One of my favorite pastimes is observing the sky at night and seeing which constellations I can point out. While I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination, I like to think that I have a basic knowledge of several “main” constellations — Orion’s Belt, the North Star, the Big / Little Dipper, etc. Knowing these constellations makes me feel connected to the universe in a very real way, as if those stars are not so distant after all.
My knowledge of the stars and passion for learning new constellations began during my time in high school at Montgomery Bell Academy, located here in Nashville. One of the excellent opportunities that my high school afforded me was the opportunity to travel to the school’s observatory on Long Mountain in Tennessee. This location has one of the lowest amounts of ambient light in the South, making it a perfect location for stargazing. I have many fond memories of trips to Long Mountain to look at the sky, gathered around a campfire with friends and marveling at the vastness of our universe. Nonetheless, the knowledge that we can gain from learning about the universe — in my experience — connects us with it, making the universe seem just a little smaller and closer to home.