Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 16 April 2004

A glorious celestial spectacle

I just returned from my late-night walk with my dog and the sky was glorious tonight. There seemed to be no clouds in any part of the sky and as there is no moon it is quite dark so the celestial dome is very bright. Add to this that the sea is almost flat-calm tonight - the lights of an oil rig parked at the other side of the Firth (Moray Firth) are clearly reflected across the water.

Even more remarkably, a celestial body (other than the sun or the moon, that is) was shining what seemed to be a beam of light (albeit very faint), like a torch, across the surface of the sea. After consulting sky charts I am certain that the very bright white object in the western sky which was relfected in the calm water is Venus. I have never seen this phenomenon before.

I used this to plot what I was seeing in the sky (after entering your own location, you need to confirm your time zone, etc), then you can swivel the green-highlighted sky segment around the celestial dome and what you are observing (if the sky is clear where you are) will be shown in the window to the left.

UPDATE: (Friday 16APR04 1.20PM BST) I have slightly edited the text of this post to better express what I saw last night.

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