Star Gazing

StarNicola here. As a star features strongly in the nativity story it felt quite Christmassy to be talking about celestial bodies today. I love stargazing. Every night when I take Angus out for his bedtime walk I stand in the field at the bottom of the road and look up at the night sky. Most nights it’s cloudy, the British weather being what it is, but on maybe one night in five I can see the Milky Way stretching overhead like a ribbon dusted with diamonds. Seeing it is a magical experience.

At the end of November we were told that one of the greatest celestial spectacles of the century was on the way, the arrival of Comet Ison. Ison was a sungrazing comet, originating from the fabulously named Oort Cloud out on the furthest edges of our galaxy. It was scheduled to pass so close to the sun that it would “graze” it’s surface. It was then supposed to develop a huge tail that would be visible in the night sky with the naked eye, making it one of the most spectacular astronomical sights of the century. Unfortunately Ison flew too close to the sun. It was too small to survive the experience and instead of blazing a trail across the sky, it disintegrated.

Comets have fascinated man throughout history. One of the most famous sightings of a comet tied to a 210px-Tapestry_of_bayeux10 historical event was Halley’s Comet, seen in the skies over England in 1066, just before the Battle of Hastings. The comet is recorded as a terrifying omen of the death of King Harold in the Bayeux Tapestry. In the Middle Ages comets were generally considered to be bad omens, predicting disaster.

Another comet that had a great hold on the popular imagination of the time was the Great Comet of 1811. It was discovered in March 1811 and was visible to the naked eye for 260 days. It is mentioned many times in the records of that year and featured in a wide variety of writings, paintings and other popular culture. Although the science of comets was better understood in the 19th century the sight of one still aroused superstitions of disaster.

1812CometThe comet was visible during the New Madrid earthquakes in December 1811. A report on the first steamship to descend the Ohio River as it approached the confluence with the Mississippi River states, "December 18, 1811. – The anniversary of this day the people of Cairo and its vicinity should never forget. It was the coming of the first steamboat to where Cairo now is – the New Orleans, Capt. Roosevelt, Commanding. It was the severest day of the great throes of the New Madrid earthquake; at the same time, a fiery comet was rushing athwart the horizon.”

It was also seen as foreshadowing Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and the War of 1812, and was referred to in some prints as “Napoleon’s comet.” Later in the century, Tolstoy wrote in War and Peace: “This enormous and brilliant comet which was said to portend all kinds of woes and the end of the world.”

Harriet Martineau, a travel writer, novelist, and political economist was nine years old when the comet appeared and refers in her Autobiography to the fact that every other member of her family could see it but she couldn’t, despite the fact that she had excellent eyesight: “When the great comet of 1811 was attracting all eyes…night after night, the whole family of us went up to the long windows at the top of my father's warehouse; and the exclamations on all hands about the comet perfectly exasperated me,–because I could not see it!”

Rowlandson commemorated the Great Comet in a famous satirical print showing a domestic scene of an Comet
older man, wearing a dressing gown and night-cap, looking out of a window with a spyglass. Whilst he watches the comet he fails to notice the romantic scene that is taking place between his young wife woman and another man.

This was a common theme in satire, that those
with an interest in astronomy are so distracted by other-worldly thoughts that they fail to see what is going on under their noses. The print was published by Thomas Tegg in Cheapside and cost one shilling.

The French even produced a fan, showing a group of people observing the Great Comet and a figure of Venus as a lady with a comet-shaped headdress!

The year 1811 also turned out to be a particularly fine year for wine production, and wine merchants took advantage of the Great Comet to sell “Comet Wine” at a very inflated price, claiming that it was a good vintage because of the celestial influence of the heavens.

One of my very earliest books, The Virtuous Cyprian, features a scene in which the hero and heroine go comet watching. The romantic opportunities of gazing at the night sky are many!

Do you enjoy stargazing and studying the night sky? Have you seen any spectacular comets or shooting stars and have you read any books featuring comets? 

100 thoughts on “Star Gazing”

  1. Oh, I’d like to see a comet. I have seen a couple partial eclipses with the pin “cameras”.
    As for star gazing, I live in a city with bright lights, and the light pollution means it is rare to see the stars in their brillance. Only the brightest ones appear.
    I remember in Egypt getting to a minor city (Beni Saif?) and being out in the desert at night. There you could see clouds of stars as well as make out some of the shapes.
    If you’re interested in stars and time and are in London, it’s well worth the trip to Greenwich for the Maritime Museum. They don’t observe the stars any longer but they explain how by using the stars, they developed the means to determine longitude. Once they figured that out, modern (more accurate) maps became possible.

