Friday, December 05, 2008

Inferno, Canto XXXIV, tercet 139

Last Saturday night I was out rather late (or more accurately, very early on Sunday), and I saw something that I have not seen very much of in Korea.

After the taxi ride back from downtown, I was walking down the street looking up at the sky and thought to myself "ah, there's Orion". It took me a few moments to realize the significance of this thought.

For the first time during my stay in Korea, the sky, while not full, contained many stars. I believe I may have even identified Polaris, a star that has not been visible to me during the greater number of my days.

Apparently it was a combination of the late hour and the cold evening that let me see that which is normally invisible here.

It really is quite depressing looking up at the night sky and seeing just black with only the moon to break things up. It makes the universe seem such a hollow and empty thing, lacking the glory and wonder I know it has.

I have occasionally thought what would science have been like if the night sky had always been like this. Geocentrism would have been a lot stronger, although it would have fallen eventually. Telescopes would still exist, but would anyone bother pointing them upwards. Astronomy would have been stunted at birth, although its evil twin astrology would have been still born. I think science on such a world would still get to where we are, but it would be a slower process and lack some of the wonder we get to experience.

That's all.

For those wondering about the title of this post, the line referenced reads "and we came out to see once more the stars."

End Post
Writing time: 39 minutes (although I was distracted by Wikipedia partway through)
Time since last post: I guess two or three days.
Current media: None (soon to be rectfied).

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