Julie Zhou
Sophomore, LSA


To have the zenith of my being
see past the horizon blocking
your farthest secrets
is what I dream before I sleep.

No matter what
angle I look at,
your one-sidedness makes me
curious about your constellation
of 88 thoughts.

Are you a Scorpio?

When I try to study you,
I examine telescopically, but
the milky way the nebulas in
your eyes draw me far from reality
over the moon.

Spacing out,
observing the beauty of our past,
I marvel.

Has my continuous spectrum
traveled enough light-years
to reach you?

Even the slightest tilt away
sends me seasonal depression of the year.
So before the atmosphere suffocates me,
although my heart beating ultraviolet already is,
I’m confessing out of the blue.

Rather than this continual tug of back and forth,
either your purest destruction will give birth to a new me,
or your destruction will leave me void.




I’m in ASTRO 101. It’s my first time studying astronomy, and I’m having fun learning about it too. I’m a big romantic: I love to read romance, daydream about it, research it, and more. I found a few concepts from ASTRO 101 to be rather lovely if pictured in the right context. That’s what inspired me to write Longitude.

The title of this poem, Longitude, can be interpreted in various ways; more subtly, it’s a combination of the words ‘longing’ and ‘attitude’. The first two stanzas reference naked eye astronomy. When observing stars in the night sky, scientists envision their line of sight as a dome. The position of the observer is the center of the dome and called the zenith. The border of the ground blocking sight is called the horizon. To describe where stars and constellations are, the observer will use angles relative to their position within the dome. However, because we can only see one section of the sky at a time due to the horizon, we can never observe all 88 constellations in the sky at the same time. The third stanza includes the common belief that Scorpios are fickle and coy in love.

A continuous spectrum is visible light that shows all the colors of the rainbow, and light-years (how far light travels in a year) are a unit of distance astronomers use to describe how far objects are in space; however, when observing a star that’s 2 million light-years away, what we actually see through the telescope is what that star looked like 2 million years ago. The following stanzas incorporate these ideas. “The milky way the nebulas in” alludes to a dreamy look in beautiful and colorful eyes, also including a play on words: “The Milky Way the nebula’s in”. Stanza six is when the narrator wonders if their rainbow has taken enough light-years in terms of both time (how long they’ve known each other) and space (how far the narrator felt they were from their heart). The colors ultraviolet and blue are the highest frequencies on the continuous spectrum, so when the narrator admits their heart is beating ultraviolet and that they’re confessing out of the blue, they’re expressing how fast their heart rate and confession is. The last few stanzas refer to how the Earth’s tilt towards or away from the Sun determines the seasons and that the continual tug of gravity is what makes the Earth orbit. The ending lines about destruction are a link to how Earth and life formed: the explosion of stars is how new elements came to exist, which is what allowed for the creation of planets. However, if we were to face the explosion of a star now, it’d end in tragedy.