The warmth of the lunchtime Sun and a cup of tea.
Hasn’t the weather been kind?
If you are a UK based astronomer the last fortnight has been the stuff of dreams, in fact weather has almost paid back the debt it owed us for a pretty abysmal winter.
The downside of course is that the days are getting longer, the night, at our latitude, is taking longer to get dark and we are on that road to late night summer observing.
But then I have sat in my garden the last few nights without a coat and hat, enjoying a glass of scotch and no profanity filled battle with dew interrupting my views of Mars.
So here I sit on a Wednesday lunchtime in my sun baked garden and I look up and see the moon.
Right there in the warm spring sky, a faint crescent peering at me through the blue of our daytime window.
It’s all still there and that is easy to forget while you bustle about during the interruption between observing sessions. The curtain of scattered sunlight sweeps over us in the early morning and we pack away, yawn, regret the fact we stayed up so long and ignore the sky for a dozen hours.
Right now Venus and Jupiter are right overhead, completing their beautiful conjunction that has thrilled so many, while Uranus and Mercury are sitting with the Sun and Neptune is just above the western horizon. While I sit enjoying a lunchtime cuppa 5 planets and the moon are ‘in view’ over head.
If I could peer through the sunlight the constellations Pegasus and Andromeda would be dominating the sky. In fact not far above the Sun right now is M31, our galactic neighbour. The smudge I spent all autumn and winter sketching under a cold freezing sky.
It is curious to think of it all still there, invisible because of our nearest star, out of our reach in some cases for months while the Earth moves round its long orbit and changes the stellar vesta.
The next time I look at ‘this’ sky through a telescope the new leaves currently bursting from my apple tree will be on my compost heap and my tea will be hidden in a flask.
Time for another cuppa…