Palomar, Julian, and the Universe

Astronomers and sky buffs gather in and around Julian.

EVEN IF WE DON'T UTTER IT... we can all think, from time to time, "it's just a bit too much." Whether it is the traffic, or a broken showerhead, or a looming deadline, or a little of everything, we humans have a pretty predictable tendancy to move into full-on overwhelmed mode when the day-to-day trips us up. There are ways to deal with that overwhelm-a-tude, from helping others to taking needed time outs, but surely one is to consider, for an hour or a day, our place in the larger fabric. Staring at incredibly distant stars, or our own moon, can help expediate that helpful process, for we are able to step back and take a wider view of the whole, vast, glorious picture. And while that whole cosmic stepping back can be done any night of the week by stepping outside and staring up, joining a weekend-fun event like the annual Julian StarFest gives the stargazer a plethora of to-dos to choose from, from consulting with astronomers about various nebula-nifty topics to touring Mount Palomar, a pinch and a scoot from the apple-sweet mountain town. The 2016 dates are...

THURSDAY, AUG. 4 THROUGH SATURDAY, AUG. 6: The Free Public Star Party, a centerpiece of the long-running event, is on Aug. 6, and there shall be "many telescopes set up in the viewing area." Also nearby? Astronomers from the San Diego Astronomy Association, the event's organizer. And while the Mount Palomar tour is a space-limited deal, the Saturday star party is a come-one-come-all scene, so arrive with your questions about galaxies and light years and how hot the sun is (or cold the moon is, if that's your preference). It's a lively, look-up affair, one that takes us out of our daily doings for a night and helps us feel inspired and/or joyful and/or part of the whole.

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