Tonight in celebration of Towel Day, our local planetarium hosted a special showing designed to view our little corner of the universe from the perspective of a galactic hitchhiker. Unfortunately, due to an appointment that ran over, we arrived a few minutes late and the show had already begun. However, we were not the only ones to arrive late and found ourselves standing out in the hallway with about 10 other people holding towels.
Since the show had already started and the auditorium was mostly full, they very kindly offered to do a second showing for all of us after the first one had finished. It was beautiful and humbling and terrifying. Though I’ve been to planetariums before, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe in this way. She showed us the earth, the moon, some of the more well-known constellations – all things I’ve seen before. But then, she zoomed out and showed us where we are on the map of the Milky Way. You can’t even see our little sun from outside the galaxy. And THEN she just kept on zooming out and out and out, all the way to the end of the known universe. By the time we got all the way out there, I couldn’t even remember where our galaxy was. It’s like trying to point out the right electron of the exact atom of the molecule which combined together with all the other molecules to form themselves into a person and that person is standing on the Earth while you’re looking at a picture of the Earth taken from space. It’s mind-boggling.
From the perspective of the entire universe, I guess a messy bedroom really doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But don’t tell my kids I said that.
At the end of the show, we had an impromptu Vogon poetry contest. My daughter composed her own original poem:
In the sky
that’s all I can think of right now.”
She won the contest, obviously.