Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Tonight we had a rather special evening! We decided we would go for a wee walk - there's a park near the flat here, and then a hill with an observatory on top. So off we set, through the park, and up this path, with a large number of steps up the side of the hill. Well, we say 'steps', but really, they were like railway sleepers put in the ground sideways to stop soil erosion and to create the next level up. They were a bit mucky, but we managed to make it to the top in one piece.

At first, we went up another series of steps, but that led us to a field overlooking the city, with some nice views of the city lights looking out towards the Tay. Then we came back down those steps, and followed the tarmac road round the top of the hill and up to the Observatory itself.

I didn't think it would be open, seing it was just after 9pm, but there were lights on, and the door was open, so we went in. It was indeed open for visitors, and free! So we had a look at the exhibition on the ground floor, and then the next floor up. Then there was a spiral staircase up the side of the building to the top floor, a domed roof, and some telescopes. But there was a sort of barrier across the top of the steps, so we thought it was just there to let you see the telescopes, but not anything else.

Just with that, the wee man that works the telescope came up and explained that, while it was a bit cloudy, he reckoned we might be able to see Saturn. So he moved the barrier, opened the hole in the roof, rotated the dome so the hole was over the big telescope, and set to work with levers and ropes etc. Within no time at all he stood back, and with a big smile said, "Yes, we have found Saturn!" So we got a look through the telescope, and we were indeed looking at Saturn, with the ring around it.

He then told us a bit about the observatory, and fortunately enough, we visited in their last week of night-time opening, as it gets too light with Summer Time here again. But it was well worth seeing! Definitely I'll be wanting to return again in the autumn if I get a clear night to see what else is up there in the sky.

So now I'll do my wee tourist information board bit and say that the Mills Observatory is the UK's only full-time public observatory, and is a very good place to visit if you're ever in Dundee.

On the way down again, we counted the steps, and there were 153 - several of which we nearly slipped on, because of all the muck and gutters!

On reflection, the trip to the observatory was really good, and gave me a fresh insight into the amazing Creator God we have. As Psalm 19:1 says, 'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.' Everything that we can see has been fashioned by His hands, and does, or should, show forth his glory. And yet, the even more amazing thing is that the God who took so much care over creating all that there is, loves us so much more, and sent His Son to die for us. As the hymn puts it: 'Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered' Our Creator God died on the cross for us, in order to bring about His new creation!

1 comment :

  1. How utterly romantic! I'm jealous!

    I guess you were too far north to catch anything of the solar eclipse today. We had a brief shadow, but enough to say we saw it.

    Enjoy the rest of your time together.