Friday, December 3, 2010

"...more important things..."

Masahiro Miyasaka. From
Winter is my favorite time of the year for night sky-watching. Earth is arcing through the part of its solar orbit that faces out toward the constellations Orion (a professional and romantic touchstone for me and Elizabeth), Gemini, Leo, Canis Major and Minor, the Pleiades star cluster, and more. It's something I look forward to every December, and on nights between now and February I'll get to feel ice forming on my mustache. One of my first public shows was a gorgeous planetarium production on the subject (the winter sky, that is; not my icy mustache).

Of course, living here in Seattle doesn't present enough opportunities for clear-sky viewing, but I take 'em when I get 'em.

There may be a film reference I could drop in here to justify this post in a "mostly movies" blog, but that's just not where my head is at the moment. (Oh, okay — "My God, it's full of stars!" There.)

Instead, in about ten minutes I'll be walking with Kai down by the water at Alki under the first blue-sky day we've had since November 23. (That day's Facebook update at 7:07 am: "It may be 23° with snow out my back door right now, but the sky is so clean and clear that I can't recall the last time the moon, 96% full, was so crisp and vivid through my binoculars. Gorgeous detail.") If the clear sky holds true into tonight, I'll be out there rather than in here. Although I will, no doubt, make sure a hot beverage is waiting for me when I get back inside. (Memo to self: Google search for drinks hot Bushmill's).

The sky tonight:

Amazing Space (from the Space Telescope Science Institute)


Astronomy magazine

Sky and Telescope