Thinking about armature. That's like the skeleton of a sculpture, or the tree you hang the ornaments on. Or the bones of a story; it provides an organizational principle for other things. My knowledge of astronomy is like a collection of those things -- nifty in their own right, but with a tendency to rattle around in my brain like particles driven only by Brownian motion. One of my hopes for this week is that the formal structure of the class will provide something like an armature, not only for the nifty facts I already have, but for those I will learn in the future. Good classes are like that; they pay forward in helping to make sense of my evolving knowledge base. I used to joke that the very little of the factual genetics I learned in 1966 is still valid (well, beyond the existence of DNA and the like), but the way of thinking about it, the sorting out of useful vs digressive questions, how to critically analyze the answers as they come from research, all that remains invaluable.
Back to packing -- mosquito repellent, skin lotion, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra socks, a jacket, sandals for dorm showers... everything one requires to study astronomy. In Wyoming. At altitude. The sun stuff is 'cause we'll get to go on a hiking/geology trip one morning.