Want to improve your mood and health? Want to be more satisfied with your life, think more critically, decrease materialism? To feel like you have more time, be more generous, cooperative and feel more connected to other people and humanity?
Cultivate awe. After translating 2,600 stories from around the world, awe comes in eight flavors with nature at number three (other people’s courage, kindness, strength or overcoming and collective effervescence were numbers one and two).
The cool thing about nature is that it is so easy to access. Let’s start with the night sky. For best results, seal in the awe by consciously focusing on it for at least three minutes.
Did you know stars are in constant conflict with themselves and in perfect balance? The gravity of the mass of the star is pulling it inward, and the pressure of light pushing outward against the gravity keeps it from collapsing.
The moon was made when a rock smashed into Earth about 4.5 billion years ago. The moon’s gravitational influence produces the ocean tides, body tides, and a tide of rock and the Earth’s gravitational influence on the moon causes moonquakes. The moon rises and sets at a different time each night, with a different shape, size and color. There are two full moons in August, on the 1st and the 31st.
“Male fireflies fly around blinking…while females perch in the grass silent and dark, waiting to be astounded. When she is, she responds, prompting the male to fly down to her to mate.” Minnesota has three species that glow from June through August. Look around marshes, tall grasses and the edges of the woods.
Without thunderstorms and lightning, the earth’s atmospheric balance would disappear in five minutes. Lightning also makes ozone-producing chemicals.
During the Perseids meteor shower, from July 14- September 1, which peaks on August 12-13, we may see 50-75 meteors PER HOUR! If you miss this one, there are eight other major meteor showers every year.
Northern lights happen when the solar wind comes into contact with the earth’s magnetic field. The best time to see them is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. For a better view, get away from city lights and take pictures. They may show up on your screen even if you can’t see them with your naked eye.
In addition to these wonders, which can be experienced on your own, look into the Rochester Astronomy Club, classes at the Mayo High School Planetarium via Community Ed, borrowing a telescope from our public library or glyphs of meteor showers on Native winter counts, then let us know about your night sky adventures!
“Eight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better” Summer Allen, Ph.D.
“Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life” Dacher Keltner
Royal Museums Greenwich
Amateur Meteor Society