Have You Been Stargazing for Dark Sky Week?

This wide-field image shows the Milky Way stretching across the southern sky. The beautiful Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) is seen at the right of the image glowing in red. It is within this spiral arm of our Milky Way that the bright star cluster NGC 3603 resides. At the centre of the image is the constellation of Crux (The Southern Cross). The bright yellow/white star at the left of the image is Alpha Centauri, in fact a system of three stars, at a distance of about 4.4 light-years from Earth. The star Alpha Centauri C, Proxima Centauri, is the closest star to the Solar System.

Stars sae heich

abuin the muin

cauld and changeless

sklentan doun.

From Starry Nicht by William Hershaw

From 22nd to 30th of April people are encouraged to get out and look at the night sky as part of International Dark Sky Week.

The Orkney News has a popular series of articles for astronomers of all levels written by Duncan Lunan. Check them out using the search button. There are the star maps to explain what you are looking at in the night sky and where to find it. Then there are longer articles which deal with subjects such as the planets, comets, space exploration and the search for forms of life.

blue universe
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on

Escape at Bedtime by Robert Louis Stevenson

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
There were thousands of millions of stars.
There ne’er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
And that glittered and winked in the dark.

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
And the stars going round in my head.

Listen to Allie Esiri reading ‘Escape at Bedtime’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Related article: The Sky Above You – April 2022 Look out for Duncan Lunan’s May Star Map coming soon.

image M McKane

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