With everything that’s been going on in the world lately, it really helps to take some time to notice the beauty that’s also with us. Last night, I did that by admiring the full moon for a while.
As I went out the door to take out the trash tonight, the full moon was rising beautifully in the east.
I grabbed my camera and tripod, and this was the best shot I got. I can’t help but think how much better it would have been with a longer lens. Hmmm… I wonder what my tax refund will be this year?
I recently discovered a wonderful website for anyone interested in astronomy and space: NASA Images.
In addition to the huge collection of images and multimedia of the universe, our solar system, the Earth, aeronautics and astronauts, it’s also got a nice time line from the late 1950’s until the present day.
High resolution versions of the images are available for download.
Did you see the lunar eclipse last night? I stepped out of my place about every 15 minutes or so to watch the show. When I was out there I wondered how many other people throughout the ages watched the moon darken with awe, as I was doing. Watching the Earth’s shadow slowly make its way across the lunar surface, I could understand how ancient peoples might start freaking out during such an event. I was also reminded of “Sister Moon,” the title song from Sting’s excellent album, …Nothing Like The Sun (who actually lifted that line from Shakespeare’s My Mistress’ Eyes sonnet).
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the Sun.
My hunger for her explains everything I’ve done.
To howl at the moon the whole night through,
And they really don’t care if I do.
I’d go out of my mind, but for you.
I didn’t have enough ambition to mess around with my camera and tripod during last night’s -5 F temperatures, but you can see images of the eclipse from SpaceWeather.com.
One of the things I love about camping it is usually means I’m far away from the glow of city lights. Last Monday night, when I was at Peninsula State Park, I was treated to a spectacular view of the night sky. The realization that I am away from from city lights really hits me when I can see that ribbon of stars across the sky, the Milky Way.
Tomorrow I will have worked at the Oak Creek Public Library for fourteen years. When I first started at Oak Creek I figured I would probably be there for five, maybe seven years. Fourteen years have past and I wonder where the time went. As Groucho Marx once said, “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”
In other news, today the planet Mars is the closest it’s been to the Earth in 60,000 years. Head outside tonight and take a look.
The cold, crisp air and the dusting of snow on the ground really made it feel like winter to me today. One thing I like about winter — the night skies are a lot more clear which makes stargazing a little easier. I’ve noticed the sky is a little darker outside my condo compared to where I used to live (I’m a little farther away from the city lights of Milwaukee). Last night when I got home about 9pm I looked up and saw the the Pleiades star cluster. That’s a constellation I don’t ever remember being able to see from my home before.
Check out the International Dark-Sky Association to learn more about light pollution and keeping our night skies dark.
Did you see the Leonid Meteor Shower last night? Since the peak was early this morning, I decided to set my alarm for 4:45am. After checking out the window that that sky was clear, I got dressed and headed outside. I spent about 15 minutes with my head turned skyward and saw a total of 18 meteorites. That’s pretty good when you consider the moon was almost full and I was watching the night sky in the middle of a metropolitan area. Imagine the visions of Leonids dancing before my eyes if I were out on a moonless night in the country.
The wonders of the universe we live in never cease to amaze me. Today NASA released spectacular pictures taken from a new camera recently installed on the Hubble Space Telescope. Looking at those breathtaking images brings several questions to my mind. Will humans ever see beautiful scenes like this in person? If so, how long until we do? Are there beings out there pointing their telescopes toward our galaxy and pondering these same thoughts?