Thursday, 24 December 2020

The Star(s) of Bethlehem

A cold north west wind, a ground frost overnight leaving the shallow pools and puddles with a thin covering of ice. The sun shone for most of the day, so very nice if you wrapped up.

Pale-bellied Brent goose 16.
Howard checked the skeer corner early in the ebbing tide (09:00). There were already 16 birds waiting for the weed beds to become available. The two Canadian ringed birds were with them. These three pictures from Howard - Thanks.

Note the Oystercatcher with a mussel on this picture,
the next quiet day (tomorrow?) I'll show you one opening a mussel.

I went down at low water (13:50), all 16 were still there.
Eider c60
The South Lake hills were snow covered, so I took a seasonal shot.

Middleton Nature Reserve (MD)
Gadwall 17
Mallard 2
Shoveller 4 (1 female)
Teal 2
Little Grebe 2
Woodcock 1
In hindsight, I should have taken a shot of a Robin.
I like this shot of a male Bullfinch, so it will have to do.

Today's title refers to the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. They were closest on Tuesday, but today was the first clear evening. This alignment only occurs every 400 years (last one 1623), there would have been one around the birth of Christ, leading some scholars to speculate that this could have been the "Star of Bethlehem". I remain skeptical, the ancients may not have had optics or knew what planets actually were, but they knew every point of light in the night sky and the movement of the "wanderers" across them.
Even so it's worth a look.
This one is looking over the trees before Red Nab - the trees are just visible (trust me)

This is the "detail" - you can just make out Saturn's rings (the right hand blob).
They are visible, low in the SW as soon as it is dark enough after sunset, these were 17:00. But a bit further apart every day

Well, Christmas Eve! I would like to be able to wish you all a "merry" Christmas, but I'm afraid that merriment is not really practical this year. But it will be a happy Christmas for everyone, if we get through safely. So:

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!