Out of this world in Cowra

Now here's a sight for a jaded junketeer's eyes ...

A home made telescope (alright a pretty durn serious one) in deepest darkest Cowra, somewhere Downunder, afforded me this peeping-Tom's-eye view of the sexy, sultry, siren of all planets ... Mars. OK just testing you.

I got to see it on the Australian Bike Friday Club annual Gathering - read my multimedia report which includes a movie clip of me oohing and ahhing the beast.

I've seen 2001: multiple times, played Space Invaders, ogled the pictures in the "U" and "P" volumes of World Book Encyclopedia and those oversized Time Life tomes; seen endless "artists impressions" of the solar system on wall charts, books and of course, the web. As a teen I was mesmerized by a book in the library called "Black Holes, Quasers and the Universe", and would nip in there every other lunchtime to stand in the aisle, reading and re-reading the two pages on how an astronaut gets strung out like spaghetti at a black hole's event horizon. Who do horror flicks and the six-o'clock news carnage repulse and entrance us? Something about standing at the edge of the abyss no less ...

Saturn is always depicted like so - tilted and rising up over Titan or one of its many moons, its rings like a delicate frozen frisbee, a hula hoop paused mid-whoop around the girth of the sleeping giant. All that embedded textbook imagery doesn't prepare you for actually seeing it with your naked eye.

Even at this button-size, flickering in and out of focus, Saturn had the group of us waiting patiently in a long line to gaze upon its daily toilet. The owner of the Darby's Falls Observatory used a laser pointer to join dots in the gulf of starry darkness overhead, but stimulus-overloaded as we humans tend to be, the dots that just became slightly bigger dots in the other scopes just didn't cut it. Saturn was the star. I'd say it's is rather like your favorite supermodel or object of desire - you can't help looking at her, watching every turn and every nervous tic.

Saturn - how can a tinny, noisy car possibly take the namesake of this antediluvian marvel?

At 45 I must rapidly be descending into the realm of extreme geekness - I am contemplating putting a poster of Saturn on my wall, in my heart-shaped locket, on my screensaver, inside the lid of my suitcase. She doesn't argue with me, judge me, offer conditional affection, smother or ignore me. She just lets me gaze upon her as long as I please, reminding me of the true size of my issues.

Yup, Saturn is my star.

The Gal will be doing her shtick in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra between May 1-30, 2008.
See http://www.galfromdownunder.com/where

DEDICATION: This post was inspired by Bike Friday customer Allen C at NASA who helped me uncombobulate my hard drive.


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