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  • Robert I. X. Jones

Spaced Out

Updated: Oct 5, 2020




Out after midnight this morning, stargazing with the Ely Astronomy Club. Just four of us - suitably distanced - amongst the freeways and hillocks of the local golf course. Slightly cloudy conditions for it but still liberating, after weeks of solitude and claustrophobia, to be out with good company on such a still night.

And there were things to see. Jupiter and Saturn were low in the sky and very bright. Through the telescope one could clearly make out three of the former's moons and the latter's rings. The Plough and Cassiopeia very clear, also Vega, Arcturus and, of course, Polaris. A couple of vivid shooting stars and just a very few, very high planes. Pascal said that the silences of infinite space terrified him; for some of us, their contemplation will always be a source of elation.

We also had the benefit of effortlessly erudite guidance from the club's Vice Chairman, Alex Simpson - someone for whom the perceived barriers between art and science, intellect and emotion, simply don't exist. Have a look at his recent, deeply felt, essay on astronomical references in the poetry of A.E.Housman - consoling stuff for uncertain times. (https://sites.google.com/site/elyastroclub)


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