celestial pole

Little Planet Astro Camp : Day and night on this little planet look a lot like day and night on planet Earth. In fact, the images used to construct the little planet projection, a digitally warped and stitched mosaic covering 360x180 degrees, were taken during day and night near Tarjn, Hungary, planet Earth. They span a successful 33-hour-long photo experiment at Julys Hungarian Astronomical Association Astro Camp. The time-series composite follows the solar disk in 20 minute intervals from sunrise to sunset and over six hours of star trails in the northern night sky centered on the North Celestial Pole near bright star Polaris. The orbiting International Space Station traced the offset arc across the northern night. Below the little planets nightside horizon, red light lamps of fellow astro-campers left the night-long, dancing trails. via NASA

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RFA Constellation Series: Cassiopeia / Rika

Cassiopeia was the wife of King Cepheus of Aethiopia and mother of Princess Andromeda. She was placed in the sky as a punishment after enraging Poseidon with the boast that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids or, alternatively, that she herself was more beautiful than the sea nymphs. She was forced to wheel around the North Celestial Pole on her throne, spending half of her time clinging to it so she does not fall off.

Polaris and Comet Lovejoy : One of these two bright sky objects is moving. On the right is the famous star Polaris. Although only the 45th brightest star in the sky, Polaris is famous for appearing stationary. Once you find it, it will always appear in the same direction all night and all day for the rest of your life. This is because the northern spin pole of the Earth called the North Celestial Pole points near Polaris. On the left, about ten million times closer, is Comet Lovejoy, which noticeably changes its sky position by the hour. The featured image was taken last week. Officially designated C/2014 Q2 , this disintegrating snowball is on a visit from the outer Solar System and will only appear near the North Star for a few more weeks. That should be long enough, however, for northerners with binoculars or a small telescope to see the greenish coma of this fleeting newcomer, perhaps with the help of a good star map. via NASA

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Just some information about Japanese/Chinese Directional Clusters, a grouping of seven constellations. 

NORTH: GENBU 玄武 (Tortoise)- Black- Winter- Water, Cold, Void
Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius

SOUTH: SUZAKU 朱雀 (Red Bird)-Red-Summer-Fire
Gemini, Cancer

EAST: SEIRYUU 青龍 (Dragon)-Blue/Green-Spring-Wood
Virgo, Libra, Scorpio 

WEST: BYAKKO 百虎 (White Tiger)-White-Autumn-Metal
Aries, Taurus 

The Leo constellation resembles the dragon constellation the most in location. It was considered a celestial indicator/pole star/pointer much like the North Star is today. 

“ The flying dragon whose abode is the heavens is universally recognized as a symbol of the Chinese culture and its people. Chinese refer to themselves as ‘Descendents of the Dragon.’ “ 

BAYER, Johann.Ursa Minor, 1639 - Ulm: Johann Gorlini, 1639. Coloured, with gold highlights. 285 x 380mm. 

The constellation of Ursa Minor, engraved by Alexander Mair for Bayer’s ‘Uranometria’, a star atlas that shaped the way the heavens would be perceived for more than two centuries. Johann Bayer (1572-1625), an Augsburg lawyer, was an amateur astronomer in the years just prior to the invention of the telescope. His most important innovation was a new system of identifying stars by Greek and Roman letters, known today as the Bayer designation. His 'Uranometria’ ('Measuring the Sky’), first published 1603, was the first celestial atlas to contain a chart of the stars in the Southern Hemisphere.

The North Celestial Tower : If you climbed to the top of this 13th century stone tower, it looks like you could reach out and touch the North Celestial Pole, the point at the center of all the star trail arcs. The well-composed image with scattered meteor streaks was recorded over a period of five and half hours as a series of 45 second long exposures spanning the dark of the night on July 7/8. The exposures were made with a digital camera fixed to a tripod near Marathon, Greece, planet Earth. Of course, the graceful star trails reflect the Earths daily rotation around its axis. By extension, the axis of rotation leads to the center of the concentric arcs in the night sky. Convenient for northern hemisphere night sky photographers and celestial navigators alike, the bright star Polaris is very close to the North Celestial Pole and so makes the short bright trail in the towers central gap. via NASA

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Can I Talk Now?

This came from an anonymous request. So whomever you are I hope you like it  ^^

Prompt :Just give me a chance  

Rated- T

     Six months had gone by since Lucas, and Riley had become an official couple. In those six months they both slowly started to realize they were holding on too something that had felt for each other in the 7th grade . A perception of what they both thought it was suppose to be like, and they slowly both noticed their was something else, or really someone else each of them wanted. After Riley, and Maya sat at the bay window discussing it all. Riley was happy when she finally convinced Maya to go after Lucas that her feelings for him were gone, and she was so sorry for not seeing it sooner.

