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Astronomy Day

Oct 9

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"Star light, star bright, 
First star I see tonight, 
I wish I may, I wish I might, 
Have this wish I wish tonight."

~ Traditional

For a hearty companion dish made for stargazing for the upcoming Draconids, Orionids, and Leonids meteor showers, why not make a Cornish Stargazy pie (starrey gazey pie) made of baked pilchards or sardines, eggs and potatoes, covered with a pastry crust, out of which poke the heads (and tails) gazing skyward.


There are two designated Astronomy Days in the year, the one in fall occurs on a Saturday between mid-September and mid-October so as to be on or close to the first quarter Moon.

The next six weeks will be wonderful star gazing nights for observing meteor showers ("shooting stars" or "falling stars"), with the Draconids, Orionids, and Leonids being coming into view over the months of October and November.

Some superstitions and traditions relating to shooting stars include:

* Not pointing at the shooting star - bad luck

* Making a wish on a falling star - good luck

* Seeing a falling star on your right, good luck, on the left misfortune (though you can try to quickly adjust)

* Reciting the "Star Light, Star Bright" poem for the first evening star you see

The Draconids can be best seen in early October the Northern Hemisphere from after sunset to midnight, when Draco is at its highest point in the sky. This shower is named after the constellation of Draco, the dragon, where they appear to originate from. The meteors are the debris left over by Comet 21/P Giaconi-Zinner, which orbits the Sun every 6.6 years. 

Next will be the Orionids, which come from the constellation of Orion, and can be seen from both hemispheres. They are actually already visible but will peak, like every year, on October 21-22. They are the fragments left over by Halley’s comet, which orbits around the Sun every 76 years.

The Orionids will still be visible until the first week of November, when sky-gazers' attention will turn to the Leonids. The peak of this meteor shower, named after the constellation Leo from where they emerge, usually around mid-November. The shower can be seen from both hemispheres.

If you want an armchair view, visit the Virtual Telescope Project for lots of astronomical viewing opportunities year round, including these meteor showers. 

And for a companion dish made for stargazing, try a Cornish Stargazy pie (sometimes called starrey gazey pie) made of baked pilchards or sardines, along with eggs and potatoes, and covered with a pastry crust.

Stargazy pie has the fish heads (and sometimes tails) protruding through the crust, so that they appear to be gazing skyward. This allows the oils released during cooking to flow back into the pie.  For an elevated recipe of this humble dish, click the ceramic Stargazy pie.


Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!


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