There’s nothing like learning about the stars to make you feel small. Stargazing is one of those activities that no matter what is happening in your life, you can gain a pinch of perspective by thinking about the vastness of the universe and admiring the beauty of twinkling lights shinning from millions of miles away.
Humans have had a relationship with the stars for as long as we’ve existed. They’ve helped us with navigation and indicated the change of the seasons. This could go some way to explaining our fascination with them. Not to mention that even without understanding the complexities, they are simply beautiful to look at.
Lion Sands’ guide team recently completed an astronomy training course with the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Ben Coley of Celestial Events. Topics covered included constellations, galaxies, distance and light years. Some of what was taught involves concepts of time and space that are almost incomprehensible, like distance in ‘astrology time’. Ben said that if you were to travel at the speed of a commercial flight, it would take 43 million years to reach Earth’s second closest star (considerably farther away than the Sun) 93 million miles away!
Stargazing is one of the areas that our field guides love to cover. There are so many insights to share, but even a short lesson in constellations is quite fascinating – especially for our northern hemisphere guests who may never before have seen some of these constellations.
One of the most poignant points Ben discussed was the prevalence of light pollution in the world. In the past few decades, light pollution has grown substantially, affecting all major cities and their surrounding areas across the globe. So much so that seeing the stars is actually a luxury in many parts of the world.
At Lion Sands, we’re fortunate to see the stars almost every night, except on cloudy evenings – and not just a twinkle here or there. The Milky Way shines brilliantly and on almost every later game drive back to the lodge, we can make out the Southern Cross. The stars are particularly bright on a moonless evening, and only get brighter as the night goes on – a perfect mosaic to enjoy during a bush dinner or from the comfort of your suite’s viewing deck.
So if you are joining us for a stay at Lion Sands, we hope you’ll enjoy our guides leading you on a safari of the night sky.
Words and photos by: Charlotte Arthun