   A few nights after everything was sorted Riley was laying on a blanket on her roof staring up at the stars. She wasn’t sad over breaking up with Lucas. Maybe a bit disappointed she had let it go on for so long, but mostly she was trying to get herself to stop thinking of Farkle.  She heard someone walking up, and without even looking over she knew who it was.

  “Hey Farkle” Riley couldn’t help, but smile at how he always had the best, and worst timing to show up to talk to her.

   “I just came to check on you.” Farkle said softly as he started to lay down next to her putting his head  on her crooked elbow like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Riley wiggled a bit when his hair grazed her arm making her heart race, but she kept her eyes on the sky. “I Already told you I was okay Farkle.”

“Do I need to move am I hurting you?” Farkle had felt the wiggle, and thought maybe she wasn’t comfortable.

  Riley swallowed lightly “Oh no not at all Farkle I’m happy your here.” He wasn’t hurting her, but he was making the whole think of him only as friend thing much harder. Farkle noticing the uneasiness in her voice decided he would distract with a story. “Face me Riley…Please. I want to tell you a story.”

  Always up for a story Riley turned at the same time Farkle did they were so close their noses were almost touching. He smelt like tea tree oil, and mint which Riley found soothing as it ran through her senses. Trying to keep her mind on his story, and not him she put her eye’s on his waiting for him to start.

   Knowing that look meant she was Ready Farkle started to speak quietly. “There is a constellation made up of two people in love up there. Perseus, and Andromeda.” Riley smiled brightly already knowing Farkle knew her well enough to tell her a love story.

 “On his way home from a mission, Perseus saw a beautiful woman chained to a rock by her parents, and rescued her.” Though she heard every word she also couldn’t help, but notice the sparkle in his eye’s as he spoke. He always  lit up when he spoke about anything to her, and it made her feel special even if her feelings for him weren’t returned in the same way.

 “Poseidon, god of the sea, had a problem with it and sent a monster to destroy them. Perseus defeated the monster, then asked to marry Andromeda.” The way Farkle spoke so passionately about the story when she knew sometimes  he got confused by certain emotions. She wondered if he really felt emotional about the story, or if he was telling it like he was to make her happy. Either way he was amazing, and she wondered why it had taken her so long for to see he was always there for her.

  “Finding her promised to her uncle, he killed the uncle, and married her. They fought fate, and to this day are together, dancing on the north celestial pole.” The last part made Riley want to cry, but also the fate part with the fighting made her bite her lip. Did he also feel the same way? Did he also seem them as two lovers who had overcome life obstacles to get to be together? Out of all the stories he could of told he picked that one, and of all nights told it to her right now. It was too risky though since she didn’t know if it was true,or not. Before she even realized she was moving until she quickly kissed Farkle quickly on the lips. When she realized what she had done she quickly got up  trying to get as far away from Farkle as possible.

  While making her way too the stairs Riley spoke Loud, and erratically. “Oh wow look at the time!” She stared at her bare wrist acting as if she had a watch on it. “Sorry about that…I got to in to the story. I know you don’t feel the sa….” Riley nervously played with her hair as she stopped herself before continuing “I mean Thank you for the beautiful Story Farkle. I feel much better, and I hope you have a goodnight.” After that she sprinted down the stairs heading straight for her room . She couldn’t believe she had done that, and what if she loses Farkle now. Deep down she knew Farkle wouldn’t leave, but with how tight her nerves were, thinking straight was hard to do right now.

  As she soon as she made it to her room she went to the window knowing more then likely he was going to pop up. Right as she locked it  there was Farkle staring at her this look in his eyes that made her tilt her head at him as he started to speak “Riley let me in…Please?” Shaking her head then turning her gaze away from him “No Farkle Just go home.”

  “Come on Riley I just want to talk to you, Just give me a chance.” Even his voice made her want to give in to him. Just wanting to get him to go so she could get herself together before she had to hear him tell her he didn’t like her the same way.

  Whipping her head to face them as she crossed her arms against her chest “Just go home Farkle..I don’t want you here. I already know that you are going to say, and I don’t want to deal with it right now.” They both stared down each other neither of them making any attempts to move as they hashed it out for a minute.

“Oh you do,and what am I going to say Riley?”

