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Starlight, Starbright.. or, it isn’t over ‘til it’s over.

17 Oct

Robson Green's Tales from Northumberland TV show set to ...One of the reasons for coming out to Northumberland is that I love the night sky. It fills me with possibility, with wonder, with awe just to gaze up into the sky and imagine what it’s like. Those stars captured as they were years ago: we see Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to Earth (apart from our own sun) as it was four years ago. For some of the stars visible to the naked eye, that light has been travelling for decades. Polaris, the North Star, is 400 years ago – while Hubble has seen into the Eagle Nebula, which we see as it was 7000 years ago. These incredible distances fill my being with a sense of wonder and awe – I can’t even begin to imagine what that is in real terms, only to gasp at the mindboggling enormity of it all. And as Douglas Adams put it:

Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.

So Northumberland is one of the UK’s dark skies locations – away from big towns and light sources, the sky is really dark. And of course, when I visit, it’s full of cloud.

As I wander back from the pub, I look up, and while clouds do lazily trace their way across the sky, it’s reasonably clear, and I am just filled with gratitude as to how beautiful it is. I lean back and just drink in the wonder and beauty of it all, the scale, the vastness, the utter gorgeousness of the stars set twinkling against the blackness of infinite space. Unbelievably beautiful. And then, just when my heart is breaking from the sheer beauty of it all, a meteor lazily traces its way across the sky, bigger, brighter, slower and more beautiful than any I have ever seen in my life. Today has been a good day, a day of deepening understanding and increasing wisdom.. and this is just what I need to drop me into glorious Wordlessness.

And I am happy. I will have to come back for clear skies and wonder, but for today, this will do.

TimSignature

(Pictures definitely not mine – chosen to illustrate the post)

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