A cumulominbus thunderhead is lit from within by lightning as it slowly floats in front of the stars of Sagittarius last night. Details: 150mm lens at f/2.8, 15 second time exposure at ISO 1600. Photo: Bob King
There were mosquitos everywhere but I found myself falling in love with summer. Silent explosions of lightning flashed along the south shore of Lake Superior last night. Astronomically speaking, the thunderclouds moved through eastern Sagittarius toward Capricornus. Although they later disappeared over the horizon, their lightning lit up the sky in sudden blasts until well past midnight.
Fireflies, mostly males, leave trails of light as they dance over the dark landscape Tuesday night. The stars left trails during the long time exposure; the bright one at top left is the planet Jupiter. Details: 70mm lens at f/2.8, ~3 minute time exposure at ISO 1600. Photo: Bob King
Even in twilight, the fireflies’ quieter lights dotted the fading contours of the landscape. By nightfall, they were thick. Their passion knew no bounds. Attracted to my flashlight, I had to repeatedly brush them off my sleeves. What the photos don’t show are the mosquitos that did their best to unnerve me as I pushed the telescope from comet to cluster to galaxy. After a half hour I stopped paying attention to the whine of their wings and enjoyed the night.
Very late I took off my coat and let the warm breeze and the terrific smells it carried take me away. Winter seemed as far as Antarctica. The hardest thing to do was go to bed — all I wanted was like a little kid to stay up all night.
With the new LCROSS mission (see yesterday’s blog) in the news lately, I thought you’d enjoy seeing the final footage from the Japanese Kaguya (KAH-goo-ya) spacecraft before it plunged to the lunar surface. As it moves ever closer, the view becomes ever more dramatic.