“You are going to bring up what I did up there.”

“What that you KISSED me?”

“Yes exactly that Farkle! I already know how you feel about it.”

“How can you know how I feel about it?” At this point you could hear the growing irritation in his voice, but he stayed calm.

Riley started making her way to the window again as she started to mess with the curtain as she said the last thing “Because all we are only ever going to be friend’s since you love me, and Maya the same.” Now goodnight Farkle.” As she said that she let the curtain down as it covered up her window.


(A few second’s later we are now with Farkle)


When Riley closed the curtain on him Farkle sat down on the balcony for a second. His mind going around in circles, and he was slightly irritated Riley had just decided his feelings for him. Farkle had noticed he had loved Riley a few months ago, but it came with the revelation that Riley has always been the one for him.

He remembered Riley was still with Lucas, and Smackle had left him recently so he had pushed it all down deciding it was bad timing. He would rather have Riley in his life then not at all, but then the break up happened. First thing Farkle did was go talk to Lucas, and Maya who both approved even though Lucas thought it had came out of nowhere, but Maya just stated that she  figured it would happen one day.

With their approval he had planned to tell her tonight, but when he saw how sad she looked he assumed she was still trying to get over Lucas. Using his genius brain he figured he would at least tell her a story about two lovers conquering the world to be together. So in a way he told her without actually telling her so for a few months longer he could hold it in all over again.

Then the unexpected twist Riley kissed him, and even though it wasn’t that long it had made Farkle truly see how much he loved Riley. It was the kind of kiss that let Farkle know he could never be happier then he would be with her. Before he could react though she ran away from him though he had to admit she looked really cute all flustered. Now we are here, and Farkle was back out of his mind  when he decided that no time would be better then this. With a quick text to Auggie who he hoped was still awake he made his way up to Riley’s apartment.


(Auggie’s room)


 Auggie was just laying on his bed reading comic book when the cell phone his parent’s had got him for emergencies went off. Only a few people had that number so when he picked it up he wasn’t surprised to see it was Farkle. The message read “ Hey Aug’s it’s me Farkle. I really need to talk to your sister, but she locked her window. Please help me out it’s important?”  Without a second thought Auggie got up, and went to the front door when he heard the light knock. “Is that you Farkle?” He just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a stranger, or something.

 “Yeah, Aug’s it’s me.” The voice let him know it was  Farkle so he opened the door, and got a good look at his face. Right away he knew how important it truly was, and he was happy he got to help. “I know that face..Just be good to my sister okay. I’m trusting you.”

Watching him for a second Farkle thought about asking Auggie how he knew, but he didn’t have the time so he nodded sticking his pinky out to Auggie.“I pinky promise that I’ll be amazing to your sister.”  Auggie wrapped his pinky around Farkle’s then walked away satisfied leaving just Farkle in the living room. Who with a deep breath started to focus on the task at hand.


(Now we come back to Riley in her room)


    Grabbing her fitted sheet Riley started to fix her bed trying to do anything not to think about it. Though the sheet kept fighting with her every time she got one end on the other would pop up. She almost had it on again when it popped off again, and not knowing if it was the sheet, or what had just occurred, but she felt really frustrated. “I can’t even get this stupid blanket right! Why do I never do anything right..I can’t even get a guy to like me the right way…” Riley blew out a frustrated breath before turning around not expecting  who was at her door.


It felt as all the air had been sucked out of the room as her eye’s met Farkle’s. The way he stood there with his hands at his sides, and his eyebrows crinkled together while his eye’s seemed liked they were almost glowing from the little light still coming through the closed window into her room. She wanted to move, but it felt as if she was stuck there so she decided to talk instead. “I thought I told…”

 Mid-way through her thought Farkle came towards her making Riley’s voice get caught in her throat. The determination in his eyes made her lose all sense of what she was going to say, and when he was only inches from her she felt his hands go around her waist. It made her skin tingle as a shiver went down her spine, and when Farkle pulled her in tight that is when Riley lost all coherent thought.

 Within a split second after that Farkle’s lips were now on hers. It was as if time was standing still, and her heart was screaming finally at the feeling rising inside of her chest. That one kiss let her know something she kind of already knew. Farkle had her hooked, and she would follow him to the end of the universe as long as she was where he was. When Farkle pulled away she tried to catch her breath, but still couldn’t get a thought to make sense.

