When I was fourteen, for the first time in my life, I asked myself about myself. ”What do I really want to become?” I asked.

One night when we were on a road trip in the desert with my family, I wanted to know if my dad had ever encountered the same question. He told me as a teenager, once he was listening to the radio, he learned about the war in Vietnam, which made him realize all he cared about was doing something that could contribute to peace in his country and the world. Later, he thought of studying politics to make this dream come true. Although the world is still quite a nasty place, I believe that my dad has really made his dream come true. He has fought and has played his role in establishing peace.

While he was telling me those words, a cool breeze came from the window through the car and hit my face. He looked at me for a second and told me: ”you should find your own way. And you should figure it out yourself.” He said.

This could have felt like a movie if my dad had a cigarette on his lips while telling me what he said. Then probably, in that case, I would look up at the night sky and feel astonished and impressed by the millions and millions of stars. And I heard a voice inside me that aroused my interest in astronomy.

As unbelievable as this story might sound, it was true (except for the cigarette part!). My passion for astronomy and stars has been growing since that night. Now I study astrophysics at university, and there are certain moments when I look back and think about that night.

One of those memorable moments was when I went to the Onsala radio observatory, in southern Sweden, for two days as a part of a university course. We stayed on shifts working with the twenty-meter telescope to conduct our own data. In a radio observatory, you are not allowed to use cell phones, Wi-fi, or microwaves as they all impact the telescope data. It was such a different two-day trip.

We were about ten people and stayed in a cabin one kilometer from the telescope. My most vivid memory of that trip was when I woke up around 1 a.m for the night shift. A cool breeze touched my face as we walked along the sea to get to the telescope. The night sky was brilliant, and I felt my dream of being an astronomer come true. I was living my childhood dream and could not feel more grateful and happy than I was.

Here are the photos of our journey to Onsala Observatory. Enjoy…

2 thoughts on “When astronomy seems close…

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