    Reply
  2. Oh, I’d like to see a comet. I have seen a couple partial eclipses with the pin “cameras”.
    As for star gazing, I live in a city with bright lights, and the light pollution means it is rare to see the stars in their brillance. Only the brightest ones appear.
    I remember in Egypt getting to a minor city (Beni Saif?) and being out in the desert at night. There you could see clouds of stars as well as make out some of the shapes.
    If you’re interested in stars and time and are in London, it’s well worth the trip to Greenwich for the Maritime Museum. They don’t observe the stars any longer but they explain how by using the stars, they developed the means to determine longitude. Once they figured that out, modern (more accurate) maps became possible.

    Reply
  3. Oh, I’d like to see a comet. I have seen a couple partial eclipses with the pin “cameras”.
    As for star gazing, I live in a city with bright lights, and the light pollution means it is rare to see the stars in their brillance. Only the brightest ones appear.
    I remember in Egypt getting to a minor city (Beni Saif?) and being out in the desert at night. There you could see clouds of stars as well as make out some of the shapes.
    If you’re interested in stars and time and are in London, it’s well worth the trip to Greenwich for the Maritime Museum. They don’t observe the stars any longer but they explain how by using the stars, they developed the means to determine longitude. Once they figured that out, modern (more accurate) maps became possible.

    Reply
  4. Oh, I’d like to see a comet. I have seen a couple partial eclipses with the pin “cameras”.
    As for star gazing, I live in a city with bright lights, and the light pollution means it is rare to see the stars in their brillance. Only the brightest ones appear.
    I remember in Egypt getting to a minor city (Beni Saif?) and being out in the desert at night. There you could see clouds of stars as well as make out some of the shapes.
    If you’re interested in stars and time and are in London, it’s well worth the trip to Greenwich for the Maritime Museum. They don’t observe the stars any longer but they explain how by using the stars, they developed the means to determine longitude. Once they figured that out, modern (more accurate) maps became possible.

    Reply
  5. Oh, I’d like to see a comet. I have seen a couple partial eclipses with the pin “cameras”.
    As for star gazing, I live in a city with bright lights, and the light pollution means it is rare to see the stars in their brillance. Only the brightest ones appear.
    I remember in Egypt getting to a minor city (Beni Saif?) and being out in the desert at night. There you could see clouds of stars as well as make out some of the shapes.
    If you’re interested in stars and time and are in London, it’s well worth the trip to Greenwich for the Maritime Museum. They don’t observe the stars any longer but they explain how by using the stars, they developed the means to determine longitude. Once they figured that out, modern (more accurate) maps became possible.

    Reply
  6. Hi Shannon! Eclipses are fascinating as well, aren’t they. So many of the cosmic sights are spectacular.
    These days it can be difficult to get far enough away from light pollution to see the stars well. Last summer in Scotland we got a stunning view of the Milky Way because there was no artificial light.
    I haven’t been to the National Maritime Museum for years but your comment has reminded me to visit again. Perhaps I could take in the planetarium in the same trip.

    Reply
  7. Hi Shannon! Eclipses are fascinating as well, aren’t they. So many of the cosmic sights are spectacular.
    These days it can be difficult to get far enough away from light pollution to see the stars well. Last summer in Scotland we got a stunning view of the Milky Way because there was no artificial light.
    I haven’t been to the National Maritime Museum for years but your comment has reminded me to visit again. Perhaps I could take in the planetarium in the same trip.

    Reply
  8. Hi Shannon! Eclipses are fascinating as well, aren’t they. So many of the cosmic sights are spectacular.
    These days it can be difficult to get far enough away from light pollution to see the stars well. Last summer in Scotland we got a stunning view of the Milky Way because there was no artificial light.
    I haven’t been to the National Maritime Museum for years but your comment has reminded me to visit again. Perhaps I could take in the planetarium in the same trip.

    Reply
  9. Hi Shannon! Eclipses are fascinating as well, aren’t they. So many of the cosmic sights are spectacular.
    These days it can be difficult to get far enough away from light pollution to see the stars well. Last summer in Scotland we got a stunning view of the Milky Way because there was no artificial light.
    I haven’t been to the National Maritime Museum for years but your comment has reminded me to visit again. Perhaps I could take in the planetarium in the same trip.

    Reply
  10. Hi Shannon! Eclipses are fascinating as well, aren’t they. So many of the cosmic sights are spectacular.
    These days it can be difficult to get far enough away from light pollution to see the stars well. Last summer in Scotland we got a stunning view of the Milky Way because there was no artificial light.
    I haven’t been to the National Maritime Museum for years but your comment has reminded me to visit again. Perhaps I could take in the planetarium in the same trip.

