Don't forget: you can click on an image to enlarge it!

Sunday 31 October 2021

November's passes by the International; Space Station

Early risers might enjoy looking out for the ISS this month. An added bonus is Mars and Mercury quite close in the pre-dawn eastern sky: look out for auroras too - there was a visible display last night (look north, of course!)

Beautiful waning Moon

There's something really special about a crescent Moon: it gives real solidity to the little planet: you almost feel you could reach out and grasp it...

Saturday 30 October 2021


Since I posted the 'Whatever you want' tutorial, a number of people have asked what 'special' tuning Jimmy Page uses on the amazing Zeppelin number 'Kashmir'. The answer is he retunes to DADGAD: in fact, you can't really play any elements  of the song without doing so: here we go!

Friday 29 October 2021

Gaia in Norwich...

You may remember that Linda and I were invited to sell meteorites and give talks in Ely Cathedral a couple of years ago: we set up underneath a huge globe of the Moon. The same artist has created a similar globe of the Earth, which is on display at St Peter Mancroft in Norwich - but just for one more day!

This morning Linda and I went to see it and were not disappointed: it's an amazing thing to see, not the least because it rotates!

Nearby, at the Forum, there were a few displays associated with Norwich Science Week - in the past I've been invited to take part, but not this year! I have to say: what was available seemed pretty weak: Norwich could certainly learn something from Cambridge! One of the street trail Mammoths that will appear in the City next year was on display: it looked absolutely marvelous! 

Thursday 28 October 2021

Guitar tutorial: 'Whatever you want'

More fantastic Moonscapes

The Moon is beautifully placed in the pre-dawn sky at the moment: if you have any sort of 'big glass' for your DSLR, it's well worth a shot or two! The terminator is running down the centre of the Moon's disc, throwing into contrast some terrific craters and crater groups: various mountains and peaks are highly visible too!

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Walcott fails to deliver!

With the recent reasonable sea-passage around the North and East coast of Norfolk (and given that Linda and I had to be over that way on business) we took cameras and binoculars with us to Walcott for a brief seawatch. Brief, because virtually nothing was going past! A few Gannets and Auks, a single small Grebe a long way out and - apart from the ever-present Turnstones - that was it! I've had some form of cold that has laid me low for a week, causing us to cancel a meeting with friends in Suffolk (losing £300 in hotel fees in the process! Ouch!) so this was still an enjoyable little excursion, albeit I didn't get out of the car!

On the way home one of our resident Kites drifted low over the road: what a welcome addition to the local avifauna they are!

Spectacular lunar craters this morning

Just before dawn this morning the Moon was well-positioned for photography:  in the images below the terminator passes through one of the richest crater fields on the lunar surface, including the giant multiple structure Clavius (Just below the ray crater Tycho) Towards the north pole, to the east of the dark-floored crater Plato, is the Alpine Valley, a deep scar created by a low angle impact.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

End of another era!

For fifteen years Linda and I attended airshows all over the UK selling our framed aviation memorabilia: it was at these that we met old chums Paul and Jason. Every item in the frames came from non-fatal incidents: bale-outs, crash landings or restoration projects. During the time our online business 'The Flightline' was in operation, we sold some amazing rarities, from aircraft including the SR-71 Blackbird, the X-15, Me 262 and even Chuck Yeager's NF-104A.

Yesterday a long-time client contacted me to purchase three identical Christmas presents: I was able to oblige with the very last of our A4 'Four Fighters' displays. Although I still have some big pieces of Me109, He111 and several other WW2 aircraft, I think that'll be it! Great fun while it lasted...

Monday 25 October 2021

Mercury rising

It was worth a half-five climb out of bed this morning to catch a glimpse of tiny Mercury hanging in the pre-dawn eastern sky. To the south the Moon was in Taurus, close to the bright star Aldebaran, while the ISS passed through Orion. Some great lunar features visible, including the long, sinuous Altai Scarp that links the craters Piccolomini and Catherina. 

Sunday 24 October 2021

October birdcount at Hemblington Church

Never a productive hour's birding on top of the Heath in the Autumn, but there was enough variety to keep us interested. Frustratingly, some of the more unusual species were outside the survey area (although the Linnets could be seen from the parking area!)

Interesting to watch a flock of Starlings cross the churchyard and drop down on phone wires around a Kestrel!

Saturday 23 October 2021


It's time for 'someone' to leave the freezer for his monthly look around the garden!

Redwing influx!

All morning, since first light, flocks of hundreds of Redwing have been streaming westwards over our garden: just occasionally the odd few have settled in our tall Sycamore. Strange - the garden is full of berries and fruit but they've shown no interest yet.

My favourite crater

On the wall of my office hangs an oil painting I made when I was twelve (58 years ago!) It shows the crater Petavius, with its strange, elongated companion Palitzsch. I have no idea why I became fascinated by these structures, but I do remember watching Sir Patrick Moore discussing their origin on 'The Sky at Night' and. shortly after, managing to observe them with my brother Rob. Since we only had an ancient refracting telescope, that was quite a feat!

Last night, with the Moon two days past full, the terminator ran down the side of Petavius, bringing it into sharp relief: the memories came flooding back...

Thursday 21 October 2021

This month's ISS passes

There are some bright pre-dawn passes by the International Space Station this month: its first appearance is always over in the west, and remember: the lower the magnitude, the brighter it looks!

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Hunter's Moon

The October full Moon (which just rose here in East Norfolk) is called the Hunter's Moon. It's a bit washed-out because of thin, misty cloud, but still quite striking.

Red Kite and an amazing sunrise

It was almost as if the US Air Force was going in for a little sky-writing this morning: the contrails from a mixture of fighters and transport craft almost created the Union Flag in the dawn sky!

On the way into Norwich, a Red Kite was loitering above the road near what, we assume, is now a nesting site: certainly one or more have been regular over the woods and arable fields for over a year now.