‘Which do you like better, your planetarium, or your telescope?’
My Sis had asked the question peering into my eyes, and as usual I had no answer at hand.
‘I like them both’ ,said I, but she had a ready rebuttal। ‘The problem is‘, she intoned, ‘you can’t use them both at the same time, so one is always sitting!’ Somewhat taken aback by this revelation, without thinking I retorted, ‘oh yes I can, and I’ll show you!’ So eager was I to come up with some way on the spot to use them both, I dragged my little scope under the planetarium dome and switched on my ancient Spitz A2. Stars immediately sprang to life on the dome. But Sis was unimpressed. ‘I like your stars’ , stated she, ‘but your telescope is useless in here.’ ‘Oh no its not!’ , said I, and I swung it around and pointed it
toward a blank spot on the dome, off the tail of Leo, which was gleaming in the Spitz projected spring sky। ‘Just look in here, young lady!’ I said, realizing I had no plan, no way of winning the argument। I’d been stalling for time, and time was almost up I thought ruefully, as my sister bent down and peered into the eyepiece of my tiny spyglass, pointed toward the Realm of the Galaxies, or where it was in the real night sky। She murmured something and played with the focus a minute। And let out a gasp! ‘Look at them! Look at ALL of them!’ , she whispered, and I was afraid she’d gone too far this time, playing me for a fool, leading me on, calling my bluff। Nudging her aside though, I was startled to see, swimming in the eyepiece, innumerable faint wispy spiral pinwheels, gauzy lights in a dark blacker than ebony॥ Convinced she had been wrong, Sis kissed me on the cheek (which I hated) and simply said, ‘OK, you CAN use your telescope in the planetarium’, and out the door she went। I turned back to the eyepiece to look again, but whatever we had both seen was gone - now I saw only the smooth dome surface with a few projected out of focus stars। Dumbfounded, I spent several more minutes staring at the old Spitz projector, silently beaming out a thousand or more stars। Many years have passed since this occurrence under the dome, and it has never been repeated। But I smile to myself when I think back on it, especially when on that night long ago, just before I shut off the Spitz’s light - I will never be sure, it may have just been a momentary power interruption ॥
But I had the distinct impression that just for a split second, the old projector had winked at me …॥