Friday, December 31, 2004

Stalking the Night

Stalking the Night is a James River sunset photo that has it all, including a pair of night herons for our birding fans
Every sunset photograph needs some human interest, but in this photo session I settled for "bird interest".

The sun sets directly behind that boathouse in the distance only twice a year and while I was setting up my camera a pair of night herons alighted in the nearby dead tree and proceeded to help me watch the show. I call the picture Stalking the Night -- (c) 2004, Dalton Hammond

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Space Invaders

Guess what "new" game my granddaughter is playing on her new Christmas toy? Space Invaders, for Pete's sake. Remember that one?

I thought the picture turned out great.
Here's hoping your holiday was a happy time. -- Dalton Hammond

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Seven Sisters

No doubt this is the star cluster Mozart had in mind when he wrote " a diamond in the sky." Only about seven of these stars are visible to the naked eye, hence the nickname "The Seven Sisters".

More properly known as The Pleiades, they are often referred to as The Little Dipper, and the asterism does in fact resemble a dipper but the actual Little Dipper is far away in the northern sky. Astronomers know these gems as M45, from the Messier catalog.

The Pleiades are now believed to be traveling through a dense cloud of cosmic gas which is being illuminated as the blue stars pass by, giving them their blue halos, the diamond sparkle that Mozart sang to.

I took this film picture last night, a one-minute exposure with 70mm lens F4.5 @400. A good picture of M45 shows much greater detail and beauty but I'm ashamed to display one so here's a link instead:

-- Dalton Hammond

More of my Backyard Astronomy

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Christmas Treasures

The year-end hush of twilight falls
Across December's merry walls
And soon the months will mem'ried be
Like heirloom bangles on the tree.

Each glist'ning ornament attests
The love of friends I now assess.
I count each one and softly pray
God's blessings for them each new day.

And when the New Year dawns its light
I'll pray again with all my might
That all of you will still be here
When Christmas comes again next year.

-- By Dalton Hammond