Monday, 19 October 2009

the astronomy


as i ambled my way back into consciousness on saturday the phone rang. geo and fs were up at the bothy. telescopes had been set up. did we want to come? t and i unfurled our inner geeks and set off immediately.
true the quietest and loveliest part of our day was the walk up the glen, geo being a person who fears the quiet, so that the rest of our weekend was accompanied to the sound of constant radio 3 and the winding up of radios but this was small complaint in light of our location, where t had not not been.
i'd talked up fs and his sky knowledge what with him being qualified in the astrphysics and all and he didn't let us down. within an hour the clarity of the sky was letting us seeing the banding on jupiter. as the night fell t managed to spot all manner of other things including andromeda, the beehive cluster. shooting stars and satellites among others. later i'd get a spot of jupiter with all four moons.
but really what beguiled us, as usual, was, in the absence of any significant light pollution, the night sky and how fabulously ignorant we are of it. having a mate to guide you round it and having the time to see how it moves is well worth it. we had a real sense of how truncated our city type life is by not being able to do that thing that most of our ancestors could - looking up and being amazed.
as ever with the astronomy our time was limited by incoming cloud so by morning (the pics above) the glen was much more what you'd expect of an october morning in scotland. what you can't hear is the shouting of the deer...

13 comments:

Sorlil said...

beautiful pictures and sounds like a perfect night

swiss said...

it was great. i think for me th thing was, looking at jupiter, i was doing exactly what galileo had done all those years ago and while, intellectually, i know this and many astronomical stories besides, the reality of looking up at the sky is something else again.

swiss said...

plus you can't beat being is a cosy wee howff away from everything with your friends

sarah said...

lucky! what a wonderful experience.

Sorlil said...

I used to climb up the golf course at night with star charts and binoculars (and you thought you were a geek lol) but haven't done that for years

Dominic Rivron said...

Sounds awesome. Have a smallish reflector here - and being in country we can see the milky way and andromeda galaxy (on a good night) from the garden with the naked eye. With the telescope, can just make out Saturn's rings and Titan. Good views of the moon. Bands on Jupiter, probably not. That would be fantastic!

swiss said...

we missed saturn and mars as it clouded over in the morning (and we were sleeping!)

currenty we don't have an astronomical telescope but that'll be getting addressed very soon!

sunnydunny said...

wonderful time of year, and it's great to see the night sky. have you ever written any astronomical poems? I've got one on Kepler and Brahe which I might post in a week or so.

swiss said...

i did one on the 1833 leonid meteor storm a while back and i've got another one kicking about i might put up on the blog shortly

i have an unfinished short story about copernicus that i must, must finish sometime soon

sunnydunny said...

I rather enjoyed John Banville's life of Copernicus in the form of a novel.

Totalfeckineejit said...

That's a great night out.No telescope here but I look at the stars/skies every night without fail.I'm always expecting the unexpected, never happens-except for once!

Feltbug said...

How magical! I love the name beehive cluster. Living in London we are surrounded by those horrid security lights in people's back gardens so the stars have really faded for us in the city.

Roxana said...

how lovely - it's all i can say right now - oh, and for me too, spending such a night with my friends and then be greeted by such an incredible sky in the morning would be close to heaven...