If you haven’t flown to Australia from Europe or the Middle East then you have not experienced jet lag. Despite the real treat of being upgraded to first class and all the pampering one receives (perhaps the vintage champagne may have played a small part) I still felt as if had been hit by a truck when I arrived in Brisbane. It was early morning when I arrived and pouring with rain with rain forecast and more rain hanging around. Perhaps if the hotel had not been able to give me a room at 730am I might have adapted quicker or more likely I would have been asleep in their foyer – I had already noted some comfortable chairs in a secluded area. However, they did have my room ready and I was asleep by 8am and did not feel human again until late the following day. Not that the residue of travel had left as despite staying up late and dozing off I was wide awake at 2am. This was actually a bonus when it was time to leave Brisbane as I was on the 630am flight with a pick up of 4am. I set the alarm just in case but I was wide awake and ready to go.
Flight was to Ayers Rock Airport in Australia’s Norther Territory. A dream destination for I don’t know how long. From that first glimpse from the plane coming in to land I was in awe. I did not meet Uluru up close and personal until the following morning, early morning. First it was time to look up into the sky and to the stars above in the unpolluted night sky.
Look through the open eye...
There was still a lot of cloud around when the sun set and the astronomer was dubious about how much we would see but the cloud stayed away enough for the panorama of sparkling suns, planets and nebula to stun us with their collective beauty and individual wonders through some very nice telescopes. The moon, stunning as it was, did have an impact on the viewing as it’s reflected light outshone some of the objects in the sky. However, the iconic Southern Cross was clearly visible just above the horizon with it’s to pointer stars, Alpha and Beta Centauri drawing attention that this was the real cross amongst the many pseudo crosses in the heavens. Alpha Centauri at such a low angle above the horizon displayed the rainbow spectrum of the atmosphere visible when such a interrupted view is possible. Much to my surprise there was Orion’s belt, the whole formation upside down but there non the less. I had expected a whole new vista of stars here in the southern hemisphere but in reality there is only 15% of the night sky which is different. That is at this latitude, it may all look different again at the tip of New Zealand’s south island. Within the consolation of Orion we were able to see the Orion nebula where stars were once born and looking at some of the newest celestial bodies in our visible universe. The red super giant Beetle Juice shone bright reminding us of it’s immense size despite being so far away. Jupiter looked incredible with bands of colour and her four moons all in view. The just visible glitter effect of another distant galaxy was a reminder of just how far we are looking into the past, the very distant past where in this present moment these very stars with their planets and moons may no longer even exist. The thought of just how far space goes has always made my mind go into a panic of lack of comprehension. After having seen the movie of Stephen Hawking’s life I have started reading his book about time which talks about space, the formation of the universe and singularities. Seemed fitting that I should be standing looking at time itself here in the middle of the Australian outback.