The Kelpie Constellation - a night of mild madness
Dear friends – here at World’s End we remain in firm lockdown, unable to even glimpse the mainland coast in case those germs catch the winds! And so I still don’t know when Klady and SirD will let me go to my new exclusive Tasmanian holiday resort for dogs while they travel to the mainland to see their children!
Covid19 has, and remains, top of mind and so what do you think I should do when everyone in our household awoke this week with runny eyes, snuffly noses and accompanying sneezes. Should we go for a Covid19 test? Have we met actually anyone… and I mean anyone here at World’s End. Definitely NO.
The answer was a simple cold that chilled all three of us through to the bones and I attribute this to a night of madness.
At World’s End, the night temperature was well below zero and the skies incredibly clear – which is certainly helped by the fact that we have absolutely no light pollution here at all. So what does Klady do?
It’s such a clear night, let’s take the telescope and go down to the beach and look at the Milky Way.
Feathers, maybe we can also spot your stars in Sirius and see the Martian moon, Phobos, which has a crater named after my relative, the famous astronomer, Ernst Öpik?
Now I am happy to be a part-time canine citizen astronomer and in fact last week, Klady and I really enjoyed staring at the full moon with bright shiny planets, Jupiter and Saturn in attendance, but the beach? At World’s End? At midnight?
As a result, nearing a dark and inky midnight SirD, Klady and I trooped down to our beach with the rarely used house telescope.
Klady was right. The night sky was spectacular. Stars everywhere and the Milky Way looked like shiny sparkly dust. While it was a half moon and therefore not too much light, SirD and I were thrilled to see two really bright meteors streak across the sky. Klady missed all that as she was fiddling with her telescope.
It was hilarious watching her trying to focus on the stars; in the soft sand the tripod legs weren’t the right height, nor were they stable and she was almost kneeling; the eyepiece angle dropping and every once in a while, and there was a quick burst of Antarctic wind that made her hands shake.
I give up with this *+!#@** telescope. It’s useless. Let’s lie on the sand and look up at the skies.
My friends, knowing Klady I did exactly as I was told and it was FREEZING COLD!
I lay down on the night sand, growled, rolled over and tried to lie still. Klady was lying on her back on the damp sand enthusiastically pointing out Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars as well as Orion’s Belt, the Southern Cross – and the long (and boring) list goes on and on and on……..
And with all this discomfort, we didn’t even get to see Sirius the Dog Star (Canis Major).
After an hour or so, we packed up and returned home to try and warm up.
Never again said SirD (and I agreed) but Klady insisted that there could be better nights when the weather gets a little warmer towards summer. This is because World’s End (also known as Verona Sands) is one of the best places to enjoy the mysterious lights of the Aurora Australis.
I personally am dreading these Southern Lights.
Klady checks every day to see whether the Aurora will arrive.
If it is due, I know that once again we all will have to troop down to the beach in the middle of the night – this time without the telescope but now with cameras, tripods and who knows what!
I really don’t want to catch another nasty cold from lying on our beach at midnight!
So I hope that when the Aurora appears it truly is spectacular because it’s no fun at all just staying indoors and sniffling.