   “Can I talk now?” Farkle took his hand off her waist, and placed on her cheek as she nodded letting Farkle know he could go on. Making sure he had her full attention he squeezed her waist  making her squeak. He couldn’t help, But smile at that reaction. “So I would hope by now you know you were  very wrong, and I am in love with you. Why do you think I told you that story Riley…Actually why do you even think I learned about a story like that. It was for you Riley. You have my whole heart, and I think deep down I always knew that. Oh, and lastly I will love you the right way for the rest of our lives if you let me.”

   With a small laugh Riley felt like her whole face was on fire from how much she was blushing. “Are you asking me to be your girlfriend Farkle?” Trying to calm her heart enough so she could keep talking. With a smirk Farkle ran his thumb across her cheek “Well I’m not asking out myself toots! So please be my lady?”

 The memories of the one time Farkle tried to flirt with Missy just to help her reminded her even more of how he has just always been there. She would always want him there, and with a huge smile she cleared her throat with her big doe brown eyes lost in his “Yes I’ll be your lady Farkle! And I love you too maybe even more then you love me.”

 “You do not!” His heart was bursting from her answer, but that last part made him want to prove how he in fact loved her more. “Oh I don’t do I?” Riley slipped out his arm’s as she made her way to her bed.

 “Trust me it is mathematically impossible for you too love me more.” He got to the bed first as he pulled her down to cuddle a loud giggle came out of Riley as she laid her head on his chest. She felt Farkle’s arm wrap around her making her heart soar.  “And that is still my favorite sound so I win!” Riley decided to let him win for now, because she already knew she was the winner as she spent the rest of the night with her boyfriend talking about the stars, Pluto, and everything else in between.

anonymous asked:

MSR #12 and/or #63

And @inutilidadesbytamara who also asked for 12. And thank you 12/55 anon, I heart you too.

7.  I don’t hate you, I just strongly dislike you.
55. You’re so cute when you’re upset.
12. It’s pitch black in here and I can see you’re blushing
63. It’s only been two weeks.

Consider this a post-epish piece for En Ami


She had followed him blindly into all sorts of situations in their partnership with mostly unpleasant results.  They’d been shot at, detained by all sorts of military or government officials, threatened, chased, etc.  She always told herself it would be the last time, but it never was.  This is why she found herself slinking through the Air & Space Museum at midnight, trailing her partner through a moonlit atrium filled with planes, and no clue as to why they were there.

“What the hell are we doing here, Mulder?” she whispered.

“Shh,” he said.  “Almost there.”

“Almost where?”

“You’ll see.”

Mulder produced a key and opened up a door at the end of the hall.  He took Scully’s arm and guided her into a room that was so utterly dark, she instinctively made a grab for her left pocket for her flashlight.

“I got it,” he said, but he only turned his penlight on and shined it at the floor.  He held his hand out to her and she slipped her fingers into his and let him guide her down an incline and then through a row of seats.  They were apparently in some sort of auditorium.

Mulder stopped and indicated she should sit down in one of the chairs.  She pulled the seat down and as soon as she sat, the back reclined and tipped her down.

“Stay here,” he said.

“Mulder?”

“I’ll be right back.”  He disappeared, along with the light, and she wiggled in the chair, nervous and impatient.

A few minutes passed in darkness and in silence and her impatience turned into irritation.  Suddenly, pinpricks of light illuminated the ceiling and she found herself looking up at Orion.  The replicated night sky filled all points of her vision so that she felt like she was surrounded by stars.

“You like?” Mulder asked, appearing like magic and sliding down into the seat next to her.

“Do I even want to know how you managed this?” she asked.

“I have a friend that owes me a favor.  And when I told him I owed my partner a pretty significant apology, he gave me the key.”

Scully gave a soft snort as a reply.

“You can tell me,” he said.  “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you hate me?”

“I don’t hate you,” answered.  “I just strongly dislike you.”

Mulder sighed and they both turned their attention to the stars.

“Is that the little dipper?” he asked.

“Where are you looking?”

He pointed up and she followed the line of his hand up to the left.  “That’s Cassiopeia,” she said, putting her hand over his and moving it to the right and up a little further.  “That’s the little dipper.”

“Do you know the story of Cassiopeia?” he asked, turning his wrist and lacing his fingers with hers while bringing their hands down to his lap.

“Cassiopeia was an arrogant Queen who boasted that she and her daughter, Andromeda, were more beautiful than all of the sea nymphs.  Her claims offended Poseidon, who punished her by having her bound to her throne and cast into the heavens where she circles the celestial pole spending half her time upside down.”

Mulder rolled his head towards her and rubbed the outside of her thumb with his.  “You know I find Greek mythology quite a turn on.”

