Nature Notes, Have You Tried?

The Stars in Winter

January 18, 2016
a pile of orange leaves

Winter is a great time of year to go out and look up at the night sky: darkness comes early, winter nights are often crisp and clear, and some of the brightest stars in the sky make their appearance at this time of year. The constellations are also outstanding and many are easily recognizable. One of my favorites is Orion, the mighty hunter. My youngest son, Nathaniel, was born with Orion looking down upon him, and so his middle name, Orion, came down from the skies to us.


There are many books, star charts, apps, websites, etc. that can help lead you around the winter skies. So if you can find a fairly dark spot, go there, and before you go to one of the charts or guides, just look up, with wide eyes and with silence for at least a few minutes. And while you’re looking up remember this quotation from Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, popularizer of science and Director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC:

“I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of these facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up. Many people feel small, because they are small and the universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.”