I love space. Everything to do with it, everything in it, and everything about it. To me, space represents a challenge for our species, and is just waiting out there to be explored and learned from. This is also kind of what Quest represents to me on a personal level. Quest is a challenge, and it should be. It makes me love it more; the challenge of being exposed to new ideas, the vast wealth of knowledge that I can sink my inquiring teeth into, these are the things I love about it. Space and Quest both represent something else to me: the future.
So, as you can imagine, I was quite excited to realize that not only is Quest wonderful in its own way, but it also intersects with a beautiful night sky! Having grown up in Toronto, Ontario, the city lights and the rest of the light pollution were not the friendliest for stargazing. Although I did have a family farm we went to often, I never actually lived in a place where I could see the night sky. Furthermore, I never had to, ahem, stay up so late working on assignments so far – but thats a good thing! It lets me see celestial bodies later at night than I would have otherwise.
Now, when I told everyone I was going to Squamish and even talked to some current Quest students about it, they all said the same thing; get ready for the rain. And rain, as you can imagine means clouds. I like the rain, so I wasn’t too worried. However, I did figure that I wouldn’t be able to see they sky, the moon, the stars, the planets as much. Oh well, no bid deal. However, I was wrong.
Although there will of course be days when it is rainy, there are also many days when it is clear enough to see the night sky! And though I had seen the sky before on my farm back home, it was an entirely different experience to see planets and moons hovering there over mountains. It is truly breathtaking, especially when you know what you are looking at! For me, I was standing on the future of education on Earth and looking up at the future of our species. Although this sounds like a really chessy line, that is how my brain works and what I was actually thinking.I guess that I am just a cheesy person.
That little light there, just above the beautiful mountains, is Venus. It may not come across entirely in the picutre, but it even has the kind of reddinsh-orangeish tinge you would associate with Venus. Venus, following near the sun, seemed to rest over the mountains there for a few minutes, basking in the sunset. This interplay of mountain and planet on its own is enough to warrant a trip out to Squamish.
Now it may not seem it, but that little dot there is the largest planet is our solar system. This is a picture I took of Jupiter, from just outside my dorm. It was incredible to realize that I could look outside my window here at Quest, and see a whole other world up there. Its very fascinating; after a while of watching you get a feeling for their paths through the sky. The night sky was very important to ancient civilizations, and I feel just a little bit closer to my ancestors when I look up at what many cultures considered “the wanderers” (planets).
And then, of course, there is the lovely moon. I got up early in the morning, and watched it trace its path in the sky of the rising sun. It kept getting closer and closer to the mountains, until finally it winked away. I am not sure if I am the only one, but I find it fascinating to think that the moon is a result of a collision between proto-Earth and a mars-sized proto-planet. Looking up at the moon reminds me of all the history that played into our world and ourselves, and reminds me that we are not only a part of our world, but of our universe.
As you can probably tell by my descriptions of these pictures, I am fascinated by the sky. When I discovered that Quest was situated in place that was not only dramatic with its own landscapes but with the skyscape as well, I was ecstatic. I cannot wait to see what the interplay between Quest and the sky brings me next. (Onto Astrophysics in March!!!!!)