Sunset Apparition

Aug 2010

Sunset ApparitionWhen I prepare for an evening’s stargazing, I always keep a watchful eye on the clouds. I acknowledge their beauty, remain friendly, give them time to show off their glorious sunset gowns  but when dusk settles in, I plead with them to go away until another day.
This is my ritual.
Something about yesterday was slightly different.

The wind was howling. The sunset was magnificent. The clouds rolled in and then as I looked through my viewfinder to take a photograph  I noticed “the apparition”.
I looked twice and thought no no, I am not going to be phased by this. “These clouds need to go away now! I am on a mission. Tonight  I need to see Orion rising over the mountain, the beautiful globular cluster of stars  in Tucana and far away galaxies  ”
The clouds dispersed slowly.
The wind kept howling but I took shelter. I must have been the only one outdoors when the International Space Station sailed across the sky  from west to east . I remembered to wave. Tumbling satellites flashed their signals. Night creatures were stirring……….
It was around midnight that I directed my telescope at the Silver Coin Galaxy – 10 million light years away. What a magnificent sight to behold.
This object was first discovered by Caroline Herschel way back in 1783 and there I was discovering it all over again in the night sky over Betty’s Bay.
Mmm, what a considerate apparition!