Jupiter 2009

FB_IMG_1572912413208Ten years ago, and before that, I was painting Jupiter. I love the planet, though its atmosphere is hellishly difficult to paint, swirls that meld into one another, colours that blend and merge.

I think I said it was like knitting the painting, because I built it up band by band.

Now I want to do more in the astronomical area. I’m thinking of painting on perspex if I can get the right effects. I woukd do something like the ‘pillars of creation’ dusty nebula. I am thinking of having different layers. How I would display it, and how accurate it would be? I don’t know-yet!

The Orionids

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Coming up on 22nd October 2019 is the Orionid meteor shower. There have already been a few fireballs from the shower and they are due to peak at dawn on the 22nd so it might be worth setting an alarm.

Where do they come from? They are dusty remnants of the comet Halley. They are the dust cloud that came off the comet as it travelled through the solar system. Halley returns on a regular basis. It was identified as a recurring comet by the astronomer Edmund Halley when he realised it was the same comet that had been seen in the sky around the time of the battle of Hastings and then approximately every 100 years or so afterwards.

The meteors (or meteorites if they land) appear to radiate from the area around the star Orion which is why they are called the Orionids. There are other showers of meteors throughout the year. These include the Persids and the Geminids. Some showers are brighter than others. It depends on the debris cloud that the Earth moves through. The dust and debris for showers are in patches of space that the Earth moves through, hence their yearly appearance.

The Orionids apparently move faster than a lot of other meteors so they can create more of a show. The speed increases the friction and they burn up in the atmosphere faster.

You can find out more at a website called Spaceweather.com

Contact

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I’m just watching the film ‘Contact’ starring Jodie Foster. It’s about an astronomer who is searching for alien life. Her search leads her to find an alien signal and the story continues by exploring the affect on humanity.

The story was originally written as a novel by the astronomer Carl Sagan. He was also involved in the NASA Voyager programme, and suggested the spacecraft turned its camera back towards Earth as it headed out of the solar system. He coined the phrase ‘Pale Blue Dot’, when the image showed a single pale blue pixel where Earth sat in the darkness and infinity of space.

I love Sci-fi, and am interested in the possibility of contact with another civilisation. Who knows what might actually happen.

Planet with water vapour.

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On the news tonight. A planet about twice the size of Earth has been found with water vapour in its atmosphere. Its around 100 light years away. Apparently its within the ‘goldilocks’ area around its star so its temperature is between 0°C and 40°C. It would be amazing if there was life there. The latest science is now looking for chemical traces in planetary atmospheres to look for the possibility of life on other planets.

I think the first extra solar planet was found in 1984? Since then about four thousand have been found. There are Hot Jupiter’s that orbit their stars closer than the orbit of Mercury in our solar system. There are cold Jupiter’s, there are also planets like Earth with surfaces that are covered in lava because they are close to their stars. And then there are terrestrial (rocky) planets that are more like the ones in our system.

One thing is certain, there are more planets out there than we know!

Orme Art exhibition..

I got my paintings up at the Brampton museum and art gallery now until the 10th November. I’m part of a group exhibition with fellow artists from the Orme Art group based in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

I’m quite happy that they have hung my Mars painting upside down! After all in space there is no right way up! The art is along a corridor in the museum but they are well displayed and lit. If you are around you can always take a look. It’s at the Brampton museum and art gallery in Newcastle-under-Lyme .

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Trying to paint Mars

DSC_2133Mars is often shrouded in planet wide dust storms, its rusty red colour is due to just that -rust. Did you know that the sunshine turns the sky pinkish in the daytime on Mars then bluish at sunset?

The painting is one of Mars poles, it’s just a generic photo of Mars that I’m trying to work from. I’m not sure which ole it id. The ice is carbon dioxide. I don’t know if it contains water ice?

The detail is quite hard but I hope I can capture it. Wish me luck!

Been to the studio.

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I’ve been back to my studio after a couple of months being too busy and hot to go there. This is my Jupiter tryptich which might be on show in the Brampton museum and art gallery soon, as part of the Orme Group of Artists exhibition.

Art and astronomy seem to be getting under my skin. I have tried to accurately depict the planet Jupiter, but  I don’t use airbrushing so everything is hand painted with various sizes of brushes.

It’s not perfect, I can see where I’ve gone wrong, but the whole point is that these are paintings, and I love patterns so trying to depict the fluid dynamics of Jupiter’s atmosphere is a real challenge.

I like the idea of having a tryptich. It can be hung vertically or horizontally, or as in this case on the diagonal. I also like using the floor at Spode. I think it makes a great background.

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