When I was in high
school, I hated science - a common sentiment shared by most of my female classmates. Truthfully, science
intimidated me - it was considered a boy's subject back then - Wow, times
But a pivotal transformation happened to me several years ago when my boyfriend bought me a telescope for Christmas. I took one look up into that night sky and I was hooked... Suddenly, I had an exciting new curiosity for astronomy, astrophysics, chemistry, math, biology and so on... I found myself going to the library, reading book after book on topics that terrified me in high school. Who would have thought that science could be so interesting & so beautiful? Ever since then, I've been on a journey to find my rightful place in the world of GEEK, and it has been liberating! Designing apparel is my way of introducing
my friends, family and customers to the weird and wonderful world of
astronomy, physics, chemistry and all that other yummy stuff.
Let me tell you about one of my first experiences as an AMATEUR astronomer.
was an early morning in June 2004 and I was determined to watch the
transit of Venus across the Sun. This was the second-last time the transit would occur for another 243 years! I
got up at the crack of dawn, loaded myself and my telescope into my car
and drove to a nearby conservation area, conveniently located on a
after setting up my telescope and aiming it at the Sun, I soon
realized that when I looked
through the eyepiece, everything in the morning sky just looked
uniformly dark; where the heck was the Sun? The Sun was definitely in
the sky, I could see it with my naked eyes, but when I looked through
the telescope, NO LUCK. There
was almost NO contrast in the sky, a side
effect of using the brand-new solar filter I had just purchased at an
Astronomy store in Toronto (I hadn't even taken it out of the box yet).
Solar filters are used to filter out approx. 99.99% of the Sun's light,
otherwise we would fry our retinas. Without contrast, viewing the Sun was proving to be a tricky task for me, which is pretty pathetic when you think of how obvious the Sun usually is...
fumbled with my telescope for a half-hour, desperately trying to
resolve something recognizable in the morning sky - but still NO
contrast. Tick-tock, tick-tock, I
started to panic looking at my watch, realizing that I only had about 8
minutes left before the transit was over. Then a rather strange and
funny thing happened. A man jogging with his
dog came around the bend where I had my telescope perched. We
cordial "good morning", but as he passed, his dog ran up to me, tail
wagging, and bumped the legs of
my telescope. Now this would normally cause a novice astronomer to
especially using a manual telescope. But when I looked through the
eyepiece again, expecting my frustration to resume, I realized that
the gentle bump had aligned my telescope PERFECTLY with the elusive globe. What are the chances? With a little focusing,
there it was - the pale disk of the Sun with the glorious, minuscule black
silhouette of Venus passing in front of it, only millimeters from the
edge! I was awestruck. I almost missed witnessing this rare event, but a
good-luck dog saved the day! I shouted to the dog who was now halfway
down the hill, "thank you", but I don't think he heard me...
been years since then, but don't worry - I can now find the Sun, no
problem (as well any other celestial object I set my mind to)! I'm still
using that same manual telescope, but now it feels more like a
prosthetic limb rather than something to be intimidated
is the astro-photo I took on doggie-day. You might not think it looks
like anything special ...just another diggable planet transiting an
average yellow dwarf, but I get goosebumps when I look at it! You know what they say, "beauty
is in the eye of the beholder".