Friday, 3 April 2009

Misty Moonwatch

A group of people gathered at the Botanic Garden yesterday evening for a Moonwatch. This year is the International Year of Astronomy, (so I've just discovered!), and this was an associated activity.

It had been a glorious sunny day with clear blue skies. However, as telescopes were being set up a mist drifted in and obscured the heavens ...

The intention had been to look at the moon through the telescopes. This was not to be! By the close of the evening the mist was so thick we could hardly see beyond the glasshouses. How glad we were that the cafe had specially opened to serve hot chocolate, tea and coffee!

And another treat was in store ...

Peter Edwards from the Physics Department of the University of Durham gave a marvellously inspiring talk about astronomy and the universe.

His presentation included a simulated journey through real space, past stars, nebulae and galaxies. I found it awe-inspiring to learn that if you took every grain of sand from every beach and every desert on Earth, you would have an idea of how many stars there are in the universe!


Contemplating all this later, I thought how it could have made my life and everyone or everything I know and care about seem insignificant. Not so - it had the opposite effect ... The awesome beauty and vastness of the universe magnified for me the infinite value of all those things on earth we hold dear. The ordinary-extraordinariness of love and life.


16 comments:

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

My ex-mother-in-law is a graduate of Durham University and my best friend teaches astronomy. He has a pretty decent telescope and it's really cool to see the moon (and planets and stars) through it. Hope you get another chance.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Monica. How amazing - what a small world it is! Durham is a lovely University. Lucky you being able to look through your friend's telescope.

I'm sure there will be more of these events coming up - I'm really looking forward to another Moonwatch.

Claude said...

Sounds like it was an amazing experience... to answer your question you left in my comments, The curly willow tree is the same as the curly branches florist use. That tree actually started as a branch in an arrangement that grew roots!

Phoenix C. said...

Claude - I wondered if it was that one - I have one too, which I bought as a little sprig for 20p at a florists!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

It sounds like a great and interesting time even if you didn't get to see the moon. I'm fascinated by all that is out there in the sky past our view.
I love the violets. I tried to get a picture of mine today but it started hailing. Maybe tomorrow!

Phoenix C. said...

Your rain photos were so lovely - some hail images would be really interesting, Catherine!

I love violets - I'm always amazed at where they turn up from seeding themselves - a bit of random gardening is fun!

Abe Lincoln said...

These flowers remind me of what I call,"Wild Violets." I have a problem with them here. They just take over and have to be hoed out from time to time as I have not been able to get anything to compete with them for growing space.

I like the dog portraits too.

Phoenix C. said...

Hello Abe Lincoln - thank you for visiting. My violets have to be pulled out too if they get too prolific! But they come out easily so I don't mind.

Thank you - I love dogs (and cats) and like to express their character in my art.

Diane C. said...

Interesting post and comments. Two things I rarely see in my desert are thick mist and spreading violets. My husband enjoys astronomy and likes your telescope pictures.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Diane. One of the astronomers told me that observatories are often in deserts and on high mountains to be away from and above any mist. I imagine your husband will get some wonderful views of the stars where you are.


My dad was keen on astronomy, so when I was a young rebel I was resolutely not! Now I find it interesting.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

It sounds like a fascinating event so sorry about the misty fog. The vastness of our world just boggles the imagination. If we only knew or could see it all, my...

Your photography is so beautifully done. I am in awe at some of your photos the textures and angles are great. It is wonderful to see things through your eyes in your pictures. Beautiful.

Are the drawings your? What beautiful work!

Thanks for dropping by my blog.
Lona

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Lona - I really appreciate your words.

I'm glad you like my photos - I don't know much about photography and use my camera more as an extension to my paintbrush! If the photograph works it's luck!!

The drawings and paintings are mine. In all this I'm aiming to express and celebrate what I see and experience in the world, especially trees, woods and gardens.

Withy Brook said...

Thank you for calling in on my Sockburn blog. What took you there? If you are with Durham University you are not far from Sockburn.

Phoenix C. said...

I can't remember how I found your blog, Withy Brook! But I am glad I did.

Barbara Martin said...

Lovely photos especially the last with the violets.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Barbara. I love to see plants in woods highlighted by sunlight.