Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Journey to the Stars Begins


Once upon a time, long before the dinosaurs roamed the earth, there was a little girl who wanted to know about the stars. But, even before there was that little girl, there was a little boy who ran away to sea to become a ship’s officer. He was my father, and he had wonderful stories to tell about traveling the world, and navigating by the stars. I liked the idea that you could know where you are, anywhere on Earth, simply by looking at the stars.

“Which stars did you use, Daddy?”
“Why, we used Polaris, and Arcturus, and Betelgeuse, and others.”
“I want to see?”
“Arcturus is that star right up there. See it?”
“Where Daddy? I can’t see it.”

It never occurred to anyone that I needed glasses. I got my glasses; yet, I could never quite get the stars. However, I didn't forget how very much I wanted to know them. I did learn to recognize the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia. Because I had found the Big Dipper, I found Polaris, but that was about it. The rest of the sky was beyond me. I read everything that the Encyclopedia Britannica and the National Geographic offered, but I just couldn’t seem to make sense of those star charts. For years, my secret desire languished. But, my time was coming. I was writing a book! Science Fiction Romance Writer was on the case.

Spring Star Note:
Just after dark, get the darkest location that you can find. Look North by Northwest (Thank you, Mr. Hitchcock), and depending upon your latitude, you will see the Big Dipper. It's a ladle or plough shaped group of stars. In England, it is called the Plough. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, it will be high in the sky. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, it will be low, or partially below the horizon.
The Big Dipper is supremely important to navigators, not only because the two stars on the end of the bowl, or of the plow, point directly to Polaris, the North Star, but also because the stars in its handle point to Arcturus. Follow the arc of the handle, and the next bright star is Arcturus. It will be just to the East of the highest point in the sky for those in the mid northern latitudes, or high in the northern sky for those of you south of the equator.
Every civilization in the history of the world has used Polaris and Arcturus to navigate the seas. Our modern astronauts, space station, and telescopes are irrevocably tied to the Argonauts of ancient Greece, as well as the voyagers of ancient Polynesia. Cool, huh?

Happy viewing and writing,
Frances
Writing Science Fiction Romance
Real Love in a Real Future

4 comments:

Tammy said...

HI Francis,

I've loved the stars almost as long as I've loved to read. My only problem is I"m partially color-blind. So when someone tells me that you can see Mars cause it's that reddish star, no I can't, to me all the stars are the same white color. But that's alright, with my telescope I can find just about any of them.

For the ones I can't find there are always SCRW (science fiction romance writers).

Oh, and that story I submitted - lol - the e-pub went out of business. Oh well...

Frances said...

Hi Tammy,
Sorry about the pub going belly up. Better to find out ahead of time. And better luck with your next submission. Tell ya what. I will do a post with some links to check up on how reputable various publishers are. That suit you?

Frances

Tammy said...

Hi Francis,

Your'e right it is better to find out ahead of time. I wan'st too surprised though as I knew it was a very small epub when I sent teh enquiry.

And I just read the post - VERY GOOD!

Frances said...

Tammy, I hope the links that I gave in the other post will be helpful. I'm glad that you liked it. Let me know if there is anything else that you want info on. If I have it you are welcome to it. :-D