The Bucket List Astronomy Tour (BLAsT) Class, a group of 10 Sam Houston State University undergraduate students on a journey to witness some of the best astronomical events of a lifetime, has been taking in lectures and keeping busy in Australia as they gear up for today's transit of Venus. Before the event that brought them Down Under, though, they had the opportunity to spend an evening at Sydney Observatory. Megan Willmore, a 21-year-old English major, was kind enough to share her refelctions:
Our guide taught us how to find the South Celestial Pole, which, just like everything else on this trip, was much different from what I was expecting. Finding Polaris seems easy to me, so I was just expecting for there to be an equivalent star in the southern skies. However, as I said before, Australia has had much satisfaction in shattering my expectations, which I love! To locate the South Celestial Pole, one first has to locate the constellation Crux, better known as the Southern Cross. After that, measure four and a half lengths of the pointers from the Cross to an open space of sky south of the Cross. That open piece of space is the South Celestial Pole!
We also got to take a look at the Moon and, lo and behold, even our good old Mr. Moon had his craters all flipped around. I knew before this trip that the skies would look different from what I’d seen in the United States, but it blew my mind actually experiencing it in person. I don’t think I’ll ever see the sky the same again, and I couldn’t be more thankful.