    Reply
  11. I have not been lucky enough to see a comet, but I have seen shooting stars and they always make me happy.
    Growing up in the midst of light pollution, I was awed by the sky when I was in the Peace Corps, many, many years ago, and lived in Afghanistan, where there was absolutely no light interference. I couldn’t get enough of the night skies there.

    Reply
  12. I have not been lucky enough to see a comet, but I have seen shooting stars and they always make me happy.
    Growing up in the midst of light pollution, I was awed by the sky when I was in the Peace Corps, many, many years ago, and lived in Afghanistan, where there was absolutely no light interference. I couldn’t get enough of the night skies there.

    Reply
  13. I have not been lucky enough to see a comet, but I have seen shooting stars and they always make me happy.
    Growing up in the midst of light pollution, I was awed by the sky when I was in the Peace Corps, many, many years ago, and lived in Afghanistan, where there was absolutely no light interference. I couldn’t get enough of the night skies there.

    Reply
  14. I have not been lucky enough to see a comet, but I have seen shooting stars and they always make me happy.
    Growing up in the midst of light pollution, I was awed by the sky when I was in the Peace Corps, many, many years ago, and lived in Afghanistan, where there was absolutely no light interference. I couldn’t get enough of the night skies there.

    Reply
  15. I have not been lucky enough to see a comet, but I have seen shooting stars and they always make me happy.
    Growing up in the midst of light pollution, I was awed by the sky when I was in the Peace Corps, many, many years ago, and lived in Afghanistan, where there was absolutely no light interference. I couldn’t get enough of the night skies there.

    Reply
  16. I’ve always been intrigued by Fanny’s comment in ‘Mansfield Park’that ‘It has been a long time since we had any star gazing.’ It makes me think that Jane and her family and or friends must have enjoyed that activity – and, as you say, Nicola, ‘the romantic opportunities of gazing at the night sky are many’.

    Reply
  17. I’ve always been intrigued by Fanny’s comment in ‘Mansfield Park’that ‘It has been a long time since we had any star gazing.’ It makes me think that Jane and her family and or friends must have enjoyed that activity – and, as you say, Nicola, ‘the romantic opportunities of gazing at the night sky are many’.

    Reply
  18. I’ve always been intrigued by Fanny’s comment in ‘Mansfield Park’that ‘It has been a long time since we had any star gazing.’ It makes me think that Jane and her family and or friends must have enjoyed that activity – and, as you say, Nicola, ‘the romantic opportunities of gazing at the night sky are many’.

    Reply
  19. I’ve always been intrigued by Fanny’s comment in ‘Mansfield Park’that ‘It has been a long time since we had any star gazing.’ It makes me think that Jane and her family and or friends must have enjoyed that activity – and, as you say, Nicola, ‘the romantic opportunities of gazing at the night sky are many’.

    Reply
  20. I’ve always been intrigued by Fanny’s comment in ‘Mansfield Park’that ‘It has been a long time since we had any star gazing.’ It makes me think that Jane and her family and or friends must have enjoyed that activity – and, as you say, Nicola, ‘the romantic opportunities of gazing at the night sky are many’.

    Reply
  21. Comet Ison sounds like a good metaphor for Life and Love. *G*
    I liked stargazing as a kid and had a telescope, with which I could see the rings of Saturn and a good views of the moon. Since we lived in the country without much light pollution, we had good stargazing, including the Milky Way and on a couple of occasions, the Northern Lights.
    Twice I’ve seen comets. Once was the last visit of Halley’s comet, and some years back–15 or so?–Comet Kahoutek, I think it was called. It hung over my neighbor’s garage for weeks or months–a little line of light, despite metro area light pollution.
    We were disappointed not to see mor stars when we visited Australia and were way out in the Outback, but apparently the South pole points aways from the galactic center or some such.
    Even now, I like taking the trash out after dark and admiring the moon and stars. *G*

    Reply
  22. Comet Ison sounds like a good metaphor for Life and Love. *G*
    I liked stargazing as a kid and had a telescope, with which I could see the rings of Saturn and a good views of the moon. Since we lived in the country without much light pollution, we had good stargazing, including the Milky Way and on a couple of occasions, the Northern Lights.
    Twice I’ve seen comets. Once was the last visit of Halley’s comet, and some years back–15 or so?–Comet Kahoutek, I think it was called. It hung over my neighbor’s garage for weeks or months–a little line of light, despite metro area light pollution.
    We were disappointed not to see mor stars when we visited Australia and were way out in the Outback, but apparently the South pole points aways from the galactic center or some such.
    Even now, I like taking the trash out after dark and admiring the moon and stars. *G*

