Monthly Archives: October 2012

Status

. . . and out again

Aha! Yesterday’s complaint about weather woes was either ill-timed or somehow reached a sympathetic ear. We behold clarity again! and just in time for the weekend.  The clouds trundled away eastward by late afternoon, leaving more than a few of us open-mouthed at the sudden expanse that opened over our heads.

A blue sky truly grants a sense of headroom, of possibility.  Strange how the weather can have such a remarkable effect on the psyche.  After suffering endless days of grey skies, the simple act of walking out into sunshine causes old souls to laugh like children.  It didn’t used to do that.

Last night, we went out and located the sky (it was overhead, just beyond the treetops).  We found the Milky Way, studied a few constellations.  I then became obsessed with an object low and sparkly on the south east horizon.  In my 7×50 binoculars, it kept turning red and green.  I was sure it was a UFO.

Can a star do that?  Well, if your optics are less than perfect, it apparently can as aberrations in the glass split the light into spectral components.  Turns out, we were mooning over the mag 1.16 star, Fomalhaut.

No cigar this time, although we have espied more than one strange light this season that seemingly defies conventional aircraft movement and behavior.  It only takes some consistent looking.

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Back in the soup

A few weeks back. Virginia enjoyed a brief and shining period – of clarity, of brilliant blue skies, of leaves rustling in a gentle breeze under cotton clouds. The colors and smells of Autumn arrived, bringing crisp apples, fall flowers, pumpkins and newly split wood.

This week, however, we again plunge again into the east coast soup that has beset this area for most of the past three months.  I cannot remember a wetter summer season here.  Other locations, such as the U.S. Midwest, have had unendurable dryness.  What an uncomfortable polarity. I would gladly send you deserving folks some of our water.  Care for some mosquitoes?

Over the decades, we’ve seen the extremes. At this point, I don’t know which to prefer: hardpan drought or rotting muck.  Neither is good, though sometimes it seems like those are the only choices. Is it possible to get non-seasonal affective disorder from all of this??  I think I have it. Whatever happened to moderation in weather? (I have a sneaking suspicion it has become modification in weather. . . but that’s another topic.)