Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Region of the Summer Stars

How can one describe these late summer sunrises?  The skies were a fetching shade of violet this morning, crinkly rose and gold along the edges, sweeps of cloud painted in broad brushy strokes across the bowl of morning.

We're easing into late July and witnessing the bittersweet stirrings of late summer and the harvest season - the first yield of yellow beans is already on the kitchen counter and legions of green tomatoes cluster on their artfully curved vines in the garden.  Bronzey dragonflies (mostly pennants) fill the air over the veggie patch with their spiraling flight in daylight, and we have been watching little brown bats do their thing after dark.

There are splendid starry doings to behold in July.  Earlier this month, Lady Moon and the star Spica were lined up in the night sky, as were planet Mars and Messier Cluster 35.  Tonight, Venus will be be doing the light fantastic with Regulus - look for the two together in the western sky just after sunset.  Regulus is by far the brightest star in constellation Leo, but Venus is much brighter and the easier of the two to spot.  First locate Venus, then look below and just to the left for Regulus.

Before dawn tomorrow morning, Mars and Jupiter will rise together in the northeastern sky, Jupiter the brighter of the two entities with the red planet (Mars) just above and to the left.  At the end of the month, Mercury will also be visible before dawn.  Of course, these doings are best observed with a telescope, and then one can see Jupiter circled by its four exquisite Galiliean moons and dancing with them: Callista, Europa, Ganymede and Io. At this time of the year, I always wish I was planted at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii or the Palomar Observatory in California.

Spencer and I were up and about early and went out into the garden in the relative coolness to greet what will be another hot day. I sipped my tea thoughtfully, and my companion looked up and crooned a song to the rising sun, just as his big sister Cassie used to do on such mornings. Thousands of geese were winging up from their rest on the river and out into the cornfields - there were vast waves of joyous honking song as they flew overhead and off for the first meal of the day.

2 comments:

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

a perfect morning
my kind of
morning :)

Aisling said...

Lovely photo and thoughts. We are in the early days of harvest here... Seems that autumn is teasing in the wind, though in reality it is high summer.