One of my favourite astronomy books, or series of books, has to be Burnham's Celestial Handbook, a three volume collection of reference material on the stars and objects in the night sky.
What I particularly like is that among all the wonderful astronomical data, the author Robert Burnham Jr also included a large amount of ancient history and folklore of the stars and constellations.
Plus there's a very a good selection of poetry relevant to the subject in question.
Whilst reading through the pages concerning Sagittarius the Archer, my eye was drawn to a beautiful translation of a poem by the great Chinese poet Du Fu or Tu Fu as I stubbornly refer to him... Though correctly his name would be 杜甫
Night Thoughts While Traveling
A light breeze rustles the reeds
Along the river banks. The
Mast of my lonely boat soars
Into the night. Stars blossom
Over the vast desert of
Waters. Moonlight flows on the
Surging river. My poems have
Made me famous but I grow
Old, ill and tired, blown hither
And yon; I am like a gull
Lost between heaven and earth.
Translation by Kenneth Rexroth
I have to say there are many translations of this great poem, many of them are bloody awful, but thankfully Kenneth Rexroth's version speaks to me.
On the next clear evening when the sky is full of stars I will copy this poem to paper, take it outside and recite it out loudly to the stars above.... I invite you to do the same...
Where have all the fireballs gone....?
It's been pretty poor astronomy wise these last couple of weeks. Lots of cloud and rain and more rain and cloud etc and blah blah..!!
Even the recent Taurid meteor shower hasn't revealed one solitary blazing fragment.... so far.
Usually by now, I have seen at least one. Not this year!
Over the last few years, November has consistently hurled several fireballs my way..
Out of all the annual meteor showers, the Taurids, as far as I can tell, seem to be the most consistent for producing blazing fireballs...
I hope to see at least one before the end of the month. Come on clouds ... CLEAR OFF!!
Only a couple more weeks and Jupiter will be clearing the "dancing trees" at the end of our garden.
I call them dancing trees because they always seem to be moving. Just the slightest breeze and they are off...! Last night Sirius was winking on and off through the ghostly limbs of a swaying ash tree.
|Sketches from 2014|
Lets hope we get some clear night skies soon... I have some poetry to recite.
Clear poetic skies