It’s Cold outside. Really cold. 3 Centimetres of ice on the pond cold.
The sky though, is stunning.
I knew it would be. The winter Sun had watched me at work all day from a clear blue sky.
It’s just after seven and above is a sky that holds you in stunned silence. Clear, crisp, still, full of stars, a sharp moon casts its waxing gibbous light over the spreading frost and catches the moist breath escaping from the scarf wrapped around my face. It is beautiful almost beyond description.
But it is cold.
My telescope is still in it’s bag, the important process of setting up and cooling before the serious observations begin, has yet to start. The night before it was this cold, that’s what I tell myself anyway, so why haven’t I set up yet? Over two hours last night sketching the moon and you enjoyed every minute of it, so why haven’t I put out my pencils and sketch pad, put on my red torch and begun to search for the targets I have in mind?
It’s too cold. I love this hobby and clear nights like this are rare. But it is supposed to be a pleasurable experience, something that makes hours fly by like minutes, a distraction so intense that worries about comfort and work day stresses vanish into a black hole.
But not tonight, my toes are already complaining and my hands don’t want to come out of their hiding place. I look away from the sky and I know that it’s time to indulge in the other side of this hobby. It’s time to admit defeat, keep the scope in it’s bag, leave my pencils in their tin and find somewhere cozy to hole up, pull well thumbed astronomy books off the shelf and relax and plan future nights observations in My Astronomer’s Den…