Aurora

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The sun is starting to wake up after Solar Minimum. Apparently there was a coronal mass ejection from the sun yesterday. This means that a twisted magnetic line of energy had broken and exploded with plasma coming out of the Sun. The energy can fly out in any direction but sometimes the CME heads towards Earth, then the magnetic feild around the Earth shields us. Except at the poles. Its like when you put iron filings on a bar magnet. You can see the magnetic field lines and the way the iron filings follow them. The magnetic lines dip down towards the magnetic poles. This is what happens at the North and South poles of Earth. The energy from the sun is channelled towards the poles and excites the gasses in the atmosphere. I think Nitrogen glows green and Oxygen pink? I’m not sure.

Anyway there has been a CME from the Sun and the chance is there might be some Auroral displays in the next few days.

Perseids

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From Spaceweather.com

PERSEID METEOR ALERT: Earth is entering a stream of debris from giant comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the display is not expected to peak until August 11-13, sky watchers are already seeing some of the most beautiful fireballs of the year. Plan your Perseid watch with sky maps and observing tips on today’s edition of of Spaceweather.com.

I hope we have clear skies in the UK.

Comet Neowise

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I have not seen it. It keeps being to cloudy. But I just read this at Spaceweather.com so I tried to draw it.

COMET NEOWISE APPROACHES EARTH: Tomorrow night might be your best chance to see Comet NEOWISE for the next 6,800 years. On July 23rd, the comet makes its closest approach to Earth. The fading comet is still visible to the naked eye from dark-sky sites and an easy target for photographers everywhere. Get the full story at Spaceweather.com .

There is then the Persid meteor shower in August. Around the 15th? That might be a good show. Meteor showers are caused by the dust thrown off from comets as they get close to the sun. It’s called out gassing when cometary ice is heated by sunshine and boils off into space taking dust with it. A comets tail is made up of two different parts, the dust tail and an ion tail which is made up of ionised gas. The comets tail always points away from the sun because it is blown by the solar wind.

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Noctilucent clouds.

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High up in the atmosphere, close to space, Noctilucent clouds start to appear in the summer months. They glow an almost electric blue and are caused by sunlight reflecting off gas particles from meteors that have broken and burned up as they strike the earth’s atmosphere at high speeds. Over the last few years these clouds have become more common and scientists are investigating why.

I see information about these and other atmospheric and astronomical phenomena at Spaceweather.com a fascinating Web page.

Are the stars out?

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In the sky I see stars, not many, the major constellations, ursa major, ursa minor, casseopea. Its hard to make out because the clouds are flitting by. And despite lockdown, the street lights still deaden them.

I’ve only ever felt the greatness and infinity of space when we were out in the countryside. Seeing the milky way galaxy made me feel so tiny. Like I could fall off the surface of the earth, into a whirlpool of stars. Seeing that band of stardust overhead can be overwhelming.

Dark skies, where the town and city light does not reflect back. Where you can lie down on the ground and see shooting stars flying overhead. I may have seen satellites or the ISS but I wouldn’t be sure. We have seen comets…

The sky is there to observe. Look if you can, and learn.

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Setting moon….

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From my (short) perspective, he moon was already set, but my hubby, who is a lot taller could still see it. So I held my phone up high, took it off auto onto manual, so it wasn’t overexposed, and took a few snaps. This was the best of the bunch.

Moon set. You can tell the sun is north west of it because of the sunlight light reflected on the moons surface.

Some bright stars in the sky tonight. Mercury and Venus have already set. One bright star overhead but can’t identify it. I had a quick look at what’s visible in tonight’s sky, but I think most of the other planets are rising in the morning.

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Digital galaxy

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Another one of my digital drawings on sketchfu. Probably drawn in 2013 before the site closed down. A lot of this is done by using opacity and transparency. There were about seven sizes of pens on the website and a large colour palette and a colour picker and erasers that I think had a varied transparency.

When you do something like this you have to build up from a basic background, layering details, adding more and smaller detail as I go along.

Observation is important. I can excuse slight mistakes, but I try and be as accurate as possible.

I’m interested in astronomy so being able to draw from beautiful images is a real pleasure. I think this either came from a stock image, or somewhere like NASA or ESA, but it’s so long ago…

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Old digital drawing

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Ten years ago or so I drew this at sketchfu. It’s an astronomer and a sort of face. I wonder sometimes where I get my ideas from. I enjoy astronomy programmes but I guess this started out as a doodle and then I embellished it. This was what I was talking about when I said about being experimental in a previous post, this isn’t controlled. I didn’t have to use ellipses or straight lines. I was not constrained by any rules.

I have a deviant art account and I used to draw in photoshop and post the results there. I might go back to doing that. Using a phone is simple, but it’s limited.

I have drawn so much in my life. I want to continue….

Seeing Saturn

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Digital sketch…

Years ago I had the pleasure of using a low powered telescope. I managed to find Juiter and then further away in the darkness was Saturn. It was amazing, the Rings were tipped up so they were much more visible than when they are in the a more horizontal plain. It was tiny, so small, but I could see it wavering slightly in the night air. I think Galileo thought it looked like it had ears?

To see planets with your own eyes, however small they appear is wonderful. The time it takes for the light to get to us means you scan look into the past. So it’s almost like time travel too!

If you ever get the chance, look up and see the sky….

Things to do

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The world is full of bored people. One of the things to do that was posted on Facebook is to close your eyes and choose a book at random. Find page 109  go to the third paragraph and post the first sentence you come to. Also include the author and book title.

Mine was : The radar maps show features of all kinds. (Patrick Moore’s Astronomy), ( teach yourself book)

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It’s random, but something to do…..