For as long as man—and woman—have been on the earth, they have looked to the sky, particularly at night. That overwhelming umbrella of dark punctuated with dots of light has played an important part in our evolution, from helping us to navigate and inspire stories to encourage us to dream and literally “reach for the stars.”

Looking up into a clear, star-filled sky is the true definition of “awe-inspiring”. We are made to feel small, but we want to think big. The full beauty of undiscovered galaxies viewed from a dark location, away from suburban streetlights and the other glows of civilization, is the ultimate sight to behold.

We are lucky at Reynolds to be far enough from Atlanta that, at least at night, civilization is dimmed and the night sky is so amply dark to give clear views when gazing upward. It can easily become habit-forming.

“Star-gazing is for everyone,” says April Witt, an astronomer at Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta. “You can easily begin in your backyard and once you take those first few steps toward learning about constellations and planets, you’ll enter into a lifetime of cosmic exploration and enjoyment.”

It is easy for a newcomer to become daunted by the vastness of astronomy. But, it is a step into the darkness worth taking.

It will take some time to learn the night sky. Following some simple guidelines will help: Keep track of the patterns you observe; look for bright objects and watch them for several nights.

“Find a good star-gazing chart, one that you can print out and study,” Witt advises. Star charts are the best hands-on introduction to astronomy, and a fun way to identify what you have been observing. When you have one, try to find some of those bright objects you’ve seen in the sky.

“I also recommend finding a planetarium or astronomy club in your area,” says Witt. Clubs are usually happy to invite newcomers to meetings or special events, and members love to talk about their telescopes and let others look through them, sharing their knowledge and passion.

There are four planetariums not far from Reynolds: Georgia Southern College Planetarium in Statesboro, the Museum of Arts and Science in Macon, the Fernbank Science Center, and the Jim Cherry Memorial Planetarium, both in Atlanta. They will help you start to see the light in the sky so dark.

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