Scully tried to wiggle her hand free from Mulder’s grasp, but he held on.

“Let go,” she whispered.

“Not because you’re embarrassed.”

“I’m not embarrassed.”

“It’s pitch black in here and I can see you’re blushing.”

“Mulder, let go.”

Mulder relaxed his fingers and let the slide free from hers.  He crossed his arms over his chest and she crossed her wrists over her lap.

“It’s only been two weeks,” she said.

“It was two days and one night of not knowing if you were alive or dead,” he answered, voice slightly strained.  “And sixteen nights of cold sheets.  I’ve had to go back to sleeping on the couch because the bed is too empty without you.”

“That’s not my fault.”

“I’m not blaming you.  I’m blaming myself.  I should have trusted you, but you have no idea how scared I was.  If I lost you…Scully, if…if he’d hurt you, I…”

“Stop,” she said, turning slightly in her seat so she could put her hand on his chest.  “I know exactly how it feels, Mulder.  But, you weren’t thinking of me as your partner for those days, you were thinking of me as your lover.”

“So?”  He shook his head and stroked the back of her hand on his chest.  “I’m not going to compartmentalize you.  If, God forbid, something happens and you’re out of my reach, I can’t promise the thought of never holding you again isn’t going to cross my mind just as much as never arguing about case theories with you is.”

Scully turned her face back up to the constellations but left her hand under his.  “We said we wouldn’t let this affect our work.”

“And it hasn’t.  I thought that meant hands off from 9 to 5 and while we might be out of town on a case.  I agree with that and I’ve respected it.  But, again, if you hare off with the man who’s been the single greatest threat in all aspects of both of our lives, I am going to do everything in my power to find you, even if that means going to the ends of the earth.  Again.”

A tear slid out of the corner of Scully’s left eye and rolled down her temple.  She wanted to brush it away, but she didn’t want Mulder to know it was there.  The stars blurred from the sheen in her eyes and she clenched her jaw to steel herself against them.

“Scully?”  Mulder reached over and touched her chin, but she wouldn’t turn her head for him.  “I was angry with you for going with him willingly, but I was also angry for you because I know all too well what it feels like to be misled by him.”

“I should’ve been smarter than that,” she managed to eke out through a pinched voice.

“I’m sorry that neither of us are better at this.”  He carried her hand up to his mouth and spoke with his lips against her knuckles.  “We’d both rather go to separate corners and lick our wounds in private, but we don’t need to do that anymore.”

“Well, we’ve got to figure it out, Mulder, because I don’t want to fight with you anymore.”

“I don’t want to fight with you either.”  He touched her chin again and this time she turned her face towards him, but let her eyes flutter closed when she caught a glimpse of the love shining in his.

Mulder rested his hand on her neck and his thumb stroked her jaw as he touched his forehead to hers.  She sniffed quietly and swallowed and he reached up and brushed the dampness away from the apple of her cheek.

“You know,” he whispered, “you’re so cute when you’re upset.”

“Shut up, Mulder,” she murmured.

He touched his mouth to hers and she could feel his smile against her lips.  She kept her eyes closed for a few moments after he moved away and then she turned her head and blinked up into the Milky Way.  He stroked her arm from shoulder to elbow where it lay across his chest.

“I don’t want you to sleep on your couch tonight,” she said.

“I don’t either,” he answered.

The End

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Arcas was the son of Callisto, and was transformed by Jupiter into a bear. 

When he was 15, he was out hunting when he came across a bear, who was acting pretty strange by looking him in the eyes. Jupiter prevented him from shooting her, and transformed him into a bear too. They were placed together in the sky. 

Juno was annoyed that the pair should get such an honor, and convinced Poseidon to forbid them from bathing in the sea. It is for this reason that Ursa Major and Minor are both circumpolar constellations and never dip below the horizon when viewed from the north. 

URSA MINOR is better known as the little dipper. Polaris marks the end of the dipper’s handle and is located at the north celestial pole. 

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Sir Robert Ball. The Photograph of the Stars in their Diurual Motion Round the Pole, Path of the Moon’s Shadow and Penumbra upon the Surface of the Earth during the Total Eclipse of the Sun, Comparative Sizes of Earth Mars Mercury and the Moon, Rotation of the Poles, Mars and One of it’s Satellites, The Milky Way, Mars in 1877 (top to bottom). In The High Heavens. 1910.

