Joe Malan

One of my most favorite traditions year after year is to buy a monthly astronomy calendar.

It might seem strange to some, but I enjoy being able to wake up every day to that calendar on my wall.

One of my recent favorites had iconic space posters assigned to each month. If you're unfamiliar, these are posters used to "promote" futuristic trips to worlds like Mars, Titan and the outer reaches of our solar system. Newer posters imagine alien vistas on faraway worlds that humans may someday visit.

Sometimes it's good to balance the fantasy with the reality, though. The last few calendars I have gotten depict real scenes in space. Galaxies, nebulae and other things are brought from hundreds of light years away to my bedroom wall.

This year's calendar offers various Hubble Space Telescope photographs from around the cosmos. The month of January shows a photograph of two merging star clusters. I try not to spoil myself and look too far ahead, even though many times, the back of the calendar displays each photograph available. I do always like to sneak a peek at March, since it is my birth month.

I purchased this year's calendar for $5. Pretty much all calendars, even astronomy ones, are fairly inexpensive.

There is a point to all this, aside from declaring my love for astronomy calendars.

Surrounding yourself with literature, photographs and inspiration from worlds far away isn't expensive. There are plenty of books, magazines and other media available for free - such as photographs from nasa.gov - or for a relatively small fee.

Your local library can assist with this, too.

Secondly, I believe that the sooner a child grows up with the understanding that there's a universe out there that's so much bigger than anything they could possibly imagine, that could put things in perspective. That even though we are so small and seemingly insignificant, we find togetherness in this vast place where we live.

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Malan is entertainment editor and astronomy columnist for the News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Joe? Send an email to jmalan@enidnews.com.

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Entertainment Editor | Copy Editor | Astronomy Writer

Hi, I'm Joe. I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since June 2009. I design many of the pages you see each week in your newspaper. I love writing and talking about space, and I love listening to and writing about music as well.

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