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Mid-August 2023 - Star Gazing
Sadly the artwork above is not my own, it captures urban star gazing so nicely. On the weekend, I lay out in my backyard hammock to view the Perseid meteor shower. It was supposed to be a good viewing night, there was supposed to be between 150-200 meteors an hour. I even let my daughter stay up way past her bed time to see shooting stars for the first time.
We were out there an hour and only spotted a single meteor.
But… I did point out the two constellations I know (the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia), still visible in my urban sky. We saw satellites and air planes. And best of all, we got a nice view of Mars. A bat even graced us with a flyby.
In considering our sky, I’ve been working my way through The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars by Jo Marchant. As the back of the book describes it, the book ‘is a spellbinding parade of the ways different cultures celebrated the majesty and mysteries of the night sky.’
Marchant points out that ‘it’s hard to find a successful early civilization that did not organize itself around the sky’ — but now it’s hard to find a full sky to view. Our lights mask so much. Shooting stars are visible from my backyard, but sadly the Milky Way and so much more is not.
Speaking of the stars, I just finished the hard science fiction novel Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini. A group of planetary surveyors spot something unexpected on a remote world—a perfect, 50km across, hole in the planet. From the hole, pieces of the Mandelbrot set (a fractal) are transmitted at regular intervals. Of course, a small group heads down to investigate.
The book edges on horror (but not quite), the four people sent to the planet’s surface bring their own personal baggage with them and are forced to grapple with it as they go. The story slowly builds as the group walks across the planet surface and it sucked me in.
Subject 34, the conclusion to the Encoded Orbits trilogy is almost ready to go. I need to do one final editing pass then format it into a book. I’ll be announcing the release date soon.
I had planned on using this August to draft a new book (Tangled Timelines). The outline is ready, but I haven’t started on the first draft. I think I’ll be kind to myself and tackle some short stories (i.e. more Case Files) instead.
That’s all I have for now.
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