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Biru Skull Wall,Nagqu

Location The skull wall is near the Duoduoka Charnel Ground in the western part of Biru County, 300 kilometers southeast Naqu in Tibet Autonomous Region. The name “Biru” originally meant the “horn of female Tibetan yak”, according to a local saga, a “tribe of female yak” once settled down here.

About celestial burial Legend has it that Zhigungba Renqenbai set up the Zhigungti Monastery in Maizhokunggar County in 1179, and worked hard to press ahead with perfecting the celestial burial (or sky burial) system to mark the legendary fact that Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism, cut off his flesh to feed a tiger. However, an analysis of what have been found from some ancient tombs in Tibet shows that the system began in the 7th century.

When a celestial burial ritual is held, aromatic plants are burnt for smoke to guide the soul to reach the Ground. The human body serves as a sacrificial object to the Goddess and other deities, who are requested to take the soul of the dead up to Heaven. As a matter of fact, smoke resulting from burning aromatic plants lures the hawks, “holy birds” in the eyes of the Tibetans.

The body is laid on a piece of stone slab measuring 60 cm high, which lies by a pond built with pebbles. The body, in a sitting stance, is sliced. Its bones fall prey to hawks first. The Master in charge of the ritual does so because hawks tend to shun bones. Introduction The skull wall is a result of Tibet’s unique celestial burial tradition. The Duoduoka Charnel Ground occupies an area of about 4,000 square meters.

Earthen walls roughly as tall as a man stand on the ground’s four sides. On the south and west walls, there are some wooden shelves, between four to five stories each, each shelf displaying some orderly-placed human skulls. There are two gates respectively on the west and south of the Duoduoka Charnel Ground’s courtyard. The west gate is for living human beings, while the one on the south is where the bodies are carried in.

The bungalow on the north is exclusively for the monks who carry out the religious celestial burial ceremonies, and inside the rooms are some religious scriptures and figures. Beneath the courtyard of the charnel ground is a cellar, whose floor and walls are built of stones, and which stores Buddha figures, the Tripitaka (the three major parts of Buddha’s teachings), and religious tools and sacrifices.

In the center of the Duoduoka Charnel Ground lies a celestial burial pool of about foursquare meters made of small cobbles. On the pool’s north stands a rectangular stone about 60 cm above the ground. The stone is used to hold the bodies in celestial burials. A pole more than ten meters tall with some prayer flags hung on top stands outside the charnel ground’s south gate. The winter here can be extremely cold, sometimes falling as low as 37-Celsius degrees below zero.

However, no matter how frozen the body is, following a night in the celestial burial pool, it will surely unfreeze the next day, thus ensuring a smooth celestial burial. Nobody yet can explain this phenomenon. This mystery has made the Duoduoka Charnel Ground even more famous, even attracting some people from neighboring counties to choose it for their own death.

Relative Legends According to Duoduoka’s celestial burial master, there were originally three monasteries where skulls were kept after celestial burials: the Duoduoka Monastery, the Ridazeng Monastery opposite the former and the Quedai Monastery nearby. Biru has gained its fame from containing all three monasteries. Unfortunately, most of the skulls have been damaged both by natural and manmade disasters.

By the early 1980s, most of skulls in the Ridazeng and Quedai monasteries have disappeared, despite a very supportive governmental policy in preserving religious relics. But why skulls are kept in the celestial burial of these three monasteries remains a mystery. There are currently many versions of this unique custom’s origin, but two possible answers are prevailing and more accepted.

One version says that the custom was formed some 80 years ago, when an eight-year-old boy from a Tibetan tribe witnessed the killings of three people. The little boy was so scared that he ran directly to the living Buddha in Biru County, who later appointed him as a celestial burial master. He began to pile up all the skulls of the dead in the corners of the charnel ground.

At his death, 42 years later he left behind a wall of skulls. It is said that he built the skull wall to prevent the killer he saw when he was eight from coming to the charnel ground. The other version retains that the custom is a rule established by a living Buddha, whose motives remain unknown.

According to Awangdanzeng, a celestial burial master, the main purpose of keeping the skulls and piling them up against a wall is to remind the living to do more good deeds and restrain from secular desires, because everybody, regardless of their living status, is the same after death.

