Saturday, December 8, 2007

Orion and the beauty in the heavens

This year I have a group of students who are very interested at learning the constellations and their positions in the sky. (Some years there is more interest than others.) It's always exciting to have young people come in to class in the mornings and say "I saw it last night!" One night I got a phone call from a student--I had told him it was OK to call--and he said "I'm outside, and I can't find the Great Square--can you show me where it is?" So I went outside and guided him to find it in the overhead sky. They're really getting the picture and seeing the beauty of how the pattern works throughout the night and throughout the seasons.

I always love the first time I see Orion each year. It's like an old friend returning. Of course, when it first comes up in late November and December, it's lying on its "back," as if the picture above was turned 90 degrees counterclockwise. That picture is an overexposure of Orion in the night sky; it's easy to see how Betelgeuse (upper left corner) is a red star, and the Great Nebula of Orion is easily visible in the sword. Those wouldn't be as visible to the naked eye.

Each time I see Orion for the first time in the evening autumn sky, I am reminded of the great and majestic testimony of our universe--how our great God planned and put all this in order, and set the earth spinning and revolving in perfect harmony so that life could thrive. It is an annual and beautiful reminder to me that underneath me are His everlasting arms.

3 comments:

Susan said...

I dropped by from Barbara H.'s blog. I saw in your profile that you're from Anderson, SC. I grew up in Greenville, and my dad's brother and his family have lived in Anderson for as long as I can remember (and I'm 42!). I saw Oakwood mentioned in the post about your friend who passed away several years ago. We are a little familiar with Oakwood, having known its former (as in many years ago) pastor, Dr. Russell Rice. My husband and I are Baptist missionaries in Canada. I enjoyed looking through your blog, as well as your senior writing class blog. Looks like a good bunch of kiddos!

Carrie said...

This was one of my favorite parts of earth science... I think my favorite was The Pleides.

Michelle said...

Ann,
Have you seen stellarium.org?
It's a free program that shows all of the constellations based on your geographical location and the time of year and day. It's fantastic. You can even project it with a projector (make your own planetarium in class).

Michelle