shop news: midwinter sale further markdowns …

Sheila Maid Ceiling Airer: very nice new Midwinter Sale price $129.95 {down from $159} …!

Further markdowns in the shop … up to 50% off … from now to Leap Day … 29 Feb!

full snow moon illumination

‘The full moon illuminates snow covered trees. Inspite of the bright moon, the aurora shows up nicely in the clear sky. This is rare, however, as the slightest moonlit haze will obscure aurora. Note how much brighter (and blue rather than black) the sky is compared to the other images.’ Photo with description via the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks … more on the Full Snow Moon

groundhog day: o winter, where art thou?

‘The Falling Star’, by James Hamilton Hay, 1909, found via Crashingly Beautiful

For most of Canada, winter as we know/knew it has been cancelled, or at best is a half-hearted, wishy-washy impersonation of winter … early Spring indeed, so say Wiarton Willie & Shubenacadie Sam …!

Fact: Meteorologists say typical signs of winter have been wiped out by an “arctic oscillation,” a phenomenon that’s seen the constantly moving jet stream remain relatively stationary and keep winter conditions at bay …

welcome 2012: eyes north for peaking lights

The Northern Lights reach a zenith in 2012, as we enter this latest, and unusually strong, astronomical era of Solar Maximum. So, Aurora Borealis will be more brilliant and intense, more frequent, more vibrant and dramatic than any time in the last decade -— maybe even the last century … NASA scientists have predicted that this current Solar Maximum in 2012 will be the greatest since 1958, where the aurora stunned the people of Mexico by making an appearance on three occasions.

*Yellowknife, NWT, is a hotspot at 62 degrees latitude, since 62 degrees just happens to be directly under a dominant magnetic line of the earth’s magnetic field. Plus, Yellowknife’s night skies are usually clear, with no clouds impeding the spectacular view.

By all accounts, keep your eyes peeled on clear nights no matter the latitude, especially those farther south, for this may be your lucky year!

*UPDATE: Everybody can see the magnificent Aurora Borealis live from Yellowknife {after dusk local time} via this CSA page!

Photo, info courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

winter solstice: ancient timekeeper for darkest day

Useful medieval gadget for calculating the winter solstice, dated 1396; ‘Brought to Light Having Spent Over 20 Years in a Shed in Queensland, Australia’… Went to auction last week, ‘Extraordinarily Rare 14th Century Time-Telling Instrument, Marked with Badge of Richard II, to Sell at Bonhams’… actually, no deal on the rare 14thC timepiece, so save your pennies for next time …!

Astrolabe quadrants are amongst the most sophisticated instruments ever made before the invention of the modern computer. They combine the mathematical and astronomical features of an astrolabe with a much smaller size.

Found at Sydney Morning Herald via here

perigee moon & perigean spring tide

‘Moon above the Sea at Daimotsu Bay – Benkei’, original Japanese woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, 1886, from ‘One Hundred Aspects of the Moon‘ … ‘a powerful portrayal of Benkei quelling a storm’ … found here

Aspects of tonight’s unusual full ‘moon illusion’: the rare size & beauty of this ‘perigee moon’ … with very high ‘perigean tides’ in tow, so beware …