March star trails

This past Sat­ur­day, the sky was clear and the auro­ral fore­cast looked promis­ing, so I drove out to a dark spot to check out out. The auro­ra, if it was there at all, was a very faint smear at the extreme north­ern hori­zon. But I had bought a cof­fee, so I stuck around long enough to get some star trails.

The pho­to is about 150 images, 10 sec­onds each, ISO 800, f/2.8, 11mm, all stacked in GIMP. The wax­ing half-moon lit the fore­ground for me.


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.


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.