Stars and Stripes

Are you aware that the annual Orionids meteor shower is visible in the night sky these coming days (nights)? I had never heard of them, but apparently they are debris from Halley´s comet, a swarm of meteorites of which some fall into the Earth´s atmosphere every year around October. The look like they are coming from Orion, which is what has given them their name.

I took a pause this morning to stand and stare at Orion. Nothing much happened. I might have seen a tiny meteorite, but it may also have been a street light reflecting in an eyelash as I blinked. Perhaps it´s easier to see in the country, where the light pollution is less. They don´t exactly shower down on Earth, either. On a good year, there can be 50-70 meteors in an hour. I don´t think it was very good this morning. However, when I randomly turned my eye towards Cassiopeia, I definitely saw a meteorite. But it probably wasn´t ever part of Halley´s comet.

See those two tiny dots in the sky? Jupiter and Venus. Bringers of jolliness and love, right?
I like to know what´s going on in the sky, being a night worker. My source of excellence in these matters is Skyview CafĂ©, where I can see exactly what is going on in my sky, at any particular moment. Over the years, I have learned the names of the major constellations, the brightest stars, and what planets I can see. At the moment Jupiter is in Taurus, and Venus comes up brightly in the east in the morning hours. I have this amazing photo from March, when Venus and Jupiter were really close in the sky, and I managed to capture it from my balcony. I tried to zoom in, but without a steady tripod, that´s a vain project.

Lapland is not really an ideal place to watch the stars. In summer, we see absolutely nothing but the sun. In winter, we see plenty, but it´s too freezing cold to stand it for long. The aurora borealis, the northern lights, are pretty cool, and there have been years with plenty of that going on. The most amazing aurora I ever saw was one All Saint´s night (roughly Halloween), when we went to the church yard to light candles on the graves, which is a Swedish tradition. The aurora was so strong that you couldn´t see the stars, but all the candles on the ground made it look like the stars had come down to rest on the ground for a bit, sit on the graves while the aurora was showing off. There were all the aurora colours, white, green, pink, purple. And some people can hear it. I get the sensation of an almost crackling sound. I don´t know if that´s for real or if it´s just something my mind is making up.

I have never managed to take a photo of the aurora, but there are plenty of photographers who have.

And, while I´m on the subject of astronomy, look at what I just bought. It´s a Fortis watch, a tiny, very handsome ladies watch. However, Fortis also make watches for the Russian cosmonauts. Which is approximately 90% of the reason why I bought it. I haven´t decided on a band for it, I´m trying different things. I am toying with the idea of crafting a miniature, striped Nato-band, like the one James Bond wears with his Rolex. We´ll see.

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