Sunday, June 26, 2005
Venus, Mercury and Saturn, and a night full of rain
After last nights pessimistic post, today dawned fine and clear without a cloud in the sky. It's the Bettdeckererschnappender Weisles' birthday tomorrow, but as that's a school day, Middle One made waffles while I made pancakes and coffee for a luxurious breakfast in bed. Eldest One set up the tray and carried it in, while Smallest One got underfoot. As it was a beautiful day we decided to cycle to lunch with our friends. Such a beautiful day! Such a pleasant lunch! (With only one broken pepper pot, one broken plate and Eldest One fell into the canal, quite an uneventful outing).
Never tempt Hughie. We left the cafe in brilliant sunshine, and cycled straight into a tempest. The photo above shows the rainbow that accompanied us as we raced from shelter to shelter in between bursts of jack-hammer rain that shot droplets dancing high into the air as it fell. Of course we had left our raincoats behind (but luckily we did bring sunscreen). It was actually quite beautiful, but being wet and cold can get you down after a while. We got home to hot baths and showers and listened to the squalls pass. Eventually it calmed down, and the clouds headed out to sea.
Of course, the clouds all congregated where the planetary massing would be. The Sun sank lower, the clouds remained. Sunset, the clouds stayed put. Sirius and Procyon peek out, the eastern sky is sparkly clear, but the cloud squats where the trio should appear like a manevolent toad. The light drains from the sky, then finally, a break in the clouds. Venus shines forth like a beacon, then Mercury, then Saturn pops free. A beautiful triangle of planets framed by clouds. I rush out and shoot off a few images before they are consumed, pause to take in their beauty, then they are gone.
One image is shown below (you will have to click on the image to see the detail, you can barely see Saturn and Mercury in the bloggered image), the lights down the bottom of the image are ships on the horizon, so the planets were pretty low. Over on Astronomy Blogg Stuart has a nice image of his encounter with the planets.