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Machinations of the Sun- Amateur Astronomy Art


17 November 2021

The sky is half of our world, but we keep our heads down and eyes to the ground. When we lift our eyes we encounter an infinite expanse filled with beauty and wonder that has been inspiring humanity since the beginning of time.
Amateur astronomy is a hobby that you can do with just your eyes and a few books from the library or articles from the internet. If you can invest a little more money or gather with other astronomers it is possible to make scientific discoveries with a home telescope.
This is a collection inspired by simple astronomical observations made with just my eyes.
In Pacific Sunset we greet the sun itself watching the the reflection and refraction of light creates optical illusions of multiple distorted suns as our nearest star dips below the horizon. The pink Belt of Venus appears and tints the water purple.
Solstice Calculations recalls a time when I lived in the mountains and watched the sun rise along the mountain peaks. I would mark the seasonal movement of the sunrise along the ridge line, through distant valleys and summits from winter solstice when the sun touched its most southerly point, to summer solstice.
That first bright star we see just after sunset is usually the planet Venus! One evening we might see it below the moon but the next evening it will be above the moon. In a few months it will become a morning star and rise before the sun as the planet swings in its own path around our star. Evening Star celebrates the movement of Venus through a darkening sky as it follows the sun to the horizon.
2020 was a spectacular year for astronomy, and the December 2020 convergence of Jupiter and Saturn was a real treat for us amateur astronomers. This card, Convergence of Jupiter and Saturn, celebrates and commemorates the exciting time when the two great giants of our solar system and their family of satellite moons were visible together in an ordinary backyard telescope.
Sunsets are sublime and I was inspired to depict another beautiful scene with Venus and the crescent moon in Sunset Salutations. This time I sampled colors directly from the photo I took of the sunset as the two heavenly bodies, almost too close to the sun, slipped from view.



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