Saturday, March 22, 2008

Giant, Far-away Things My Daughter and I Looked at This Evening

1. The Bass Pro Shop out on the outskirts of town.

Note that we are looking down onto the roof of a full-size cabin surrounded by the stocked catfish pond into which the elevator descends. We clowned around on the full size party barges they have on display on the sales floor. It has an acre of fishing rods on display. This place is cavernous and makes a person want to buy a lot of tricked out camping gear. I almost bought some walking shoes. And a long bow. And some elk summer sausage. Imagine if I was remotely interested in outdoorsy things, what I'd almost buy.

2. Saturn.
Granted, the view through the big telescope at Highland Road Park Observatory was not quite this dramatic, but it was big enough to pick out the rings and a slight shadow on the planet and Maya could see some of the color bands on the surface. Big enough to look fake actually until you wrap your head around the fact that you are looking at real goddamn Saturn out there.

Fun Saturn fact: picture the nice diagram of the orbits of the planets with each one in equidistant intervals. In reality, Saturn is over twice as far away from us as Jupiter. Jupiter is 4x the distance from Earth to the Sun, while Saturn is 9x that distance. It takes light an hour and a half to get here from Saturn while it only takes 8 minutes to get here from the sun. Which is impossibly far, and is nothing compared to how far away really distant things are. If we were stoned right now, you'd want to make out with me for saying that.

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