I like noticing things…

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For instance, this is the just after full moon. Its in the same place in the sky as it was over the last few days, but not at the same time! I know the Earth and Moon orbit each other, and the moon is tidally locked with us. Which means it has one side always facing towards us. But as I say its in about the same place, but each day its a bit later, so after 5 days it’s moved from being there at 2am to 6am…..

Think about it. The Earth rotates in 24 hours, if the Moon is coming up later each day it must be going round the Earth at a certain speed. I don’t have the mathematic skill to work that out but if it takes 6 days to move 4 hours then if you multiply 4×6 you get 24 (hours) for it to end up in the same place so if you multiply 5(days)x6 you get 30, which is approximately a month to get to the same place in the sky and appear again at 2am. The Moon waxes and wanes while doing this. From that you can tell approximately where the sun is in relationship to us. If the half moon, and all the other phases are facing one way before full moon, the Sun is on the lighter side of the Moon. If its curved the other way as the moon starts to go away from full, then it’s on the other side. You can guess when the sun will rise from this, the smaller the area of brightness the more to the side of the Earth the sun must be. I can’t work out whether the sun would be rising sooner or later depending on its phase. I can see in my mind that if you were looking at both Earth and Moon from space they would be lit from the same direction, but sometimes you see the Moon in daylight, so I don’t know how that works. I think I would need to start drawing very long thin triangles, based on say a quarter of a centimeter on one side and 93 centimeters on the other two to work something out (based on the ratio of distances from the Earth to the Moon and the Earth to the Sun – .5:93…this is just scaling down the siz. I’m thinking in miles because I don’t know the distances in kilometers…. Its all got a bit complicated….

I remember once watching the moon every day for a week from the top of the hill, each day it got closer to the setting sun, till finally there was almost an eclipse. Somewhere on Earth there must have been an eclipse in the following day or so, but we missed it because the sun had already set.

Sunset over Alsager Mere

It doesn’t get more spectacular, looking out over the mere as the sun set, changing from orange and blue to a peach and rosy purple. It was a long day but enjoyable.

It’s interesting that on Mars the sky is red with dust in the daytime, then the sun sets and the sky turns blue.

I live on the wrong side of the hill so that I don’t get to see sunsets very often. It was lovely to see this.

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Red morning sky

I woke up to this red sky about half an hour ago. The sky is now more yellow and the sun is above the horizon. The light is streaming through the leaves and lighting them up. The red sky does not bode well for later on… Red sky in the morning shepherd’s warning (or sailors), but it certainly makes a breathtaking sight right in the heart of the city.

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.

 

Waiting for Spring.

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It’s Autumn and I’m already waiting for Spring! I need to work on the garden, cut shrubs back, plant tulip bulbs, plant snowdrops, then… Wait, wait, wait… Through the cold and rain, through the shirt dates and long nights.

I want to see the baby birds, the squirrel and its kits, the tadpoles in the pond (if we have frogs we must have tadpoles). I look forward to warmer, not too hot, days. Life returns.

In the winter here it usually does not get too cold. But it can be grey, wet and windy.

The clocks go back at the end of October, then the sun will go down an hour earlier, I hate sitting in the dark in the winter, trying to keep warm. Looking forward to the winter solstice when the sun starts coming back a little more every day.

Sun through cloud

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The sun was shining through the clouds at Spode this afternoon giving everything a moody look.

Grey clouds, leaden

A glimmer of sun

Bright, yellow, hot

Sizzles through the clouds.

Humid heat festers

Industrial view languishes

Only a few plants

And a cat sleeping in the dust,

But alive,

Better than ruins.