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.
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.
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.
When I left the house last night, it was mostly clear. I stopped and got a coffee, and by the time I made it to my destination— a gravel road a couple miles north of the Rapid City turn-off—the half-moon was still bright, but a thin haze of cloud had started to move in.
Last week I got my hair cut. My hairdresser, like me, is an amateur photographer. We got talking lenses, and she said she had a Lensbaby but had no idea how to use it. She offered to lend it to me.
I said “Sure!” I’ve been curious to try one out, to see what it could do, but not curious enough to buy my own.
I did some experimenting. It’s not like any lens I’d used before; you focus with two fingers, and you can maneuver it so that you’ve got a sharp focal point, and the rest of the image is blurred—almost motion blurred, really. It was interesting to use, but not something I’d probably buy for myself. Certainly not at full price.
Then last night—Hallowe’en night, no less—I glanced out the window as I was getting my stuff together for judo. After a day of unbroken clouds, I saw that the sun had broken through, and was throwing golden light everywhere. I raced upstairs with my camera (which still had the Lensbaby attached) and snapped the above photo, of the trees in my front yard.
I like it. I think it turned out pretty good.
Now I think I need to do some more learning with the Lensbaby.
Half an hour’s worth of Earth’s rotation, along with the headlights of three or four vehicles traveling down Manitoba PR468, under the bright light of October’s full moon. Also I think there are a couple airplanes crossing the sky. And clouds.
Nerdy tech details
I’m not sure anyone but me will care about this, but so it goes.
~200 images, 10s each, f/2.8, ISO800. WB was set to “Daylight”.
Lightly edited in GIMP: I copied and pasted the main layer as two more layers, and set the middle one to Grain Merge, the top one to Hard Light. This darkened the background a bit and enhanced the lights.