Puzzling a Sky over Argentina : Can you find the comet? True, a careful eye can find thousands of stars, tens of constellations, four planets, three galaxies, and the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy all visible in the sky of this spectacular 180-degree panorama. Also, if you know what to look for, you can identify pervasive green airglow, an earthly cloud, the south celestial pole, and even a distant cluster of stars. But these are all easier to find than Comet 252P/LINEAR. The featured image, taken in el Leoncito National Park, Argentina in early April, also features the dome of the Jorge Sahade telescope on the hill on the far right. Have you found the comet yet? If so, good for you , but really the harder thing to find is Small Cloud of Magellan. via NASA

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anonymous asked:

to clexa stans thinking Polis=Polaris=True North, you need to read an astronomy book. True north=the north celestial pole, which is a degree off from the position of Polaris, meaning Polaris appears to circle around true north, but never actually lines up with it. Just like your ship.

(BURN)

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SKY & TELESCOPE OFFERS TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME TELESCOPE BUYERS

A telescope is a popular gift, especially so every December. It can be a portal to the universe and provide a lifetime of enjoyment. But there’s no one “perfect” telescope – just as there’s no such thing as a perfect car. Instead, choose a telescope based on your observing interests, lifestyle, and budget. And “buyer beware”: a telescope should not be bought on impulse.

“Don’t expect a lot from the majority of telescopes costing less than $200, and certainly be wary of anything sold in a toy shop or department store,” says Sean Walker, Equipment Editor of Sky & Telescope magazine. “Do some research before buying, and then go to a reputable store or online dealer that specializes in telescopes or related products, such as cameras or consumer electronics.”

Here’s expert advice from the editors of Sky & Telescope to help anyone searching for a first-ever telescope.

Telescope Types

Telescopes come in many shapes, sizes, and prices. Yet all of them fall into one of three general classes: refractors (those that collect light using lenses), reflectors (those with mirrors), and compound telescopes (hybrids of the two). Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but all share the same function: to gather light from a distant object and to form a sharp image that can be scrutinized by eye or camera.

* Refractors have a lens at the front of the tube – it’s the type most people are familiar with. While generally low maintenance, refractors quickly become expensive as the diameter of the main lens increases. In refractor lingo, an apochromat offers better optical quality (and is more expensive) than an achromat of the same size.

* Reflectors gather light using a precisely-shaped curved mirror at the rear of the main tube. For a given diameter, these are generally the least expensive type, but you’ll need to adjust the optical alignment periodically – especially if you bump it around a lot.

* Compound (or catadioptric) telescopes, which use a combination of lenses and mirrors, offer compact tubes and relatively light weight. Two popular designs are called Schmidt-Cassegrains and Maksutov-Cassegrains – look for these phrases in ads or on the telescope itself.

“Whatever design you choose, optical quality should be your top priority,” notes S&T Senior Editor Kelly Beatty. “It’s the key to seeing the night sky at its best.” Running a close second is a solid, steady mount with smooth, dependable motions.

If at all possible, try before you buy – visit a local astronomy club and look through members’ scopes to see which ones you like. If you purchase a unit online, make sure there is a good return policy. Avoid used-equipment offers unless you’re certain about what you’re buying.

What to Look For

Here are important characteristics to look for in any telescope, regardless of type:

Aperture
The aperture (diameter) of the primary lens or mirror in your telescope determines two things: light-gathering power and resolving power (the ability to see fine detail). The larger the aperture, the more light your scope collects and the fainter the objects you can see. With increased aperture also comes increased resolution – a larger-aperture telescope will reveal smaller features on the Moon and in distant nebulae and galaxies.

Focal Length and Magnification
The distance from the primary lens or mirror to the point where the image of a distant object comes into focus is called the focal length. The magnification, or power, of any telescope-eyepiece combination is easy to calculate: divide the focal length of the scope by that of the eyepiece. So a 25-mm eyepiece used with a refractor having a focal length of 900 mm gives 36 power (900 / 25 = 36), usually written as 36x. As a general rule, twice the aperture in millimeters (or 50 times the aperture in inches) is the maximum usable magnification. Beyond that, the image gets so faint and fuzzy that it seems forever out of focus.

Finder
Beginners are frequently surprised at how small a window on the sky their scope presents when used at medium to high power. So all telescopes – regardless of type or design – should be equipped with a high-quality finder, an observing aid that assists in locating celestial objects. Very common these days are “red-dot” finders, which use an LED to project a red dot or centering pattern on the search area but don’t magnify the view.

Mount Type
A telescope with the finest optics will be rendered useless without a suitable mount. A good mount (1) holds the instrument firmly with little vibration, (2) allows the tube to be pointed to any part of the heavens quickly and accurately, and (3) permits smooth and precise tracking of a celestial object as Earth’s rotation carries it from east to west across the sky. Two basic types of mounts accomplish these tasks: altazimuth and equatorial.

