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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

92060, Palomar Mountain

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Hale Telescope on Palomar Mountain

Dear ——–,

We sought out darkness on Palomar Mountain to watch the Perseid meteor shower. I’d never set aside time to watch a meteor shower before, but when some coworkers invited Bryan and I to Doane Valley campground at Palomar Mountain State Park, we said yes immediately. Staring up at the night sky there reminded me how three-dimensional the universe is. The stars glimmered like dewdrops on gossamer cobwebs. A friend pointed out the gray smudge of the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest spiral galaxy to our own, but probably the most distant object I’ll ever see with my naked eye. The meteors were not as numerous as I imagined, but I probably saw a dozen each night. Some of them were large bright bursts streaking across the sky, leaving a sparkling tail behind them. We also took the opportunity to visit the nearby Palomar Observatory, whose telescopes were used to discover Eris (the dwarf planet that led to Pluto’s demotion) and the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. The tour was meh, but I loved hearing about the inspiring words of George Ellery Hale, the driving force behind Palomar’s 200-inch telescope: “Make no small plans. Dream no small dreams.”

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Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

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