    Reply
  23. Comet Ison sounds like a good metaphor for Life and Love. *G*
    I liked stargazing as a kid and had a telescope, with which I could see the rings of Saturn and a good views of the moon. Since we lived in the country without much light pollution, we had good stargazing, including the Milky Way and on a couple of occasions, the Northern Lights.
    Twice I’ve seen comets. Once was the last visit of Halley’s comet, and some years back–15 or so?–Comet Kahoutek, I think it was called. It hung over my neighbor’s garage for weeks or months–a little line of light, despite metro area light pollution.
    We were disappointed not to see mor stars when we visited Australia and were way out in the Outback, but apparently the South pole points aways from the galactic center or some such.
    Even now, I like taking the trash out after dark and admiring the moon and stars. *G*

    Reply
  24. Comet Ison sounds like a good metaphor for Life and Love. *G*
    I liked stargazing as a kid and had a telescope, with which I could see the rings of Saturn and a good views of the moon. Since we lived in the country without much light pollution, we had good stargazing, including the Milky Way and on a couple of occasions, the Northern Lights.
    Twice I’ve seen comets. Once was the last visit of Halley’s comet, and some years back–15 or so?–Comet Kahoutek, I think it was called. It hung over my neighbor’s garage for weeks or months–a little line of light, despite metro area light pollution.
    We were disappointed not to see mor stars when we visited Australia and were way out in the Outback, but apparently the South pole points aways from the galactic center or some such.
    Even now, I like taking the trash out after dark and admiring the moon and stars. *G*

    Reply
  25. Comet Ison sounds like a good metaphor for Life and Love. *G*
    I liked stargazing as a kid and had a telescope, with which I could see the rings of Saturn and a good views of the moon. Since we lived in the country without much light pollution, we had good stargazing, including the Milky Way and on a couple of occasions, the Northern Lights.
    Twice I’ve seen comets. Once was the last visit of Halley’s comet, and some years back–15 or so?–Comet Kahoutek, I think it was called. It hung over my neighbor’s garage for weeks or months–a little line of light, despite metro area light pollution.
    We were disappointed not to see mor stars when we visited Australia and were way out in the Outback, but apparently the South pole points aways from the galactic center or some such.
    Even now, I like taking the trash out after dark and admiring the moon and stars. *G*

    Reply
  26. One of the advantages of living so far out in the country one can only get dial up internet is there is very little artificial light to interfere with star-gazing. I always keep an eye out for news of meteor showers or comets as I can usually see them from my back porch which overlooks my five acres of woods and my neighbor’s forty acres of pastureland. The moon has been incredible this week, so full and close I could almost reach out and touch it.
    I did some incredible star gazing at the top of Mount Kehlstein in Germany, first at the ski lodge halfway up and a few months later at the top of the summit after climbing the north face with a couple of really great German mountaineers. Spent a cold night at the top of the mountain and made the climb down at dawn. Seeing the stars from that height was breath-taking!

    Reply
  27. One of the advantages of living so far out in the country one can only get dial up internet is there is very little artificial light to interfere with star-gazing. I always keep an eye out for news of meteor showers or comets as I can usually see them from my back porch which overlooks my five acres of woods and my neighbor’s forty acres of pastureland. The moon has been incredible this week, so full and close I could almost reach out and touch it.
    I did some incredible star gazing at the top of Mount Kehlstein in Germany, first at the ski lodge halfway up and a few months later at the top of the summit after climbing the north face with a couple of really great German mountaineers. Spent a cold night at the top of the mountain and made the climb down at dawn. Seeing the stars from that height was breath-taking!

    Reply
  28. One of the advantages of living so far out in the country one can only get dial up internet is there is very little artificial light to interfere with star-gazing. I always keep an eye out for news of meteor showers or comets as I can usually see them from my back porch which overlooks my five acres of woods and my neighbor’s forty acres of pastureland. The moon has been incredible this week, so full and close I could almost reach out and touch it.
    I did some incredible star gazing at the top of Mount Kehlstein in Germany, first at the ski lodge halfway up and a few months later at the top of the summit after climbing the north face with a couple of really great German mountaineers. Spent a cold night at the top of the mountain and made the climb down at dawn. Seeing the stars from that height was breath-taking!

    Reply
  29. One of the advantages of living so far out in the country one can only get dial up internet is there is very little artificial light to interfere with star-gazing. I always keep an eye out for news of meteor showers or comets as I can usually see them from my back porch which overlooks my five acres of woods and my neighbor’s forty acres of pastureland. The moon has been incredible this week, so full and close I could almost reach out and touch it.
    I did some incredible star gazing at the top of Mount Kehlstein in Germany, first at the ski lodge halfway up and a few months later at the top of the summit after climbing the north face with a couple of really great German mountaineers. Spent a cold night at the top of the mountain and made the climb down at dawn. Seeing the stars from that height was breath-taking!

