Green skies

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The Aurora borealis is something I’ve never seen but always wanted to. When I see photos of it I’m amazed that electrons from the suns solar wind can cause such beauty.

The electrons and other particles travel along the magnetic lines of force at the North Pole (and South – the Aurora Australis I think it’s called). As they interact with the magnetic field they glow. The different colours denote different elements. I think Green is Nitrogen and Pink is Oxygen.

The Aurora occur at the poles because they are where the magnetic field is at its weakest and drops down towards the pole. If you have seen iron filings round a bar magnet you can see how the field curves round and down.

So what is solar wind? It is the matter that pours out from the sun when there is a hole in the corona (upper atmosphere of the sun). There are coronal mass ejections where the sun spews out masses of ionised electrons which interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

There is a lot more about aurora’s but my knowledge is not good enough to explain more.

 

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

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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Shouting in the dark

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I’m too small

The world’s too big

Shouting in the dark,

 

The world’s too small

Solar system so big,

Shouting in the dark,

 

Sun’s system is small

The galaxy is big

Shouting in the dark –

 

The galaxy is small

The universe is big

I’m shouting in the dark.

 

Shouting into infinity.

Is anyone out there –

To hear?

Enthralled

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Apollo 11

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

And ability

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.