While I sync my twitter stream to this blog weekly, I haven’t actually posted here for a while, so I thought I’d just give an update on why my creative writing has seemed to staunch. A year ago, in October 2012, I was re-introduced to the local astronomy club, the Twin City Amateur Astronomers. I’d been a member as a young man, leaving the club for college in the mid-70’s. Computer programming, music, marriage, family, career, kids in college, and a whole host of other things kept my attention in the intervening years. In those years, the club continued and grew in its capabilities. I ran into a member I knew from those days, and he told me about the incredible equipment now available to club members and so I decided to check it out. When I saw the facility they had, with a very large telescope dedicated to astrophotography, I was instantly hooked. I rejoined the club and began to learn the art and science of making images of the heavens. I’ve loved every minute of it in the past year.
As a result of the time I’ve spent and the coaching I’ve received, I’ve become a decent astrophotographer. I certainly wouldn’t assert that I’m anywhere near proficient, but I’m moving in that direction. Astrophotography is an extremely technical discipline coupled with the creative art of making beautiful imagery. I love the juxtaposition of those two aspects. It challenges me intellectually, creatively, and gives me plenty of time to think. My average image requires several nights of imaging to acquire the data for the image, and most of that time is spent in solitude, looking at the sky and considering what it means to me. On one of those nights, I tried to write that down. The Comfort of the Astronomer is the short piece that resulted. I think it captures it all perfectly for me.
Here is one of my most recent images. It is of a galaxy, very close to us, 2.5 million light years distant. There is so much to discuss about the astrophysics present in the image, but to me, it’s simply beautiful. I hope you enjoy it. You can see all my images on my Astrobin page.