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.

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_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.

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_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.

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_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.

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_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.

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_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,

Dan

Looking Up

_C1_2147A cold front powered through this area a couple of days ago, trimming another 20 degrees off of our daily highs. The clouds that came along with it were mesmerizing, starting with these undulating, apocalyptic examples Thursday night that arrived at the end of an already soaked day.

_C1_2175Friday afternoon I was lucky enough to catch the back end of the cold wave, seen here leaving southward. Right above me, the sky was a blank blue; behind me to the north, a contingent of puffy cumulus clouds was moving in.

_C1_2196Later that afternoon I glanced toward the sun in time to see the faint brush-strokes of these cirrus clouds surrounding it, seen here streaming from behind a prismatic clump of lower-level water vapor. Topping it all off, northwest Arkansas was treated to a spectacular sunset last night.

_C1_2210I love clouds. Thanks for the show, nature.

Dan

Active Skies

IMG_0075sA thin, intense line of storms stretching from Texas to Illinois is on the way to northwest Arkansas, bringing our first real chance of severe weather. The thunder just started. It looks exciting out there! I hope it’s just the right amount of excitement, though.

IMG_0071sThe turmoil in the sky before storms always fascinates me. Two of my best examples are here and here — take a look, if you like. The turmoil typically comes before the flat, more menacing steel gray of the rain.

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Stay careful out there,

Dan