    Reply
  30. One of the advantages of living so far out in the country one can only get dial up internet is there is very little artificial light to interfere with star-gazing. I always keep an eye out for news of meteor showers or comets as I can usually see them from my back porch which overlooks my five acres of woods and my neighbor’s forty acres of pastureland. The moon has been incredible this week, so full and close I could almost reach out and touch it.
    I did some incredible star gazing at the top of Mount Kehlstein in Germany, first at the ski lodge halfway up and a few months later at the top of the summit after climbing the north face with a couple of really great German mountaineers. Spent a cold night at the top of the mountain and made the climb down at dawn. Seeing the stars from that height was breath-taking!

    Reply
  31. Love looking at the stars Nicola. Southern Hemisphere starts are a bit different to those of the north. Lately the Southern Cross has been quite bright. At present when I can’t sleep at night I am watching Jupiter travel across the sky. And I watched Halley’s comet the last time it came. At that time my father was still alive but very elderly. He could remember seeing it the time before. He said it was much brighter the time before. Recently there have been sightings of the Aurora Australis – spectacular pictures in the newspaper, but try as I might I miss it every time. My luck!

    Reply
  32. Love looking at the stars Nicola. Southern Hemisphere starts are a bit different to those of the north. Lately the Southern Cross has been quite bright. At present when I can’t sleep at night I am watching Jupiter travel across the sky. And I watched Halley’s comet the last time it came. At that time my father was still alive but very elderly. He could remember seeing it the time before. He said it was much brighter the time before. Recently there have been sightings of the Aurora Australis – spectacular pictures in the newspaper, but try as I might I miss it every time. My luck!

    Reply
  33. Love looking at the stars Nicola. Southern Hemisphere starts are a bit different to those of the north. Lately the Southern Cross has been quite bright. At present when I can’t sleep at night I am watching Jupiter travel across the sky. And I watched Halley’s comet the last time it came. At that time my father was still alive but very elderly. He could remember seeing it the time before. He said it was much brighter the time before. Recently there have been sightings of the Aurora Australis – spectacular pictures in the newspaper, but try as I might I miss it every time. My luck!

    Reply
  34. Love looking at the stars Nicola. Southern Hemisphere starts are a bit different to those of the north. Lately the Southern Cross has been quite bright. At present when I can’t sleep at night I am watching Jupiter travel across the sky. And I watched Halley’s comet the last time it came. At that time my father was still alive but very elderly. He could remember seeing it the time before. He said it was much brighter the time before. Recently there have been sightings of the Aurora Australis – spectacular pictures in the newspaper, but try as I might I miss it every time. My luck!

    Reply
  35. Love looking at the stars Nicola. Southern Hemisphere starts are a bit different to those of the north. Lately the Southern Cross has been quite bright. At present when I can’t sleep at night I am watching Jupiter travel across the sky. And I watched Halley’s comet the last time it came. At that time my father was still alive but very elderly. He could remember seeing it the time before. He said it was much brighter the time before. Recently there have been sightings of the Aurora Australis – spectacular pictures in the newspaper, but try as I might I miss it every time. My luck!

    Reply
  36. I’d forgotten about that Beth. It is intriguing, isn’t it. I love the thought of Jane and her family making a study of the night sky. Not too much trouble with light pollution in the Regency, except perhaps in the cities where they might have smog to contend with as well.

    Reply
  37. I’d forgotten about that Beth. It is intriguing, isn’t it. I love the thought of Jane and her family making a study of the night sky. Not too much trouble with light pollution in the Regency, except perhaps in the cities where they might have smog to contend with as well.

    Reply
  38. I’d forgotten about that Beth. It is intriguing, isn’t it. I love the thought of Jane and her family making a study of the night sky. Not too much trouble with light pollution in the Regency, except perhaps in the cities where they might have smog to contend with as well.

    Reply
  39. I’d forgotten about that Beth. It is intriguing, isn’t it. I love the thought of Jane and her family making a study of the night sky. Not too much trouble with light pollution in the Regency, except perhaps in the cities where they might have smog to contend with as well.

    Reply
  40. I’d forgotten about that Beth. It is intriguing, isn’t it. I love the thought of Jane and her family making a study of the night sky. Not too much trouble with light pollution in the Regency, except perhaps in the cities where they might have smog to contend with as well.

    Reply
  41. LOL, Mary Jo! Poor Comet Ison. And the metaphor continues because after its demise a lot of people refused to accept it was all over!
    I think it’s fantastic that you had a telescope as a child. Studying the rings of Saturn! Magical!

    Reply
  42. LOL, Mary Jo! Poor Comet Ison. And the metaphor continues because after its demise a lot of people refused to accept it was all over!
    I think it’s fantastic that you had a telescope as a child. Studying the rings of Saturn! Magical!

