A chinook rolled in taking most of the snow in the valley bottom.
Willow and I headed into the mountains tonight. We were looking for stars, but knew it would be a tough find. Sure enough it was cloud cover. Sometimes the clouds can be scaled via a mountain pass leading to clear skies. It was worth a try. The roads were ice but decent.
Back in the bottoms we took to the lake, frozen with at least 14″ of ice, glare from melt. Pure hell to walk on, especially in the dark. This is were I grew up. Only yards from shore, across the tracks.
It’s a different place now. The lake is an attraction. A commodity to be bought and sold.
But, here tonight, it doesn’t look much different than I can remember. More ice shacks, less fish, more lights on the east side filling the sky with pollution.
The tracks are there. My world would revolve around those trains. Watching them roll by, the sound, tracks creaking, listening for oiled ties loose on a stoney bed, coal dropping by the cart load, happy to be burned, eventually getting between me and the lake.
Things change, not quickly, but minutely, it’s hard to detect. Until one day you’re scratching your grey beard, in the same place as when you were young, finally figuring the joke’s on me.
ISS appears in the west. The streak is its movement captured in a 30 second exposure.
There have been plenty of times I’ve seen the International Space Station go across the night sky. Tonight was the first night I planned for it. It seemed only fitting with newly arrived Canadian, David Saint-Jacques aboard.
It is the first time a Canadian has been in space since Chris Hadfield in 2013.
Chris Hadfield has been an inspiration to Canadians, sharing his experiences, singing songs and even writing a children’s book.
I followed Hadfield’s photography when he was on the Space Station. He took wonderful images of the Canadian landscape as it appeared from space. They were both fierce and fragile.
A panorama of three photos facing east. Taurus, Hyades and Pleiades can be seen in twilight. A meteor streaks towards Nutmucqcin.
I arrived early took a few pictures and set up the camera. Sure enough the Space Station appeared right on time in the west and started across the sky. It increased in brightness as it moved directly overhead. It was my intention to get a photo of it against the eastern landscape, however the cold made my camera loosen from the tripod. Metal parts shrink in -12°c. The camera had been sitting without use for a half hour. By the time I secured the camera ISS was gone. That’s planning for you and why I’ll never work for NASA.
From what I read and hear all Canadians are excited to have another astronaut to cheer for and wish David Saint-Jacques a safe, successful mission.
The Milky Way dips below the horizon, leaving the night to the brilliant winter stars.
Willow and I took for the benches, beyond the ruck, into the burn. We arrived early. The Moon wasn’t down and Orion wasn’t up. We neither had a cup of coffee or a beer to expedite the wait. Willow occupied herself looking for mice. I thought about hunting. How I could have filled the freezer by now, instead I’m foolishly after stars.
It was an exceptional fall day. No clouds, cool but with sunshine. Today cannnabis is legal for recreational use in Canada. It is the step in the right direction to give people the right to do what they have been doing all along. Growing, packaging, advertising, pricing distribution and tax collecting will now be handled and approved by government and friends.
A meteor streaks beside Mars before it follows the moon over the eastern ridge.
It is odd to see folks so long in favour of prohibition now on the other side, espousing and controlling the market they see as lucrative.
Along the fence line, into the darkness, chasing the night.
Wouldn’t it be funny if everybody just grew their own.
More small gardens would be a good thing.
It took the moon to go down before the sky was dark enough to make out The Milky Way.
Orion rises, in pursuit of Taurus and Pleiades. The trees limbs point to Orion’s Belt.
Very fine night.
A meteor (left) streaks toward Perseus at tree line. The light of Andromeda Galaxy
(right, above and left of the tree branch) reaches us 2.3 million light years after
it was shone. Lightening lights the clouds on the eastern horizon.
A large rock, lit by our campfire, is covered in fossils of sea
creatures older than the light of Andromeda.
To see it is a miracle.
The annual Perseid Meteor Shower is now underway. If you have dark clear skies you may be able to see a few.
The peak is around the 12th and could be very good as the moon is young, leaving the night sky dark.
Come peak, Lisa and I will spend the night in the mountains chasing the streaks. It is difficult to predict the conditions. Even if clear smoke could obscure the sky. Tonight, Venus could barely be seen in the western horizon. Mars can’t be seen yet. Once it gets higher above the eastern horizon it will become visible.
Meteors occupy the entire sky. I often point my camera towards horizons, this year may be better preserved shooting directly overhead where the smoke is not so noticeable.
If that is the case It may be better in an enclosed space like a canyon. You see less of the sky, but what is seen is directly overhead.