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Can the gentleman who emailed me about giving a talk in Old Hutton please contact me again? Your email has gone missing. Yes, I’d love to come and talk to you, by the way! 🙂

This is where you’ll find pictures and additional information to complement my weekly “Skywatch” column for The Westmorland Gazette…


GAZETTE Sept 9th – “Sun Dogs”

This is the kind of thing you’re looking for when you’re looking for “Sun Dogs”, or ‘parhelia’, close to the Sun at this time of year…

The “Sun dogs” are the bright, rainbow-like features on either side of the Sun. Sometimes they can appear exceptionally bright, almost like mini Suns on either side of the real one.

If you see a good display of Sun Dogs, take a moment to look at the sky right above your head, too; you might just see a much rarer “circumzenithal arc”…

And it’s also worth keeping an eye on the sky right before dawn or right after sunset, in case a “Sun Pillar” makes an appearance…

All these things are lovely to see in the sky, and, with today’s point-and-shoot digital cameras, easy to photograph, too. And if you’ve any plans to travel farther north, to colder lands, then you definitely should keep an eye on the sky while you’re up there, in case you see a display like this…



6 Responses

  1. Dear Stuart

    Having read your article in the Westmorland Gazette on 26 August, we went outside to see if we could see Jupiter. Unfortunately, it was overcast and unlike Friday evening, we were not able to see the moon nor Jupiter.

    We live at Aynsome near Cartmel. My wife and I have just (Saturday 28 August at 21:30) witnessed three orange glows shooting through the sky. Looking north we saw three small orange squares, one after another, with orange tentaclesof light, moving south and then turning east and disappearing at what must have been at a huge speed way beyond any military or civil aircraft we regularly see over our house.

    We have never ever seen anything like it before; they were not shooting stars nor ordinary aircraft, both of which we are very familiar with. What could they have been? Did anyone else see them?

    • Dear Stuart

      Further to my email to you last Saturday night we worked out that what we saw were Chinese lanterns glowing orange. The apparent illusion of extreme speed must have been as the candles extinguished and the light rapidly diminished in size.

      It seems that these celebratory lanterns can travel for a considerable distance and up to 2000 m in height and have baffled others as well as us.

      Kind regards

  2. I wrote this before the new Mars probe landed, I had just discovered its name.

    “Curiosity” Killed The Cat

    We look up in wonder at the stars,
    We ponder on there being life on Mars,
    And so we’ve sent a craft to see,
    A marvellous thing called “Curiosity”.
    And on the surface of the big red rock,
    The last of its kind looks up in shock,
    As from the sky there falls a star,
    Which has travelled there from afar.
    Then the star begins to slow,
    And the last Martian feline down below,
    Stares in wonder, as a chute deploys,
    Soon followed by the strangest noise,
    As the thrusters ignite to stop,
    The rapidity of the strange craft’s drop.
    And then the craft begins to lower,
    A separate large object from below her,
    Which lands upon the creature’s head,
    Leaving it squashed and very dead!
    Now just how bloody ironic is that?
    “Curiosity” killed the cat!

    Tom Higgins 05/08/2012

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