Winter marches on.

4°C, grey,
Drawing on: snow forecast for tomorrow, winter is stubborn this year. Yes, we have been spoilt by a string of early springs. Nearly Easter, but the magnolia is nowhere near in bloom.
Temperatures have topped 4°C over this last few weeks. At least I can ride to work, the ice is relatively minor.

Heavy Snow says the Met office. Winds will average 15 mph, so some drifting likely.

Cherry bird cage.

4°C, grey, NE.
What is this? There is a clump of thin branches in this cherry tree. It’s like a deformation, an odd lamp-shade shape. They have been like this for years, but most of the time, hidden by foliage. In mid-winter view, it’s too dark to see the clump.
On my morning dog-walk, I look up and speculate on it’s cause. Has some parasitic life form triggered a reaction in the growing tree. Could it be a fungus, an insect or a virus?


How many…

4°C, clearing. Light wind.
How many comets have you seen today? I have only seen one.
As if to repeat yesterday, I walked up to the Gazebo immediately at sunset to hunt with binoculars again.
It took, maybe twenty minutes before I found it, or the light fading revealed the comet at that time. Maybe both.
Remember that I was on a viewpoint above the city, but the comet was small. Very small. In fact, I could not see it without binoculars. Still, the thrill was strong. It has been about 12 years since last I saw a comet. That time it was Hale-Bopp, a much bigger, brighter phenomenon.
Some articles is the media have suggested that 2013 could be the year of comets. I’m looking.

Comet hunt.

-2° ~ +4°C, strong NE.
It was 12 years since Hale-Bopp and Halley’s was hidden by cloud.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 36th week, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rushed home to get out to a good viewpoint tonight. Comet Pann-starr is grazing the sun today and should show a decent tail for the next few days. Awkwardly, it is very low on the horizon just after sunset. That means there is short time between pale twilight sky and and the object setting.
I knew where to look, I had binoculars, but there was still a problem.
A narrow bank of cloud lay over Cannock Chase. I knew where it was, and there were a few gaps in the cloud but not where I wanted one.