Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Super Blood Moon

According to the forecast, the weather on Sept. 27 to 28 would be perfect for viewing the total lunar eclipse. The news got me so excited since I've been waiting for that for a long time.

The celestial event is actually a 4-in-1 phenomenon:  1. full moon;  2. harvest moon (nearest the fall equinox);  3. supermoon or perigee moon (closest approach to earth); and 4. total lunar eclipse. 

The night of Sept. 27 came.  Patches of clouds floated across the moon. They threatened the sky show. They came and went, along with the rainbow halo in changing forms. But they were just so awesome that I couldn't resist taking lots of photos! Later on, the clouds thickened and entirely hid the moon.

When I woke up at 2:30 a.m., the sky had completely cleared, no trace of clouds at all. The supermoon exhibited its flawless silver face while waiting for the earth's shadow to veil it. As I watched its development, I took random shots until it  completely turned to blood. I watched until almost 5:00 a.m. and then went back to sleep just when the shadow started to move away from the moon.

the eclipse's progression in clockwise order

Note: My images are not so sharp  (blurry actually) because I only used my simple compact camera. In most of the images, the details of the moon's surface were washed out by its radiance.  But I was so elated to watch this phenomenon for the first time in my life.

In between my eclipse shooting, I also captured some stars and  constellations.

the supermoon and the Pegasus constellation

the brightest star here is Venus

Orion rising, together with Taurus, Pleiades and Gemini

And this ardent skywatcher  had her soul well-nourished once again. 

"Like the moon, it will be firmly established forever
As a faithful witness in the skies."
(Psalm 89:37)

Yes, the moon is a witness that reminds us of God's Kingdom and the blessings it will bestow upon mankind. (Daniel 2:44)

Linking up with
Skywatch Friday
Mosaic Monday

Thursday, October 8, 2015

First Visible Northern Auroras This Season

August skies have been packed with intensely vibrant northern lights, but in a place like ours where summer night skies are bright, they were not visible.

In September, the nights started to be dark again, and hence, the sky sparks with the ever beautiful green lights that dance all over the sky.

I had my first sighting on Sept. 7. Not so vibrant nor sweeping, but still capable of kindling a fire of amazement.

Next is Sept. 9. It started with a faint glow of band that stretched across the sky from northeast to southwest. My camera is incapable of capturing the entire strip, so I took fragments.

As the night deepened, the lights intensified in full vibrance and ruffled in circular motion around the sky. It turned out to be a long term aurora.

The third is on Sept 21, just a slight display and a short one. There was something in the air that night that caused these bokeh effects.

Some years ago, a dear reader of my blog commented that in the future, the northern lights would become a common thing to me. True, they've become common in the sense that they always frequent the night skies and I've been seeing a lot of them. But these are the common things that always spark up a sense of novelty every time I watch them. My fascination and wonderment are always there, never flickering. In short, I never get tired watching them at all. They're like food for the soul.

"The north! the north! from out the north
What founts of light are breaking forth,
And streaming up these evening skies,
A glorious wonder to our eyes!"
(from The Aurora Borealis by Hannah Flagg Gould)

Linking up with
Mosaic Monday
Our Beautiful World
Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The End and the Beginning

We officially wrapped the summer up by scouring some forests for chanterelles. We went to the same forest where we usually picked the previous years, but we had to check the nearby hill first where hubby used to pick years before we crossed paths. Just for the record, the hill is called Loberget.

While hiking up, I was attracted by the large blueberries along the narrow path and was tempted to pick. But I couldn't stop because we were focused on reaching the top. Once there, we were disappointed not to find a single mushroom. Strange, hubby muttered, for what he had known to be a rich chanterelle field.

the red berries are dwarf cornel or bunchberry (Cornus suecica)

tiny moss magnified

I wanted to climb the tower to get a bird's eye-view of the lower plane but it was chained at the bottom of the ladder with a warning that some of the wooden planks were brittle. We sat down for a moment on a fallen tree trunk while plucking blueberries from the bushes that surrounded the trunk. Our search for chanterelle being futile, we ended up picking blueberries along the way on our descent. At least we didn't leave the hill with empty baskets.

Back to the lower forest, we found a few of the mushroom we were looking for. Just enough for our dinner side dish that evening.

And then summer ended.


On Sept. 13, we welcomed the fall by hiking to another mountain which was a few minutes ride from our city, Tavelsjöberget. Tavelsjö is a village we always pass by every time we take a short ride to the countryside. Though it's one of my favorite villages, I've never been to that mountain which hubby spoke highly about. I only admired the mountain as we traveled by.

That Sunday afternoon after our morning ministry, we drove to the village and parked at the foot of the mountain together with some other hikers. There were several trails to choose from and we opted for one that we felt was suited for us.

dropping by the village's special flea market day

We kept climbing the steep, through rocky and rooty steps, among the trees and giant rocks and on to the rocky slopes at higher altitude. Along the way,  I kept noticing blueberries again, plucked the big ones and stuffed them in my mouth. These are the largest European blueberries that I've ever seen and picked.

Once on top of the mountain, we chose one picnic table that offered us an amazing view of the valley, and took in our sandwiches and coffee. Other hikers were already having their snacks, some made fire for grilling.

We sat there, looking admiringly at the lake below, the typical Swedish red houses and barns blending in the verdant surrounding which started to change colors. Just refreshing!

Time to climb back down. I trailed behind hubby, still awed by the rocks and vegetation along the way. I picked a handful of blueberries just for the joy of it. Then we reached the wooden stairways that concluded the downhill hike.

It's been a thrilling and rejuvenating trek.

Thus began autumn. And new adventures.