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Book of Days

BOOK OF DAYS: A POET AND NATURALIST TRIES TO FIND POETRY IN EVERY DAY

Filtering by Tag: Taurus

February 1: Red stars

Kristen Lindquist

Last night as I walked to the corner market, the night sky was crystal clear, and I could actually stop and enjoy the spectacle of stars without instantly freezing solid. Directly overhead, the planet Jupiter shone bright, poised above Aldebaran, a red giant star in the V-shaped constellation Taurus. Below Aldebaran, the red giant Betelgeuse hung on the right shoulder (our left) of the constellation Orion the Hunter. Amazing to think that the largest planet in our solar system (which is also red), and these two red giants flaming thousands of times larger than our own little yellow sun, are just tiny pinpricks from our vantage point here on Earth. We comprehend so little of what's around us in the universe.

Starry winter sky.
I made a big red wish
on Aldebaran.

December 12: Night sky

Kristen Lindquist

In the backyard tonight braving the cold for a few minutes in hope of seeing some of the Geminid meteor shower. Clear sky on a new moon night, perfect for star-gazing. This pattern of constellations is the same one I first learned as a child studying the stars with a well-thumbed Golden Book--for me, the night sky's most familiar face. Over the roof peak poise the two stars of Gemini, Castor and Pollux; Orion climbs the sky beyond my neighbor's garden; Auriga, the Charioteer, pauses high over Mount Battie; the V of Taurus the Bull sits just below the blurred cluster of the Pleiades. And almost inside that V, bright Jupiter.

With binoculars, I can see three of Jupiter's four Galilean moons--the largest and brightest satellites of our largest planet--as well as the true redness of Aldebaran, the alpha star of Taurus. I don't expect to last long enough to see an actual meteor. But as I shiver and the cloud of my breath rises to the heavens, a quick falling star flashes behind a net of birch branches. I say "Thank you!" to the sky before rushing back into the warm house.

No need to make a wish.
This sky, these stars--
all I want right now.