It would take you all day to drive from North Carolina’s mountains to the sea, a journey of 503 miles under skies of Carolina blue and through high peaks and Foothills, Piedmont and Coastal Plain before finally reaching the shore. And if you drove the coast—only 300 miles as the crow flies—it’s a days drive as you follow the undulating line where water meets land, passing swamps, marshes, pocosins, and the shallow sounds on our eastern edge.
But the reality is this: North Carolina—the Earth, even—is barely a speck, cosmically speaking.
Go outside on the darkest night and look up. Even in the brightest of our cities you’ll see stars and planets overhead, only a handful out of hundreds of billions of stars and planets, nebulae and galaxies all right there, all out of reach.
To get a real sense of the wonder that is the cosmos, you need to get away from the cities,