The author Chet Raymo in his book The Soul of the Night describes the motion of a child as she is knocked into the air by a collision with a skateboarder:
During the time the child was in the air, the spinning Earth carried her half a mile to the east. The motion of the Earth around the sun carried her back again forty miles westward. The drift of the solar system among the stars of the Milky Way bore her silently twenty miles toward the star Vega. The turning pinwheel of the Milky Way Galaxy carried her 300 miles in a great circle about the galactic center. After that huge flight through space she hit the ground and bounced like a rubber ball.
This is not of the lunar eclipse we had this weekend; the weather was not in our favor (we were able to view a lunar eclipse in Maine however). This moon is far more usual. Click on the image for a larger view.
I have been thinking about warm summer nights in Maine. The rustle of the wind through the canopy makes the sky feel all that closer. It is not the awesome spectacle, but the warm breeze that carries a secret.
Naomi and I went to Buck Lake to enjoy the night. The glow of Orlando can be seen on the horizon. Humans inhabit this small planet within a thin layer of air. Beyond that is an unimaginably large universe. While full of stars and planets, we have found no other substitute out there for this world; no place we could actually live. Click on the image for a larger view.
High altitude clouds create halos around the bright stars in the winter constellations: Orion, on the right with his famous belt and sword; Taurus, in the center marked by his blazing eye; and the Pleiades, the tight blue group on the left. Click on the image for a larger view.
A ghostly Milky Way behind a waxing moon from the summit of Mt. Cadillac in Acadia National Park. The Cranberry Islands and the Gulf of Maine are below. This is the summer Milky Way, which reveals the center of our galaxy. Soon the summer Milky Way will set before the sun, hiding itself until next year. Click on the image for a larger view.
Just before midnight on Christmas, Naomi and I went out on the deck to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. The moon was full and, with high-altitude clouds, encircled in a ring of light. Beyond the moon was a field of stars. (Orion can be at four O’clock.) Click on the image for a larger view.
When growing up in England, I was a choirboy. The carols and music seemed to define the season. For me, the songs and images of the night and divinity were powerful. It was only after I left the city and experience dark, star-filled skies that the metaphor took on a reality.
This is the view Naomi and I had when we stopped near Little Hunters Cove in Acadia Nation Park one evening to eat the dinner we had packed. Click on the image for a larger view.