How to be Present in Nature Part IV: Skygazing

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been entranced by sunsets and skygazing. I remember during a trip to South Carolina in my youth, I was in complete awe looking at the night sky. Everywhere I looked, just more and more clusters of stars. The whole sky was be-speckled in them! As a young girl from Queens, NYC, this was a completely different world to me.

I couldn’t believe that there were people who got to see that every night. And It didn’t faze them. Me, on the other hand, I relished the nights where I could see a few potential constellations in the sky on a clear night in a city with ambient light pollution. As I got older and travelled, I realized I didn’t even have to go too far to see a starlit sky. More secluded areas in New York State and along the Hudson river offer amazing views of the sky. Mostly, it seems anywhere you go outside of the immediate 5 boroughs without a bunch of street lights, you’ll have a better view.

A screenshot I took using SkyView App: Saturn and Jupiter visible on a summer night in Brooklyn.

With age and access to a smartphone, I was an early adopter of stargazing apps. It’s something I always have to have on any phone. I stargaze constantly and notice the shifts in the sky based on the season.

I’ve come to realize when I can recognize certain zodiac constellations in the sky depending on the season (for instance, I know in the northeast, I can spot Orion’s belt in the late winter/early spring). By reading the sky, you’ll be able to know what season you’re in without a calendar or watch. The sky is a map! I love engaging in ways that help us reconnect with nature, with our truer selves.

Here’s how you can be present with the night sky: 

*Download a star gazing app. I use SkyView Lite – it’s the free version but works well for my basic needs*

  • Do you see the moon? What position is it in? 
  • Are there any stars or patterns you can immediately identify?
  • Do you think you might be looking at a planet? There are distinct times where we can see Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, so it’s possible! Mars, I enjoy because it actually does have a red glow in the sky. 
    • Open your skygazing app, verify if there are any planets in the sky.
  • What constellations can you observe and are you familiar with any of the names of their bright stars? (The app will show you what constellation a star is a part of). 
    • *PS, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll notice a lot of the names in the stories come from these bright stars.

Spend more time looking above you and remember that there’s such a great vastness beyond our simple existence.

We’re all apart of some sort of collective conscious, how can we contribute something positive to it?
As above, so below. As within, so without.


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Published by B

A millennial residing in Brooklyn, NYC. I hate small talk.

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