February 10, 2009

Astronomy Picture Of The Day.

I have always been fascinated by the night sky. At no time am I aware of the vastness of space more, then when looking at stars on a clear night. During the day, the blue atmosphere above us feels almost as a blanket, or a lid confiding us here. However, on a cloudless night, thousand of stars on the jet-black sky make me aware of the immense dimensions of the universe. In that moment it becomes very obvious that our planet is truly suspended in space.

This Christmas I received a fantastic book as a Christmas gift. It contains different pictures related to astronomy, one for each day in a year.
Today’s beautiful photograph is called "Big Dipper Castle". It depicts a castle in the Swabia Albs in Southern Germany, on a clear night, with the constellation of Big Dipper above on the velvet blue sky. I think that is the only constellation that almost everyone recognizes. It goes by many names, for example in Swedish and Danish it is called "Karl's Wagon" and in Slovak and Czech, "The Big Wagon".

On a warm summer night when I sit outside on my terrace, this well known assemblage of stars is clearly visible. It looks the same it has always looked, ever since I was a child. Gazing at it makes me feel as if time stands still.

9 comments :

Tom said...

Beautiful! I always refer to it as "The Plough" because that's the name that was taught to me first. It's a great starting point to figuring out where all the other constellations are - as long as you're not in the southern hemisphere!

Betsy said...

Wow...that is a beautiful photograph! I love how clearly the stars pop on that blue sky! I didn't know this constellation had any other names besides the Big Dipper! Very interesting and beautiful post, Protege! (love that castle, too!)

swenglishexpat said...

Fascinating topic. Like Tom commented above, in British English it is referred to as the Plough, which I learnt from my British wife. Next week we'll be going to our house in the French countryside, where we just love looking at the night sky all year round. We see stars, shooting stars, satellites and even once the Space Station! It all makes you think about what might be out there.

Diane said...

Pretty. I suck at picking out constellations but I love looking at the stars :)

Mel said...

So pretty...but you knew I'd say that, didn't you? ;) We always called it the Big Dipper, but we also learned Big Bear and Little Bear because of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

Holly said...

Beautiful photo! I love the stars too. They make me feel like a dust speck in their vastness. Steve had a telescope and we use to star gaze together, ...and then the kiddos came along. ;) They really are nothing short of magical are they?

Holly said...

Oh,...sorry I forgot I was going to check and see if my email ever made it to you.? I know how quirky international trips through cyber-space can be. :)

Hilary said...

Wonderful moody post. Somehow I see the sky quite opposite of how you described it. I see the day sky as vast and distant, but the night sky, when star-filled, like a cozy blanket under which we can hunker down.

Protege said...

=Tom, I knew you would like this, considering your profession.;) My Irishman calls it “The Plough” too. But I did not realize that it cannot be seen in southern hemisphere.;) How interesting.

=Betsy, thank you for your nice words. I agree with you, except for Orion Belt, I cannot point anything else out in the sky either, although I would love too. I can see the night sky from my bedroom window, which is in the tilted ceiling and there is this big bright star on a clear night. I wish someone would tell me what it is.;) Ah, and yes, I will finally post your tag tomorrow.;)

=swenglishexpat, thank you for your comment; yes indeed, in Britain it is called The Plough, which is a very appropriate description. French countryside sounds heavenly! I can imagine how fascinating it must be to watch the night sky from there; I have seen satellites many times, but not the Space Station. Enjoy your stay I France and thanks for stopping by.;))

Diane, I am not so good at it either.;) But I wish I would be.;)) I cannot wait for the summer so I can sit outside again and see all the stars shining bright.;)

=Mel yes I did!;) I promised to post pictures from the book and so I am.;)) There are many more to come. You should teach Diane some of the constellations. ;)Perhaps when Diane comes to visit me, she should take you along;))

=Holly, I am now officially not the only hopeless romantic here; you are as well.;)) Gazing at the stars with your husband sounds very romantic to me. And yes, children are the greatest magic of all!;)
Yes I got your mail, I will try to reply asap; I have been a big mail slacker lately, just ask Diane.;)))

=Hilary, how intriguing that you think that the blue sky is endless.;) But I do understand the feeling of it being a blanket to curl up under.;))