a rising mist
The Goodly Mist
A Workingblog for Rob Sherman
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That Lashed Moon

September 26, 2012

My father has had a telescope for many years. It’s an intimidating limb of utter precision, and I think he is terrified by it. Within it are more complex sciences than he, a former organic chemist doctor, has ever performed in his life. A zen machine, it is powered by light, and remains useless without an eye to witness it. The aperture through which you can view the stars is so small, you feel that you are on a spaceship in the 1960s, where the windows are so small because of the weakness of glass, and all of our primitiveness.

Those are my fears. Perhaps his were more concerned with a Galilean loneliness; nobody else in the family wanted to work out how to use the thing, least of all myself. Then, as with all people, I grew up and realised that absolutely everything in existence was interesting. This, indirectly, led to me clearing out my parent’s loft, discovering the telescope, and spiriting it off to my flat.

It’s not a powerful telescope, in a global sense; 600mm, with a 6mm and 20mm lens. I took it with me on recent trip to Devon, where you can make out the Battenburg of Milky Way into which we are baked in the night sky. But I was impatient, and couldn’t get it to focus. Luckily, when I returned home, autumn was setting in, and in between bouts of rain it was minty clear, with few clouds and a waxing moon.

The picture above was taken by my flatmate, with a 6 megapixel camera. The image is hazy, but no less wonderful for it. He has a 36 megapixel Canon, the adaptor for which is in the post from China, so I am very excited about the ensuing images.

The 6mm lens, when you have cleared the tears from your eyes and willed your eyelashes to stop drawing down over everything, brings the moon into such a relief. It is amazing that something so acned and repugnant should glow like that.

The craters seem to hang over its underside like dugs. The surface, where it meets that complete black, shimmers noticeably. We even thought that we could track it across the sky, but that may have been the soil underneath the tripod’s feet shifting.

When that adaptor arrives, and the forecast is clear and the moon haloes again, we are jumping in the car and going somewhere very dark, to take some pictures.