Anyway we learned some stuff, but didn’t get to go to the telescopes because the lines were so long. There was a nice view of the sky with the naked eye though. On the way back down we went to an outlook that overlooked the city/town of Flagstaff. I got some pictures that I will upload at some point.
Then the greatest part of the trip thus far occurred. We went to the mesa. It is in the middle of the forest and up above most of the tree line. There was total darkness. Except for the stars. It was absolutely magnificent. We could see every constellation ever recorded; of course I don’t know them though, but Dr. Augensen found a ton of them. We were able to clearly see the bulge of the Milky Way. It was fantastic. It is also the time when the Perseid meteor shower occurs and we saw some of those as well. They were outstanding as well. Now that I think about it, I don’t even think the moon was out. I didn’t even realize until right now when I am writing it, the next day. I was so awestruck, that it didn’t even occur to me. One of the few thoughts I had when we were staring up at the stars was: “This is what they saw. This is why the ancients were so astounded by the sky and made all the tales they made.” There is no explanation for the things we saw. It was possibly the greatest night of viewing for all three of us, even Dr. Augensen who has decades under his belt. I am still completely thrown aback that I have never seen this type of thing before. That viewing was enough to make this trip completely worth it. I really hope that I will be invited again.
Now on to today’s activities, we got up at around 9, ate breakfast, then we went to Meteor Crater. That was another thing that blows my mind. This crater was 2.5 miles around and several hundred feet deep and a huge hole in the ground, yet it is one of the smallest craters around. I have probably 30 pictures of the crater and the surrounding area. It is incredible. I am running out of words to use to describe stuff. And I’m only just starting day 2. We got sandwiches for the night and we are going to dinner at Stromboli’s for 4pm dinner. Another ethnic restaurant and healthy breakfast food. This is turning out to be a bunch of new experiences rapped into one amazing FREE (except for souvenirs) trip. I think this will be all for now. I may just take a nap until dinner. Bye bye.