Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Skies Like Blood

After our horrendous weather, which never really got very horrendous up here in the Midlands, and the presence previously of the moon, I was finally able to get outside last night with the 10x50s for some deep sky stargazing.

It was cold, so why I had chosen to grab something cold, cylindrical and can-like out of the fridge was beyond me. Nevertheless, it helped brace me against a clear, breezy evening with an autumnal nip in the air.

By 1230am, the big autumn constellations are now starting to sink westwards – the mighty flying horse Pegasus is now flying so low the globular Messier 15 is no longer visible from my garden. Of the other winged constellations, Aquila is gone, but I can still see half of Cygnus from over the roof, and so last night observed Messier 39, perhaps my favourite binocular open cluster.

Overhead, the Perseus double cluster was naked eye visible, and of course I had to stop off at Kemble’s Cascade. Then I shifted position, and took in the open clusters of Auriga, all of them plainly visible. The mighty hunter is now visible, at least his burly shoulders, and I spent a fair few minutes taking in the intense vermillion colour of Betelgeuse. You can imagine the sky looking like it was on fire if that star goes supernova in our lifetime; the celestial vault would look like it was bleeding, the blood-light illuminating our skins with its crimson glow.

And then the ground begins to stir…

If any night is ripe for the undead apocalypse, it will be when Betelgeuse goes supernova…or is my imagination getting the better of me?

Copyright cream crackered nature 29/10/2013

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