• Dale Bowman

Sky point & relativity of light: Ramble with the Lady

Dark enough when Lady and I set off this morning to see Orion, the winter constellation dominating the southern sky.

Dark enough too to see the rarity of three morning stars in the eastern sky. Good thing it was that dark, because Mars was barely visible tight, but just below, Venus and Jupiter. According to (click here for the full story), Mercury should be visible just off the eastern horizon. I did not see. noted that this is

``the closest grouping of three planets since May 27, 2013. Another grouping of three planets won’t happen again until January 10, 2021. All three worlds – Venus, Jupiter and Mars – will fit within the same binocular field, so be sure to circle October 26 on your calendar.''

I was able to get a photograph of Venus and Jupiter, but no way did Mars show up. It is below the other two in the photo to the right, but you are not blind and cannot see it.

The relativity of light is notable well before dawn.

While I could see the three morning star planets and Orion easily, other stars were tougher.

The relativity of light also came when I tried to capture an image of the three planet morning stars above the overnight lights at the grain elevators on the east side of town.

Did not work as a photo very well, so you do not see it here.

First sign of wildlife came as Lady, our family's mutt, and I rambled across the side rail separating town from the wildness of the town pond.. It was sandpipers flying around just off the north old clay pit.

More sandpipers sounded and flitted away as Lady and I came off the far end of the extended portion of the ramble.

I needed the two miles of the extended ramble this morning. Lady enjoyed it, too.

As came up on the edge of the north pit, we saw 34 Canada geese tucked tight and very quiet to the south shore.

As we passed, they gradually edged off. I also saw the V of a swimming muskrat headed north.

As we crossed the bridge over the neckdown between the two pits, another muskrat cut a larger and longer V swimming straight at us on the south shore. Then it saw us and rolled under the water.

Seeing muskrats is one advantage of rambling off well before dawn.

The relativity of light is far different than Milan Kundera's ``The Unbearable Lightness of Being,''

a novel that kind of fits into its own category. I was rather surprised when it was made into a movie, but there is a sexiness to it that is cinematic I guess.

Dozens of hedge apples remain on the eastern shore of the south pit. But there is far less than two mornings ago. I suspect that kids found them on Saturday and had some fun.

Lady lunged at a chipmunk that squealed off in the dark on the southeast corner of the south pit. A great blue heron squawked off from the west side of the south pit.

Back on the edge of town, the dryers were going at the grain elevators. A bit on unusual considering that it has been so dry during harvest, a very fast harvest, this fall.

Bank thermometer read 44 degrees downtown.

Darkness hung on as we walked up the front steps.

Time change soon enough.

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