Natural world

Professor David Wilkinson speaks on scoence and religion at Lichfield Cathedral 24/9/2019

Professor David wilkimson from Durham University is worth listening to. A talented scientist and a committed Christian, his talk tonight was enjoyable and inciteful. Whether you believe in God or not, this talk was worth attending and if you ever get the chance to hear him speak then I would recommend you take it!

It was quite funny too!

Andy

Alexander’s dark band

Now here is a name for an effect that I have observed and been puzzled about!

Alexander’s dark band – – Alexander of Aphrodisias first described the effect with double rainbows in 200 AD and it now carries his name.
Light rays undergoing a single reflection in raindrops form the primary rainbow or brighten the sky inside it. Rays reflected twice are deviated to form the secondary bow or brighten the sky outside.

Raindrops along lines of sight between the two bows cannot send light to your eye and so the sky is darker there.

You can see the effect in this image I posted a year or so ago.

 

Read more at https://www.atoptics.co.uk/rainbows/adband.htm or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander%27s_band

Scottish atmospherics

Nothing much astronomical on our recent trip around around the North Coast 500 in Scotland.  (https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/tours/driving-road-trips/north-coast-500/) Fantastic, by the way. Totally lives up to its billing as “Scotland’s stunning answer to Route 66 – – – named one of the top coastal road trips in the world”)

However, lots of nice atmospherics – rainbows and crepescular rays. Here are a few of them.

The last one I couldn’t resist posting – Salmon leaping to get a better view of the sky at the Falls of Shin!

Butterflies in Lichfield

On Friday evening after RAG, members of the astronomy group were invited to walk down to the Moth Group’s moth-observing area further in the forestry centre. It’s fantastic when scientific groups can share information and experiences. They showed us many beautiful moths but they did not have any examples of this intimate pair which Damian, Ean Ean and I saw on Saturday evening on a walk in Lichfield (the day after RAG) – these two are Six Spotted Burnet moths and were visible in broad daylight – I had not known that was possible until the moth folks told us that some moths were active in the day, and indeed Six-Spotted Burnets are one such species.

Andy

The following information comes from https://butterfly-conservation.org/1034-1540/six-spot-burnet.html

Six-Spotted Burnet Moths. Scientific name: Zygaena filipendulae

June – August. All over Britain, mainly coastal in Scotland. Medium-sized black moth with six red, occasionally yellow, spots. Frequents flowery grassland, woodland rides and sandhills.

The only British burnet moth with six red spots on each forewing, although care must be taken with identification, as in some cases the outermost spots can be fused. Rarely the red colour is replaced by yellow.

Flies with a usually slow buzzing flight during sunshine and is attracted to a range of flowers including thistles, knapweeds and scabious.

Size and Family

  • Family – Burnets and Foresters (Zygaenids)
  • Medium Sized

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Particular Caterpillar Food Plants

Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil, but also occasionally on Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil.

Distribution

  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • The commonest and most widely distributed burnet moth in the UK. Well distributed in England, Wales and Ireland, becoming more coastal in Scotland and found on the Outer Hebrides. Also found on the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Habitat

Frequents flowery grasslands, including downland, cliff-edges, woodland rides, roadside verges and sand-dunes

Ophelia and Red Sky /Sun 16th October 2017

We were in Sunny Gloucestershire on the 16th when the skies and sun turned red, see first two images.

The state of the car after overnight rain suggested what the culprit was , see image 3, this was confirmed by a lecturer at Nottingham university, see image 4 and checkout this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-41654436

The actual air movement in the atmosphere had been tracked by NOAA, see image 5, the blue track at 2000m shows the movement over the Sahara and on towards UK courtesy of Ophelia( thanks to Stephen Burt of Reading Univ for this ) The final image shows Ophelia over Ireland and the trail of smoke from the fires in Portugal, which may or may not have also contributed to the gloomy atmosphere on Mon 16th.

Pete H