Photo by jpstanley via Flickr

Photo by jpstanley via Flickr

A few week’s ago, as a birthday treat for my boyfriend, we went to Greenwich Observatory for a special evening viewing through their telescope. We had the planetarium pretty much to ourselves and then the sky cleared after a cloudy day and two enthusiastic astronomers guided us through the darkness. Greenwich’s telescope is rather unique, the biggest of it’s kind in Europe (don’t ask me what kind, I wasn’t paying that much attention, I was too starstuck… hohoho) and after looking at a double star and the Andromoda galaxy, it was the Orion Nebula that got me.

Taken by Diegokun, via Flickr

Taken by Diegokun, via Flickr

Up until this point, I wasn’t convinced I’d seen anything I couldn’t see with the naked eye, my imagination perhaps ruined by all the magnificent images we’re given by Hubble. Then I clambered up the little set of steps and peered through the eyepiece, to be truly astonished to see the detailed dust cloud around the bright trapezium of stars that forms the centre of the nebula.

Since then, I’ve been smitten and often find myself staring at the night sky, pleased that I can now pick out Venus, Sirius the dog star, Ursa Major, Polaris, Cassiopeia, The Pleiades and Andromeda. A few days ago I purchased my first pair of binoculars and a book to guide me around the night sky and tonight, as a tiny crescent moon and venus hung in the sky on my way home from work I thought I’d get to use them. Alas, the sky clouded over and I was left to wait for another day, but I thought I’d share my excitement anyway.

By davidteter, via Flickr

By davidteter, via Flickr

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