Alt-azimuth (“alt-az”) mounts, which move up-and-down and side-to-side, require simultaneous manual corrections for two axes to keep celestial objects in view. Unless you have a motor-driven altazimuth mount, for high-magnification visual observations – and especially for faint-object astrophotography – you’ll probably want an equatorial mount.

An equatorial mount also uses two axes, but one of them is aligned parallel to Earth’s axis of rotation by being pointed at the north celestial pole, near Polaris, when viewing from the Northern Hemisphere. Then, once a celestial object has been found, you only have to pivot the scope around its “polar” axis to keep the object in view.

Computerized Scopes
Many telescopes use a built-in computer to drive the mount’s motors. Once properly initialized, the computer takes over and can automatically aim the telescope at any desired object and track it as it moves across the sky. This is the essence of a “Go To” telescope. Depending on the sophistication of the system, you might need to enter your viewing location, date, and time at the beginning of an observing session. You might also need to point the scope at two or three bright stars or planets in order to synchronize the instrument’s coordinate system with that of the sky.

Go To scopes aren’t for everyone – the setup process might be confusing if you don’t know how to identify bright alignment stars in the sky. And lower-priced Go To models come with smaller-aperture telescopes than similarly priced, entry-level scopes that have no electronics.

TOP IMAGE….All telescopes gather and concentrate light, but the three basic optical designs — refractors, reflectors, and compound — do so in different ways, as revealed by these cutaway drawings.
Sky & Telescope / Gregg Dinderman & Brett Pawson

CENTRE IMAGE….Here are seven important qualities of a good-quality telescope: (1) eyepiece shows a sharp image from edge to edge; (2) smooth focuser with “precise” feel; (3) mount moves smoothly on both axes; (4) mount is sturdy and sta-ble; (5) tube stops shaking quickly after being touched; (6) eyepiece is at a comfortable height for viewing while you are seated; and (7) the finderscope is easy to adjust and look through. Sky & Telescope

LOWER IMAGE….Telescope mounts come in two basic types. An altazimuth mount (left) permits the scope to move up-down and left-right. It’s quick to set up and intuitive to use. An equatorial mount (right) tracks celestial objects by turning just one axis and can be more easily motorized — but to work properly it must be aligned with the North Star (Polaris). Sky & Telescope

BOTTOM IMAGE….When using a traditional finderscope (left), your eye must be very close to its back end, and seeing the crosshairs can be difficult in the dark. A “1-power” finder (right) use a red LED to create the illusion of a reference dot or pattern on the sky. It lets you view your target and the superimposed red dot or circle more comfortably. Sky & Telescope

“Stars appear to arc around the south celestial pole, over ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. A long exposure produces thephotographic effect. La Silla, based in the outskirts of Chile’s Atacama Desert at roughly 7900 feet (2400 m) above sea level, provides over 300 clear nights a year for observing.” (space.com) 

Warped Sky: Star Trails over Arches National Park

Image Credit & Copyright: Vincent Brady

Explanation: What’s happened to the sky? A time warp, of sorts, and a digital space warp too. The time warp occurs because this image captured in a single frame a two and a half hour exposure of the night sky. As a result, prominent star trails are visible. The space warp occurs because the picture is actually a full 360 degree panorama, horizontally compressed to fit your browser. As the Earth rotated, stars appeared to circle both the North Celestial Pole, on the left, and the South Celestial Pole, just below the horizon on the right. The above panorama over Arches National Park in Utah, USA, was captured two weeks ago during early morning hours. While the eye-catching texture of ancient layered sandstone covers the image foreground, twenty-meter tall Delicate Arch is visible on the far right, and the distant arch of our Milky Way Galaxy is visible near the image center.

Ghosts and Star Trails : Don’t be scared. Stars won’t fall from the sky and ghosts won’t really haunt your neighborhood tonight. But it looks like they might be doing just that in this eerie picture of an eccentric old abandoned house in moonlight. A treat for the eye the image is a trick of stacked multiple exposures, 60 frames exposed for 25 seconds each. While the digital frames were recorded with a camera fixed to a tripod stars traced concentric arcs about the north celestial pole, only a reflection of planet Earth’s rotation on its axis. Conveniently marked by bright star Polaris, the pole could be positioned above the peaks of the deserted dwelling. Wrapped in a blanket to stay warm, the photographer’s own movements during the exposures were blended into the ghostly apparitions. Of course, the grinning Jack-o-Lantern is there to wish you a safe and Happy Halloween! via NASA

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