    Reply
  43. LOL, Mary Jo! Poor Comet Ison. And the metaphor continues because after its demise a lot of people refused to accept it was all over!
    I think it’s fantastic that you had a telescope as a child. Studying the rings of Saturn! Magical!

    Reply
  44. LOL, Mary Jo! Poor Comet Ison. And the metaphor continues because after its demise a lot of people refused to accept it was all over!
    I think it’s fantastic that you had a telescope as a child. Studying the rings of Saturn! Magical!

    Reply
  45. LOL, Mary Jo! Poor Comet Ison. And the metaphor continues because after its demise a lot of people refused to accept it was all over!
    I think it’s fantastic that you had a telescope as a child. Studying the rings of Saturn! Magical!

    Reply
  46. I’d love to see the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, Jenny, and the different constellations. it must be quite awe-inspiring seeing Halley’s comet come round more than once.
    I’ve watched the Northern Lights in Norway and that was one of the best experiences ever. Good luck catching the Aurora Australis!

    Reply
  47. I’d love to see the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, Jenny, and the different constellations. it must be quite awe-inspiring seeing Halley’s comet come round more than once.
    I’ve watched the Northern Lights in Norway and that was one of the best experiences ever. Good luck catching the Aurora Australis!

    Reply
  48. I’d love to see the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, Jenny, and the different constellations. it must be quite awe-inspiring seeing Halley’s comet come round more than once.
    I’ve watched the Northern Lights in Norway and that was one of the best experiences ever. Good luck catching the Aurora Australis!

    Reply
  49. I’d love to see the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, Jenny, and the different constellations. it must be quite awe-inspiring seeing Halley’s comet come round more than once.
    I’ve watched the Northern Lights in Norway and that was one of the best experiences ever. Good luck catching the Aurora Australis!

    Reply
  50. I’d love to see the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere, Jenny, and the different constellations. it must be quite awe-inspiring seeing Halley’s comet come round more than once.
    I’ve watched the Northern Lights in Norway and that was one of the best experiences ever. Good luck catching the Aurora Australis!

    Reply
  51. The Regency perod was a great one for star gazing. In some circles trying to discover new comets was the in thing to do.
    Byron mentions the Great Comet of 1811 in his poem “the Waltz” where he claims that the waltz came from Germany with the comet.
    I am always amazed when reading period almanacks to see how often they list an eclipse. I certainly am not aware of so many eclispses– even of the moon– today.
    I have never really looked at the stars as in astronomy because I never could see the shapes of the constellations so never knew what anyone was talking about. I have marvelled at the beauty of the night sky away from artificial light.
    I think the man was a 17th century astronomer who mentioned the “music of the spheres.” Then we hear how the “morning stars sang together.” poetically, the night sky is frozen music.

    Reply
  52. The Regency perod was a great one for star gazing. In some circles trying to discover new comets was the in thing to do.
    Byron mentions the Great Comet of 1811 in his poem “the Waltz” where he claims that the waltz came from Germany with the comet.
    I am always amazed when reading period almanacks to see how often they list an eclipse. I certainly am not aware of so many eclispses– even of the moon– today.
    I have never really looked at the stars as in astronomy because I never could see the shapes of the constellations so never knew what anyone was talking about. I have marvelled at the beauty of the night sky away from artificial light.
    I think the man was a 17th century astronomer who mentioned the “music of the spheres.” Then we hear how the “morning stars sang together.” poetically, the night sky is frozen music.

    Reply
  53. The Regency perod was a great one for star gazing. In some circles trying to discover new comets was the in thing to do.
    Byron mentions the Great Comet of 1811 in his poem “the Waltz” where he claims that the waltz came from Germany with the comet.
    I am always amazed when reading period almanacks to see how often they list an eclipse. I certainly am not aware of so many eclispses– even of the moon– today.
    I have never really looked at the stars as in astronomy because I never could see the shapes of the constellations so never knew what anyone was talking about. I have marvelled at the beauty of the night sky away from artificial light.
    I think the man was a 17th century astronomer who mentioned the “music of the spheres.” Then we hear how the “morning stars sang together.” poetically, the night sky is frozen music.

    Reply
  54. The Regency perod was a great one for star gazing. In some circles trying to discover new comets was the in thing to do.
    Byron mentions the Great Comet of 1811 in his poem “the Waltz” where he claims that the waltz came from Germany with the comet.
    I am always amazed when reading period almanacks to see how often they list an eclipse. I certainly am not aware of so many eclispses– even of the moon– today.
    I have never really looked at the stars as in astronomy because I never could see the shapes of the constellations so never knew what anyone was talking about. I have marvelled at the beauty of the night sky away from artificial light.
    I think the man was a 17th century astronomer who mentioned the “music of the spheres.” Then we hear how the “morning stars sang together.” poetically, the night sky is frozen music.

