50 years on,
Watching the landing,
Seeing the moon
In another light.
I was young when it happened
I was allowed to stay up.
Marvelling at Man’s bravery
To fly to the moon.
Hold up my thumb
Moon has gone.
If they did the same
earth was gone too.
Infinity of space
We are miniscule.
Apollo as insect jumping to a new stone.
Taking a tiny step into the void.
Perhaps we will go further,
But life remains precious,
Our bubble got bigger
But remains tiny
In the shape of space.
One of my favourite space films. Up there with the Sci-Fi classic 2001 a Space Odyssey.
In this case the film is based on the ill fated flight of Apollo 13. The crew of three were on the way to the moon when one of their oxygen tanks burst when it was stirred. They were left 3/4 of the way to the moon with a shortage of air to breathe. They had to work out how to navigate the space ship, work out how to clear the CO2 that was poisoning their air, work out how to use the equipment with almost no battery power and successfully splash down on the Earth. It was only on the way back that they saw the damage to their service module that they saw the damage and whether the heat shield that protected them from friction from the atmosphere would work.
I guess it’s on because of the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon. Very good film.
Well you could barely see them really, but a few months ago , in winter, one dawn I saw the crescent moon and the planet Jupiter. The planet was up on a diagonal from the curve of the moon. Like a parachute blowing out of control in a strong wind, canopy downward and the planet swinging up and away into the morning sky. The branches made it hard to see, hard to locate, and as the wind was blowing the view was obstructed by the swaying trees. Most of the time the planet would be visible and the moon not and then vice versa.
So why am I telling you this? Because I spotted the photo and I wanted to practice describing it. I’ve mostly spoken about the Moon and Jupiter, not about the surroundings. The horizon. Is hidden by the line of shop roofs and tree branches. The sky has lightened but the sun is not up. The position of the sun (down and to the left) is indicated by the illumination on the moon (trust me it was a crescent curved downwards to the left). So that’s it. Not a story, a description.
Fly me to the moon was Stella’s favourite song. She’d heard it as a child and whenever she saw the moon she would either sing that, or sometimes twinkle twinkle little star.
It was 3am and the moon was a half circle, flying high, dancing in and out of broken clouds. A few moonbeams made it into the kitchen as she switched on the kettle and waited for it to boil. She was careful to pour the liquid into her coffee mug. In the dim light she didn’t want to spill it onto her toes.
There was a flash, she looked around and saw, nothing. The world looked the same.
There was another bright flash. This time she was a meteor streaking across the sky. Far brighter than a normal shooting star. And there was another. These are fireballs, she thought. They must be high up. The shadows they cast shot across the kitchen rapidly. One particular one was so bright she thought it was going to hit the house. It made the windows rattle.
Then it just stopped. She waited minutes for another one. Nothing. No sound, no wind, no huge explosion. What had they been? In the morning none of her neighbours had heard or seen anything. She went to work, came home, made a coffee.
Turning on the six o’clock news.
“seven space vehicles have landed near Washington” “no response from them” “civilians are warned to keep away”.
She wondered what would happen next?
I Bodged a hole in a peice of card
Two years ago we had a partial eclipse (about 85% to 90%) of the sun. This meant that the moons shadow cut into the Sun’s disc but didn’t completely cover it.
I knew that if you make a hole in a peice of card and then hold the card infront if a plain white or pale surface you can project the image of the sun onto the wall. This is better than trying to use solar goggles which are not always safe to use. YOU MUST NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN. You could be Blinded. Even if you use sun glasses you are in danger, sun glasses do not cut out the full spectra of the sun and your eyes can be burned. You must not look at the sun! The second two photos were to show the suns image cast on the wall.
Anyway after that strong warning I will continue… .
When the sun shone onto the card a small image of it was projected behind the card. This is called a pinhole projection. Then as the moon glided across the sun a little bite appeared to cut into the sun. Gradually it increased. In this case the sun was passing across the face of the sun in one direction but because the projection was upside down the moon appeared to bite in to the right hand lower side but it was actually passing left to upper left.
As the moon crept across the face of the sun I noticed the shadows got less strong. Then I saw the shadow of my weeping fig on the wall. Amazingly all the leaves combined to cast lots of curved moon shadows onto the wall. I went outside and noticed the same thing was happening where the light was coming through the tree leaves. I’ve seen this phenomenon photographed and described on astronomy programmes.
Finally I took a shot of the light vshining through the trees. Carefully not looking at the sun and ensuring the camera lens was not pointed directly at the sun.
Life is interesting I hope you get the chance to see an eclipse.
The moon danced last night
Leaping across the sky
It sang of silver shadows
Falling far and wide
The moon rang with music
Notes of heavenly tunes
Rising and falling
moon bows shining bright
The moon smiled last night
As it travelled overhead
Bathing the world with glimmers
And frosty gauzy white
The moon breathed last night
Cool breezes soft and sweet
Gentle dreaming sighing
Sleep in silent flight.
No, this is a blurry picture of Venus, the Moon and Jupiter. Somewhere nearby was also Mars.
This was the view looking East from our house about 6am this morning.
You can’t see it but the sky was crystal clear and the planets and moon were twinkling behind the tree branches. My camera phone is good in low light levels but it has over exposed this. Add my hand shaking and it is not very clear. However it might make for an interesting painting.
There are various astronomy sites where you can find information about conjunctions if planets. I like the sky at night on the BBC. Also I have spaceweather.com on my mobile so I can see things like comets, auroras and near earth asteroids.
Our little solar system is tiny compared with the Galaxy and then the universe, but its quite an interesting place even so.