Saturday, November 15, 2014

"...when I was little someone pointed out to me....some constellations but the Big Dipper was all I could see..."

While visiting a friend who works/studies at Tekniska Högskolan, I noticed a poster for this:
alba nova 

Open night at the observatory, cheap and early.  Two things that strike my fancy.  I have done this same sort of event at other observatories, in L.A. and in Hobart.  Really, the reason to go is for a chance to look through a large telescope.  My hopes for Stockholm were high, I mean why else have so much darkness?  Only, the darkness here isn't quite true...not a darkness we have in Hobart where getting up high, and away from light pollution is still easy.  Stockholm has a strange, and eternal feeling in-between light.  Half of the year, it's dawn to high noon to dawn again never quite getting dark.  
Then this half of the year it is twilight to night, on a good day.  Other days become one day, as they range from wet gray, to wet gray to wet gray again. This makes the wait for snow seem very long, and the wait for Spring, perhaps eternal.

Our telescope guide explained to us that Stockholm, is too low, too cloudy, and too filled with artificial light to have good scientific viewing.  If the sky had been clear at all though, we would have gotten to see so much more than any hobbyist gets to see from a commercially bought telescope.  I really wanted to see a constellation as it is seen from the North.  But no luck.
We fared better with the lecture, his lecture perhaps, was a bit of a rehearsal for his dissertation but that didn't make it any less interesting.  He works with computer modelling of the gravitational lens effect- one of Einsteins predictions within the 'general theory of relativity'.  If I understood correctly, as scientists can see further and further out into space - this helps them understand what they are looking at.

I felt like he was pitching his audience correctly, as he used 'Interstellar' to help illustrate a point, and we had just gone to see the movie the night before.
I was happy that they showed it in a theater with a balcony.


Why live in a city if you do not take advantage of all the activities you can find in a city?  Well, this is what I tell myself when I cast about trying to keep myself occupied.  Maybe occupied is not the word I am thinking, perhaps interested would be closer- because the many, many hours of gray need some extra motivation.  Yesterday all I did was struggle along trying to figure out how to make our Christmas cards and to finish sewing a tortilla warmer (cozy).  
Today, is honestly, truly the sixth day of just pure gray.  The effect is a bit like living in a house with really low ceilings.
I will admit I was a bit too cavalier talking about how much I wanted to experience winter.  I was thinking of Hobart's crisp, clear and bright Autumn days with some of Stockholm's wintery, snowy, picture perfect days and forgetting about the storms, or the weeks of gray in-between the picturesque.

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