    Reply
  55. The Regency perod was a great one for star gazing. In some circles trying to discover new comets was the in thing to do.
    Byron mentions the Great Comet of 1811 in his poem “the Waltz” where he claims that the waltz came from Germany with the comet.
    I am always amazed when reading period almanacks to see how often they list an eclipse. I certainly am not aware of so many eclispses– even of the moon– today.
    I have never really looked at the stars as in astronomy because I never could see the shapes of the constellations so never knew what anyone was talking about. I have marvelled at the beauty of the night sky away from artificial light.
    I think the man was a 17th century astronomer who mentioned the “music of the spheres.” Then we hear how the “morning stars sang together.” poetically, the night sky is frozen music.

    Reply
  56. I love stargazing and all things celestial and astronomical. Yesterday in fact, the sun was conjunct the Galactic Center and from Dec. 25 – 30 there is a Cardinal Grand Cross with Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus.
    I can’t think of any novels featuring star and/or comet gazing, but I do remember the big scene toward the end of the movie Ladyhawke with a total solar eclipse – it scared those poor medieval people witless!

    Reply
  57. I love stargazing and all things celestial and astronomical. Yesterday in fact, the sun was conjunct the Galactic Center and from Dec. 25 – 30 there is a Cardinal Grand Cross with Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus.
    I can’t think of any novels featuring star and/or comet gazing, but I do remember the big scene toward the end of the movie Ladyhawke with a total solar eclipse – it scared those poor medieval people witless!

    Reply
  58. I love stargazing and all things celestial and astronomical. Yesterday in fact, the sun was conjunct the Galactic Center and from Dec. 25 – 30 there is a Cardinal Grand Cross with Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus.
    I can’t think of any novels featuring star and/or comet gazing, but I do remember the big scene toward the end of the movie Ladyhawke with a total solar eclipse – it scared those poor medieval people witless!

    Reply
  59. I love stargazing and all things celestial and astronomical. Yesterday in fact, the sun was conjunct the Galactic Center and from Dec. 25 – 30 there is a Cardinal Grand Cross with Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus.
    I can’t think of any novels featuring star and/or comet gazing, but I do remember the big scene toward the end of the movie Ladyhawke with a total solar eclipse – it scared those poor medieval people witless!

    Reply
  60. I love stargazing and all things celestial and astronomical. Yesterday in fact, the sun was conjunct the Galactic Center and from Dec. 25 – 30 there is a Cardinal Grand Cross with Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus.
    I can’t think of any novels featuring star and/or comet gazing, but I do remember the big scene toward the end of the movie Ladyhawke with a total solar eclipse – it scared those poor medieval people witless!

    Reply
  61. I rember on a late afternoon when I was about 9 seeing a streak across about 2/3s of the sky. The longest shooting star that I’ve seen.
    I’ve also watched the sky during the Perseids (sp)for shooting stars. Some radio amateurs bounce their signals off the Perseids to make contact with other amateurs.

    Reply
  62. I rember on a late afternoon when I was about 9 seeing a streak across about 2/3s of the sky. The longest shooting star that I’ve seen.
    I’ve also watched the sky during the Perseids (sp)for shooting stars. Some radio amateurs bounce their signals off the Perseids to make contact with other amateurs.

    Reply
  63. I rember on a late afternoon when I was about 9 seeing a streak across about 2/3s of the sky. The longest shooting star that I’ve seen.
    I’ve also watched the sky during the Perseids (sp)for shooting stars. Some radio amateurs bounce their signals off the Perseids to make contact with other amateurs.

    Reply
  64. I rember on a late afternoon when I was about 9 seeing a streak across about 2/3s of the sky. The longest shooting star that I’ve seen.
    I’ve also watched the sky during the Perseids (sp)for shooting stars. Some radio amateurs bounce their signals off the Perseids to make contact with other amateurs.

    Reply
  65. I rember on a late afternoon when I was about 9 seeing a streak across about 2/3s of the sky. The longest shooting star that I’ve seen.
    I’ve also watched the sky during the Perseids (sp)for shooting stars. Some radio amateurs bounce their signals off the Perseids to make contact with other amateurs.

    Reply
  66. Hi Donna! I imagine a total solar eclipse must have been terrifying for people who didn’t understand the science of it. The sun going dark is a pretty powerful phenomenon. I remember the last solar eclipse and how cold it went and how the birds stopped calling. It felt very spooky.

    Reply
  67. Hi Donna! I imagine a total solar eclipse must have been terrifying for people who didn’t understand the science of it. The sun going dark is a pretty powerful phenomenon. I remember the last solar eclipse and how cold it went and how the birds stopped calling. It felt very spooky.

