Jupiter Rising

Admin1 is reading Cold Kill by Rennie Airth. Admin2 is reading Death in Florence by Marco Vichi, another book set in the 1960s, this time featuring the catastrophic Florence flood.
We scored 12.5 on the Guardian Saturday Quiz which we had to do online because there were no newspapers in any of the shops yesterday. When the lights go out we’ll have beautiful views of the stars.

Lighten Our Darkness

A bright blue band low in the sky. Probably the last noctilucents of the season.
Meanwhile, earlier tonight Admin1 looked up at the sky and saw a glorious golden fireball trailing sparks. Make a wish, everybody.
Also on display, by a lucky coincidence, was the International Space Station. Try Heavens Above if you’re interested in spotting the ISS (also excellent for many other events of astronomical interest).
Admin2 is reading Have Mercy on Us All by Fred Vargas,an early Adamsberg book in which we meet many characters in the subsequent novels, and in which Paris is threatened by Vargas’ research subject, bubonic plague. Admin1 is reading, very appropriately, Masked Prey by John Sandford.

Crescent Sun

Today’s solar eclipse, partial from the UK and annular in parts of Canada/US. We were lucky with the weather — totally overcast at 9am but it cleared up somewhat in time for maximum eclipse at about 11am, giving us some atmospheric shots through the cloud cover, which then rolled in completely.
Admin1 is reading A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee, and Admin2 is reading, rather aptly, Black Sun by Owen Matthews; a KGB agent investigates a suspicious death in the run-up to the real-life biggest nuclear test ever.

Curiosity…

The Mars rover Curiosity looks curiously at its little baby, the drone Ingenuity, due to take its first flight on 10 or 11 April if all pre-flight checks go well.
The most recent weather report from Mars is from 29 March, with a daytime maximum of -20°C and night-time minimum of -73°C. Brrr! At least it’s sunny…
Meanwhile on Earth, last night was our coldest-ever April night at -2.1°C. Brrr again!

Here Comes the Moon

And the owls are hooting outside.
February has been averagely cold and the second least sunny, but today was in the Top Ten of our all-time warmest February days: 17.6 °C.
Admin1 is rereading The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter and Admin2 is rereading Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson which was laugh out loud funny and something like a Scarlett Thomas book with scatty students and useless lecturers and their uncompleted essays and partly written novels, and a protagonist with revelations about her parentage.
We scored 9 on the GWQ.

New Year Full Moon

The moon celebrating the end of this ghastly year with a corona. December was our third coldest and second cloudiest December ever, but 2020 was our second warmest and second sunniest year in the 10 years we’ve been counting.
Admin1 is reading The Secret Life of Mr Roos by Hakan Nesser — a lovely book, funny and mournful without being sentimental. Thanks, Admin2! Admin2 is reading The Dark Isle by Clare Carson.

Sight of the Night: Moon and Jupiter


Jupiter is the dot above and right of the gibbous moon and Saturn is on the other side, wiped out by the dazzling street lamp.
Admins 1 and 2 are suffering the after-effects of flu jabs, but we still managed to score 11 on the GWQ.
Admin1 is rereading The Sacred Art of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre.

Supermoon


This is actually a lovely big golden moon with a corona (erk) but photographs never do her justice. Today was the warmest day this year so far: 26.2 °C.
And here is the moon from a couple of days ago; on a stick:

Mercury Falling

Spot the dot (it’s between the two lamp-posts and about a third of the way from the top).

Here is the observation team at work.
The mercury is falling because Storm Ciara is coming.
Admin1 is reading Breathe by Dominick Donald, a superb crime novel set in smog-bound London in 1952; appropriately atmospheric, convincing and beautifully written.
Admin2 is reading Fallen Angel by Chris Brookmyre.

Starlight


The stars of Orion tracing out trails as the Earth turns. Betelgeuse on the top left was until a few weeks ago a brilliant orange star but it has recently become much dimmer (now about the same as Bellatrix, top right) and is expected to explode into a supernova at some point in the next 100,000 years.
In an unrelated event, today was our warmest January day ever recorded: 18.1°C.
Admin1 is reading Firefly by Henry Porter, an excellent but distressing thriller about refugees coming to Europe via Lesbos, an ongoing story. Admin2 is reading The Sand Men by Christopher Fowler, a story about expats building a massive high-end shopping complex in Dubai (we saw plenty of ads for this sort of thing on our Emirates flights) which did not need a background ancient conspiracy to be terrifying.

Transit of Mercury

People have been waiting for months for rain, and it arrived just when we wanted to see the sun, but luckily the clouds cleared  for a short time to show us the last transit until 2032. Mercury is the little black dot south of the centre. The white spot is an optical artefact.

Admin2 is reading The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood, which was tasty.