Once Upon A Midnight Clearing

Jupiter shines brightly over tall spruce trees after the snow finally stopped late Wednesday night. The constellation Orion with his three belt stars is at upper right. Credit: Bob King

The sight of stars can heal. We know this. Last week after three days of heavy snow, hard work moving it and hours spent driving through it, the sky miraculously cleared overnight. At the time, my neighbor had come over to help me fix my broken snowblower. When we finished and turned to walk back down the driveway, both of us looked up at the same time and could hardly believe what we saw. Stars. Brilliant stars. After nights and days of clouds, the sky cracked open to reveal there was something beyond the grayness.

Maybe it was the way the snow-clad spruces towered against the night, but the sky looked pitch black and the stars popped with extra sparkle.

I often write about what we know about stars – the facts as it were – but lovers of the night know their light shines on our emotions, too. That night their appearance brought us both a wonderful sense of relief.

5 Responses

  1. BigBird

    In the event you have not met everyone, been everywhere, or seen everything…. Get cracking. Tick tick tock, time is flying. Planet X in our back porch. So exciting

  2. Rick Barnaby

    Bob I live in a dark sky area & i totalty agree with you , in the summer the Milky Way jumps in your lap around 1:00 am . In winter some of the bright stars twinkle endless & moon light on snow covered balsams leave me speechless . See you at Xmas party rick

  3. Giorgio Rizzarelli

    Each year there’s a moment, around beginning of December and after a long overcast/rainy usually in November, when the winter night sky comes in its glory and gives a particular feeling – one which continues throughout all winter clear nights. More than one time I wondered how much this is a feeling, and which are the real reasons. Of course winter night is longer and darker, but I got that feeling even in the snow. Possibly winter has less humidity and more wind cleaning clouds (at least this happens where I live). But I think the real reason is that winter constellations Ori, Gem, Tau, Aur, CMa are on or around Milky Way, and different than summer’s, because showing quite more bright stars – there’s a summer triangle but winter triangle extends to an hexagon… Let’s add Jupiter which these years has opposition in winter and we get the magic explained.
    Or maybe the reason is simply that, when you drive or walk to a dark location in winter, you struggle the cold and appreciate more the reward…

    1. astrobob

      I think it is all you described – part reality (brightest stars all concentrated in the winter sky with Jupiter’s added luster) and part what your mind and mood bring to the scene.

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