Wintry

Jack Frost visited my windowpanes.

Some­times it’s hard to see the beau­ty in win­ter, which is why I like tak­ing pho­tos of things like hoar on trees and frost on win­dow­panes (like the pho­to above).

Oth­er­wise, it’s too easy to feel like this—

My cold-weather gear when it's -25 or -30 C

—when the tem­per­a­ture dips to -30°C in the morn­ings.

Arabian Stars & Constellations

A fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cle on the Plan­e­tary Soci­ety web­site: Whose Stars? Our her­itage of Ara­bi­an astron­o­my:

Gre­co-Mesopotami­an con­stel­la­tion fig­ures bear Latin names. Their bright­est stars are des­ig­nat­ed with let­ters of the Greek alpha­bet, yet most of them bear prop­er names that derive from Ara­bic. Even so, many of these star names are Ara­bic descrip­tions of Greek con­stel­la­tion fig­ures, not Ara­bi­an ones.

Learn more about the Ara­bi­an star and con­stel­la­tion names, like, for instance, ath-Thu­raya (aka the Pleiades) and her Hands (one ampu­tat­ed, one hen­na-dyed), Alde­baran (the Fol­low­er), al-Jawza’ and the Shi’ra sis­ters, and more.

It’s fas­ci­nat­ing, and at least part of the rea­son I’m post­ing this is to book­mark the arti­cle for lat­er re-read­ing. I think it might be a use­ful thing for a sci­ence-fic­tion writer to know about.

Head­er image: Pleiades (or I guess ath-Thu­raya), tak­en by me in 2015.

Geminids

In the pho­to above, I caught what I think was a C-130 Her­cules turn­ing. I think the mil­i­tary might have been doing some flight train­ing.

I caught a few mete­ors on cam­era tonight. It was mild in town, but the wind out in the coun­try made it very cold.

I think I might have seen more mete­ors than I pho­tographed, actu­al­ly. They were all over the sky. And even the bright­est two, in the pho­tos below, bare­ly show up.

I guess I’ve got some more learn­ing to do about shoot­ing mete­or show­ers.

 

Stairs

You go up, you go down.

I saw this stair­way on Twit­ter, and thought it looked, well, amaz­ing. It made me nos­tal­gic for the stairs in my child­hood home, to wit:

Dad made the ris­ers. They’re var­nished wood, crazy slip­pery in sock feet, shaped like the end of a canoe pad­dle. The cen­tral col­umn, if I recall cor­rect­ly, was weld­ed by a close fam­i­ly friend, Gilles.

Man, I loved those stairs. They were the best.