In which the cosmos sends me into my quarter-life crisis.

I turned 20 a few weeks ago, so my friends here wanted to go out and celebrate.

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Yeah. I’m no less childish at 20 than I was at 19. Listen, I just really like DDR!

Still, I know that 20 is supposed to be a monumental age. I’ve beaten teenage pregnancy. I’ve survived for two decades. By this time, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to found Microsoft.  Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice. Charles Lindbergh learned to fly.

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To worsen my existential crisis, I went stargazing with my residential college, the International House. IH has their own log cabin in Belanglo State Forest, about 2 hours out of Sydney.

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When not in use by residents, the log cabin can be rented out by other groups. For example, the MacArthur Astronomical Society regularly stays in the cabin. In fact, they were there when our 40+ people bus pulled into the woods.

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They had their own telescopes and everything! These guys aren’t joking around– each scope is worth thousands of dollars.

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We arrived at the cabin a bit early, so we had some time to kill before nightfall. The International House organized a scavenger hunt to keep us occupied.

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And, in the style of the Aussies, we had a barbecue dinner.

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The sun began to set. Thankfully, we had a completely clear, cloudless night. The outside of the cabin is only lit with red lights, since they interfere less with your night vision. So the stars slowly came into view…

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…and we were even able to see planets.

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It was incredible! I’ve never seen that many stars in my life. I wished I could bring the sky home with me.

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I thought the photos came out rather well.

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It was a breathtaking sight. Especially since I’ve lived all my life in either the suburban sprawl or the city. There’s way too much light pollution there to see much of anything. There’s a Calvin and Hobbes strip on the awe of stargazing, actually:

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So. Since I was stargazing, I was obligated to contemplate the difficult questions.

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One year older, zero years wiser.