- The Amateur Astronomer - no. 4
The Amateur Astronomer is a monthly advice column that looks to make a constellation. By re-presenting the stars, bringing them, you, and their light just a little bit closer, we are seeking to make site-specific observations about our setting with the goal of growing closer. Once a month we aim to introduce a “tool” borrowed from the gamut of childhood plaything to beyond our realm of expertise. We suggest a social application and provide diagrammatic instructions as to how one might continue to search the night sky (with a “take-home activity” for the reconstruction of prospective aforementioned instrument).
Sabina and Carissa are two pals who may have been hoping to be by now: seafarers, pilots, architects, fashion designers, hairdressers, mothers, butchers, bakers, wool-beaters, well poised dancers, comedians, or space camp attendees.
II. How to use in daily life
I extend my arms in a childlike open embrace when I offer to measure the distance my smitteness extends. ”This much,” “this far,” “this big,” “from here to here,” at this angle do I measure the extent of your heavenly body from the visible horizon. I use this terrestrial datum as home-base from where I lie supine, to where I seek you out above, amid creeping travel.
Dear Theta, tell me exactly the magnitude of how far I have to go.
"Are we there yet?"
"Soon! … almost there."
I bring your body down through reflections and mirrors to brush against the horizon, perpendicular to my observer’s zenith. I’m hoping not to repeat any past errors, as I’m holding still, adjusting for parallax.
How inaccurate my words are for finding you in this port town.
Stay a while. I’ll gaze. You float.
III. Take-home activity
(Astro-navigator, also known as the Sextant.)