Odds and Ends

_C1_7000That little speck in the upper right is Venus.

_C1_6934And the center-left speck in this one is Jupiter.

There is just no comprehending the size and distance of space. Objects bigger than a human brain can conceive are motes of light. There’s a lot of poetic potential there, but I just like thinking about it. If this post has a theme, I’d say it’s light.

_C1_6864I think I’ve seen more of these halos around both the Sun and the Moon in the last few months than in the rest of my life.



_C1_7024Have you ever heard of honey locust trees? They have clusters of thorns that can reach several inches long, and they’re particularly wicked-looking — thorns can branch off of thorns. I pricked my wrist on one once, and an area the size of a golf ball swelled up and bruised for several days. What I’m basically saying is this tree could kill you if you run into it. It’s not right. And there’s a cluster of them in Walker Park! Yeesh.



_C1_7124This woman is Lucia, sitting outside her World Treasures shop on Block Street. She also appeared in this post wearing big-eye glasses during last year’s Mardi Gras parade. She also went to Fayetteville’s Ferguson protest last November. I always like seeing Lucia around.



_C1_6995Ducks are always a good note to end on. I hope you all enjoyed the warmth this weekend. Thanks for looking.

Cold Light

_C1_5524The Sun returned to us today, but with a price: highs in the 20s, wind chills in the single digits and a smattering of snow, even when the Sun was shining. The sunlight and cold aren’t opposites; the northern air is so cold that those clouds we’ve had for the last month can finally drop out of the sky. I played sub-freezing Ultimate with some other knuckleheads, including a few first-timers.






_C1_5616The evening drew on and temperatures fell; looks like it’s about 16 degrees as I type this. Still, a cloudless sky is a valuable opportunity.


_C1_5634A full Moon, a comet and Jupiter are above us tonight. I wish I could do them justice with the equipment I have.

_C1_5643(The Moon through trees)

_C1_5654This is Orion — my first shot of a constellation. Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, is now visible from Earth near Orion’s bottom right. The Moon is bright enough to give the glare in this image and drown out the comet, but it should be dimming enough in the next week or two to see the comet with the naked eye. I’ll have to try again; this is the best I could get tonight:

_C1_5655It’s that fuzzy green thing near the middle, trailing a faint wisp, the merest suggestion of a tail. Like an eclipse, these celestial crossings, even seen through a noisy long exposure, remind me there are inconceivably huge and grand things happening beyond our little world. Remember that, will you?

Thanks for passing by,



_C1_2789---CopyToday I saw my first solar eclipse. It’s tough to convey how exciting it was for me; I was thoroughly geeking out. Just look at that crescent and remind yourself that it’s an unfathomably huge, seething sphere of gas and energy that’s being obscured by a much smaller, but no less beautiful, sphere of rock and cold. How cool is that?

You can also barely see a massive sunspot moving across the Sun’s “southern” surface. It’s about the size of Jupiter. Sunspots are regions of particularly intense magnetic activity, and they only look dark compared to the rest of the Sun; they’re still plenty bright.

_C1_2890---CopyI always like to think of eclipses from the perspective of people 2,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 years ago. What would you think if you saw the light of the sky dimming, or going out as during a total eclipse? I’d think the world was ending. I wonder how terrifying it was. Or maybe ancient people were more relaxed than I suspect. Either way, I wonder.

_C1_2855---CopyIt was a really lovely evening here. I spent most of the day nervous that the clouds wouldn’t get out of the way in time. They broke just enough to let me see the Sun through their filter — perfect. A few other creatures joined me to see it.


_C1_3017---CopyBeautiful all around. I’m looking forward to the total eclipse coming in 2017.

Thanks for looking,