Wednesday Wow: Starry Night

Not from Flickr this week: back in June I blogged about Van Gogh’s lesser known Starry Night paintingStarry Night over the Rhone.

The APOD for September 21st is a high res pic of the painting, which is probably the best opportunity you’ll get online to examine some detail of the brushwork and layered paint techniques.

The night lights of a town are reflected in the waters of a river.  Above the town the sky is filled with brightly shining stars.

La nuit étoilée (Starry Night 1888) by Van Gogh - click to see in high resolution

All those stars reminded me – it’s nearly September equinox time (it’s becoming more common to no longer refer to vernal/autumnal equinoxes or summer/winter solstices because it gives the wrong impression that it’s the same season simultaneously around the world). The equinox falls on tomorrow, September 23rd at 1:09 pm Sydney time.

I also found a cool new astro tool – click on this Day-Night World Map and see what parts of our planet are currently illuminated by the Sun. There’s even handy-dandy settings to see what’s happening at various times of the year, and this is where the Sun will be illuminating the planet on the September equinox:

A flat map of the world with a shadow zone for twilight and night overlaid on the areas where the Sun is not shining at the designated time.  The positions of the Sun and Moon over the Earth are also shown.

The day and night parts of the Earth shown are as of Thursday, 23 September 2010 at 03:09:00 UTC. Local time for Sydney is Thursday, 23 September 2010 at 1:09:00 PM.

Have a happy Equinox tomorrow, folks.

Categories: arts & entertainment, Science

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2 replies

  1. Oh, that is so cool. Another procrastination tool for me! 😀
    I love equionoxes and solstices and the September equinox especially — I LOVE how quickly the days get longer at this time of year; it’s so invigorating.

    • There’s a great picture of the Sun at APOD for the equinox yesterday –

      To celebrate the equinox, consider this view of the Sun in extreme ultraviolet light from the Sun staring Solar Dynamics Observatory. Recorded yesterday, the false-color image shows emission from highly ionized iron atoms. Loops and arcs trace the glowing plasma suspended in magnetic fields above solar active regions.

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