Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Night..

It's getting colder and the nights are getting longer. Soon everywhere will look brown, grey, damp and (to me) depressing. However. there's one consolation that keeps me going through to Spring and we had a grandstand view of it last night. There was no moon, very little cloud and, being a village, very little light pollution: as astronomers say, the "seeing" was good. The sky was overflowing with stars and the massive arch of the Milky Way positively overpowering. One was immediately aware of the central part of the galaxy there, above one's head - so much so, I felt, that I had a sense of walking upside down in relation to the centre of the galaxy rather than (as I suppose one usually feels) right way up in relation to the centre of the earth. The night was so clear it seemed as if that the different colours of the stars (blue, red) were accentuated. The Andromeda Galaxy was dimly visible to the naked eye, over the bungalow at the end of the lane.

There are other consolations (snow men, icicles and the fantastic patterns of ice for example) but there's nothing quite like the night sky in winter. One can go in search of landscapes that please the eye but on a clear moonless night  there's hundreds of thousands of lightyears of landscape to look at just outside the back door.

15 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

And our old friend Orion turns up at around 4.00 am too. Clear skies to you.

Get Off My Lawn! said...

I am reminded of an Isaac Asimov story about a world that only gets a good view of the night sky once every two thousand years. And every two thousand years, the population learns how insignifiant they are and civilization collapses. Asimov suggested that only science fiction can prepare us for similar, shattering scientific discoveries.

Rachel Fox said...

As they say on facebook, "like".
x

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes, we noticed it too - it was an incredibly clear night. As Tess mooches about last thing at night we have time to look at these things. There was also a tiny bird (wren?) roosing for the night inside one of our empty coconut shells hanging in the rowan tree.

Ruth said...

We are fortunate to have a hot tub and to watch the night sky all year. My favorite time is winter. How else could I sit still for up to 30 minutes and stare at the stars?

patteran said...

I'm looking forward to those night skies too. We're very near completion on a loft conversion with Velux windows so we'll be able to lie back and watch!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Nothing like a clear night sky to warm the cockles cooled by winters air.

The heavens are magnificent and it makes one realise how small and insignificant we are in the scheme of things...

Anna :o]

GOAT said...

Ha, over in Solitary Walker Land there's been some night-time contemplation going on as well. I agree, winter skies are superb and one of the things I always miss about Australia is the Southern Hemisphere sky on a clear night - just about unbeatable.

I'm really loving early Autumn but my pleasure is tinged with apprehension about the long winter not far off. I remember last year's Korean winter all too well. And down here in the south-east, we get the drabness you describe without the consolation of snow!

tony said...

..brown, grey, damp and depressing..... Ah! Todmorden in July!!!! By the way Dominic..I was driving on the M62 {escaping Oldham!) & i saw the meteor-shower on Friday night...Shades of THE TWILIGHT ZONE!!!!

Jessica Maybury said...

If I could star this post like on twitter, I would. Blogger though, sadly, like life, isn't twitter.


....I did an entire post just for you :D http://jmaybury.blogspot.ie/2012/09/musical-composition-dominic-rivron.html

Jessica Maybury said...

and by 'for you' I mean on you.

Gwil W said...

Feeling part of the greater universe is certainly an interesting experience.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everybody!

TS: Yes. I'm more familiar with the constellations that turn up at that time at the moment.

GOML: I remember reading that too! Then there was the one about the species with three sexes that turned into something completely different in adulthood.

RF: Thank you.

WG: It's one of the best things about round here, I think.

Ruth: \Sadly, I suppose binoculars would steam up in a hot tub?

patteran: that would be nice. I can sit in the shed, but the view is limited.

hyperC: Indeed.

GOAT: And you can see all those constellations we can't, like the Southern Cross, and then there's the Magellanic Clouds...

tony: Weird, wasn't it? We didn't see it, we heard it! A series of eerie bangs.

JM: Thank you.

GwilW: It certainly is.

Gwil W said...

Dominic, I just picked my first telescope. It's an Optus 700mm with 76mm dia. objektiv. I got it at the local church flea-market for about 20 quid. It's even got a 3-year guarantee which unfortunately expired at or on 31.12.2002 earth time.

Never mind, what's 3 light years between us astronomers! Yes Dominic, although it's still in the big blue box with its German handbook, I count myself a stargazer now. I hope none of the more than 24 pieces are missing!

Gwil W said...

Well, I've screwed it all together so now I only have to figure out how it works.

It took me a couple of goes. First I had assembled it to examine the carpet, so then I had to change it round to point upwards, after all that's where the sky is.

Only one piece missing, the dust cap for the end so I used a plastic bag.

Can't wait for some stars!