Stars and Other Curiosities

When I was a child, I always thought the stars were pretty. I’d look up at night and see them all twinkling, white and bright. It wasn’t until my dad began pointing them out, each an individual, each unique and named, that I began to see them for so much more then pretty.

The first two stars to shatter this perception I had were Betelgeuse and Sirius. Betelgeuse, the brilliant M2lab, or red supergiant for all us non-astrophysicists, from Earth, with nothing but the lenses in our own eyes, can be seen glowing a bright orange-red in a semi-rectangular shape. Sirius on the other hand, isn’t even a single star itself. Sirius is a dazzling astral phenomenon known as a binary star system; two individual stars Sirius A, the main white star in the classification A1V, and the white dwarf star Sirius B, spectral type DA2, circle each other in a seemingly everlasting dance. These two stars, from our perspective, form the brightest natural object in our night sky (with obvious exception of the moon). In contrast with Betelgeuse’s brilliant red coloration, Sirius radiates a vibrant blue so sharp it’s almost hard to imagine ever seeing these stars all as little more then twinkling, white dots in the sky.

These two stars changed my entire view on the night sky at a young age, something I enjoyed watching but never truly looked at. For anyone who hasn’t been awed by these magnificent stellar bodies, I implore you to go outside the next clear night and look. In the northern hemisphere, Betelgeuse is the left most star that forms the left shoulder of the body of the constellation Orion, and Sirius, the brightest star in the Canis Major constellation, can be seen as if the three stars forming Orion’s belt point directly towards it, opposite direction from Orion’s bow.

Every night I look up at these stars, I think of how little I used to actually see, back in the days that I would look but never notice, and I wonder what else in my life I think is one thing only because I haven’t taken the time to appreciate it’s reality. How many times have I heard without listening, eaten without tasting, touched without feeling?

Everything in life can be experienced for the first time, every time. The only thing I profoundly know for certain, without any hesitation, is that I know nothing at all.

2 Comments on “Stars and Other Curiosities

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