    Reply
  68. Hi Donna! I imagine a total solar eclipse must have been terrifying for people who didn’t understand the science of it. The sun going dark is a pretty powerful phenomenon. I remember the last solar eclipse and how cold it went and how the birds stopped calling. It felt very spooky.

    Reply
  69. Hi Donna! I imagine a total solar eclipse must have been terrifying for people who didn’t understand the science of it. The sun going dark is a pretty powerful phenomenon. I remember the last solar eclipse and how cold it went and how the birds stopped calling. It felt very spooky.

    Reply
  70. Hi Donna! I imagine a total solar eclipse must have been terrifying for people who didn’t understand the science of it. The sun going dark is a pretty powerful phenomenon. I remember the last solar eclipse and how cold it went and how the birds stopped calling. It felt very spooky.

    Reply
  71. Wow, Louis, that must have been an amazing shooting star! They really are magnificent. I didn’t know that about the Perseids. I love meteor showers – lovely to see one meteor after another lighting up the sky.

    Reply
  72. Wow, Louis, that must have been an amazing shooting star! They really are magnificent. I didn’t know that about the Perseids. I love meteor showers – lovely to see one meteor after another lighting up the sky.

    Reply
  73. Wow, Louis, that must have been an amazing shooting star! They really are magnificent. I didn’t know that about the Perseids. I love meteor showers – lovely to see one meteor after another lighting up the sky.

    Reply
  74. Wow, Louis, that must have been an amazing shooting star! They really are magnificent. I didn’t know that about the Perseids. I love meteor showers – lovely to see one meteor after another lighting up the sky.

    Reply
  75. Wow, Louis, that must have been an amazing shooting star! They really are magnificent. I didn’t know that about the Perseids. I love meteor showers – lovely to see one meteor after another lighting up the sky.

    Reply
  76. I love looking at the stars before I go to bed, too, and I’m in a dark place so I can see them (clouds and moon allowing)! I was so looking forward to the comets this year but haven’t managed to see any of them – I hoped that comet Lovejoy might console me for Ison but whenever I woke up early enough it was too cloudy.
    Still, the stars are quite wonderful enough!

    Reply
  77. I love looking at the stars before I go to bed, too, and I’m in a dark place so I can see them (clouds and moon allowing)! I was so looking forward to the comets this year but haven’t managed to see any of them – I hoped that comet Lovejoy might console me for Ison but whenever I woke up early enough it was too cloudy.
    Still, the stars are quite wonderful enough!

    Reply
  78. I love looking at the stars before I go to bed, too, and I’m in a dark place so I can see them (clouds and moon allowing)! I was so looking forward to the comets this year but haven’t managed to see any of them – I hoped that comet Lovejoy might console me for Ison but whenever I woke up early enough it was too cloudy.
    Still, the stars are quite wonderful enough!

    Reply
  79. I love looking at the stars before I go to bed, too, and I’m in a dark place so I can see them (clouds and moon allowing)! I was so looking forward to the comets this year but haven’t managed to see any of them – I hoped that comet Lovejoy might console me for Ison but whenever I woke up early enough it was too cloudy.
    Still, the stars are quite wonderful enough!

    Reply
  80. I love looking at the stars before I go to bed, too, and I’m in a dark place so I can see them (clouds and moon allowing)! I was so looking forward to the comets this year but haven’t managed to see any of them – I hoped that comet Lovejoy might console me for Ison but whenever I woke up early enough it was too cloudy.
    Still, the stars are quite wonderful enough!

    Reply
  81. There is a lovely romance called “Lady Elizabeth’s Comet” by Sheila Simonson. The heroine has a serious interest in astronomy, and eventually sights a new comet. Of course her hero ends up being the man who respects her scientific ambitions!

    Reply
  82. There is a lovely romance called “Lady Elizabeth’s Comet” by Sheila Simonson. The heroine has a serious interest in astronomy, and eventually sights a new comet. Of course her hero ends up being the man who respects her scientific ambitions!

    Reply
  83. There is a lovely romance called “Lady Elizabeth’s Comet” by Sheila Simonson. The heroine has a serious interest in astronomy, and eventually sights a new comet. Of course her hero ends up being the man who respects her scientific ambitions!

    Reply
  84. There is a lovely romance called “Lady Elizabeth’s Comet” by Sheila Simonson. The heroine has a serious interest in astronomy, and eventually sights a new comet. Of course her hero ends up being the man who respects her scientific ambitions!

    Reply
  85. There is a lovely romance called “Lady Elizabeth’s Comet” by Sheila Simonson. The heroine has a serious interest in astronomy, and eventually sights a new comet. Of course her hero ends up being the man who respects her scientific ambitions!

    Reply

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