Thursday 12 February 2015

What are your Favourite Stars?

A rather gossipy title, by my standards, but where I'm sitting at the moment, in a works canteen, there is little nature to enjoy, and the sky is the same battleship grey it has been all day. Green fields seem to emit a swampy vapour, and there is not a bird to be seen.

So, one is naturally drawn to contemplate the Universe. Well, I am, anyway.

As regular readers have probably realised, I tend to stargaze any clear night I can, either more serious sweeps with my binoculars, or a more relaxed, contemplative, naked eye observation. The night sky is endlessly fascinating to me, and I could talk of my love for Mu Cepheii, the deep red "Garnet Star" christened by Herschel or perhaps my endless hunting for the famed La Superba, Y Canum Venaticorum. This star is reputed to be the reddest thing in the entire sky, and my neck craning binocular searches are designed to prove to myself that this might be the case.

So far, I'm not convinced. The Garnet Star wins every time.

But in many ways, it is the seasons that define my life, not with any kind of Vivaldi-ish romanticism, but the rather more humdrum need to have a safe cycle to work in light conditions, without blizzard winds sweeping over roads darkly glistening with black ice. And to get to work without my agonised fingers dropping off with frostbite as if I was a foolish mountaineer.

So, it is the stars of early morning that catch my eye, the stars of summer that mark the commencement of spring when you can see them when you leave for work at 6am. So my most beloved stars are Vega, the metal blue guardian of warmer nights, and Antares, the low heart of the Scorpion, the constellation that stalks the horizon in a hopeless search for Orion placed safely by the gods on the other side of the heavens.

When I leave my home and can see both Vega, and Antares, I feel that the difficult months are over, and I will soon be chasing butterflies through the parks of Spring.



  1. Nice post Si and thank you for popping in to my blog. Knowing bugger all about constellations of stars I'm loath to comet but there is one that I always look for and that be the stars that form Orion, just something that holds a special place in my heart.

  2. You make it sound very beautiful, will often be found looking at the night sky..
    Amanda xx

  3. Orion to me is the opposite, the stunning, but cold, harbringer of winter. I've just studied a futurelearn course on Orion.

    John, many thanks for dropping by.

  4. I love looking at Orion but my favourite start cluster is, without doubt, The Pleiades (something rather mystical about the Seven Sisters :) )

  5. My favourite starfields are all in the vicinity of Orion and Monoceros