BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘astronomy’

#365daysofbiking To orangey for crows

Saturday February 27th 2021 – Another decent sunset which I caught near Haselour on a fast test ride around Harlaston and Whittington – but the real star was the moon, as viewed here from the old ROC bunker by Willow Bottom Lane.

It was the most stunning orange colour – the camera doesn’t do it justice and it was really, really breathtaking. I’ve never seen such a beautiful, large coloured moon before.

The effect is caused by pollution and moisture in the atmosphere, and faded as it rose.

Another I was very glad to catch.

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#365daysofbiking Approaching equity

March 14th – One of the nice but pointlessly geeky things about riding with a GPS bike computer is the ability to see sunrise and sunset times change every day.

That’s not so great when nights are closing in, but when they’re opening out, it’s lovely to watch; and one of the things that always makes me happy is the spring equinox.

The science of the equinox/equilux is basically beyond me but the equinox is when the length of day is equal to the length of night, and the difference between sunset and sunrise is 12 hours. I always find it intriguing that thins’t smack bang at 6pm and 6pm, which would be neat, but usually around 6:15.

Every year this gets me, and every year I’m as delighted and inspired by it.

Find out more about the science of the equinox here.

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#365daysofbiking The stars in spring

March 25th – Nearer Brownhills, I hit the canal at the Black Cock for the final ride to Brownhills.  It was very clear but no moon. Stopping to take photos of Clayhanger Bridge – one of my favourite night-time photographic muses – I realised that the stars were showing well. I hoped I caught them. I also tried at Catshill Junction.

You’ll need to zoom but I’m pleased to see I caught Orion in both cases. Not a bad result.

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#365daysofbiking The world spins

March 18th – I keep banging on about equinoxes, and like the idiot I surely am, I thought I knew about them. It turns out like many things I think I understand, there’s so much more to it than I knew.

Today, the length of the daylight was near as damn it 12 hours: the sunrise was 6:16am and sunset a 6:15pm. Tomorrow, the daylight will be longer than night.

But this is not the equinox (when the sun crosses the equator). This is the equilux – equal light. Although, it’s not really equal at all: A number of factors including how we might use the three definitions of twilight complicate this.

I looked it up tonight and was fascinated. The equinox actually happens on March 20th this year – that’s Wednesday.

You can find out all the gory detail of how this stuff works at this excellent blog post here – the comments are worth a read too if you have time to spare.

You learn something new every day.

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#365daysofbiking Getting better every day

January 2nd – Back on the 21st December my heart was lifted, as it always its, by the thought that we’d had the shortest day of the year, and that now the sunset would get later and later and the night and darkness would retreat for another year.

Well, not two weeks later, and the sunset is already 10 minutes later than it was on that day.

Ten minutes may not seem much, but it’s significant. Although the timetable to which the day lengthens is fixed, the rapidity of the change is always impressive to me and the retreat of night, being loosely sinusoidal, accelerates as we escape winter.

That six hundred seconds of gleaned light mean that on a clear day, it’s not really dark until well after 4:30pm. Soon light will leak into my evening commutes, and all will be well again.

I so hate the darkness.

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#365daysofbiking Stars of the fall:

October 17th – It was a beautiful crisp, clear evening as night fell, and I was pleased to see in the western skies the stars were out, just discernible beyond the trees.

I might not like this time of year that much, but the sunsets are well worth it.

November 14th – Nearer home, at Fighting Cocks, the moon made an appearance.

It was a beautiful as ever, but didn’t seem that much bigger than usual to me, but it was very bright.

An odd thing, really: Every moon these days is special in some way. I think I preferred it when we just had normal ones!

October 16th – I remember when we just used to get plain old moons, but these days every full moon is special for one reason or another – a harvest moon, a supermoon, a hunters moon, which this was – all of a sudden every appearance of this old familiar has to be special.

Which is daft, really, because the moon always is special. Caught from near George’s Hayes, Longdon, it was low and made orange by the atmosphere. 

I never tire of looking at the moon.

February 22nd – The moon was so large and lovely, I had another go at capturing it. This was freehand with the camera on timer, and didn’t turn out too badly really. The moon fascinates me. I love how it seems to guide me homeward when I’ve been working late.

March 3rd – I was quite lucky with this, too; also handheld. The moon was my companion tonight as I rode through Sheffield and Walsall Wood, I noticed how bright it was. I love how if you can photograph it, detail you can’t see with the naked eye becomes evident.

All those miles of nothing between me and the moon. And yet, man has been there, and landed on that glowing ball. 

Such a wonderful, enchanting thought.