Not a goat kid; not a lamb.
Literally, a star – the Lovespoon Star.
Tony decided that during his enforced absences on Flying Training with his new employer, that I’ve been through such a tough time recently I needed something to cheer me up; & subsequently presented me with the wonderful gift of a carefully-chosen star, named in honour of Lovespoon.
In the Northern Hemisphere constellation of Draco (which winds around the well-known Ursa Minor – the Plough, for those of you less familiar with the night sky) it is a Tycho 2 Catalogue Star, designation TYC 3879-691-1, magnitude 9.15 & is located at the ‘celestial address’ of 16h 49m 22.1811s Right Ascension; +53d 26m 21.552s Declination (Epoch 2000). There is even a meteor shower (Eta Draconids) during the time for which the Lovespoon Star is celebrated (6th April – the date the Company was formed) – our very own celestial firework display!
This all came about because throughout our lives together we’ve been forced to spend so much time apart, that we invariably comfort one another during those long, lonely hours of absence by saying, “Look to our star”….& we’d make a wish; knowing one day luck would be with us.
Ironically we always used to imagine that said star sparkled in the midnight sky right above our home – & now it literally does! It’s in the constellation Draco, the Dragon; which is of course the mythical creature proudly displayed on the Welsh flag…..what more fitting place for the Lovespoon Star? Draco is an extensive constellation covering an area of some 1,083 square degrees. It’s the eighth largest constellation & is highest in the night sky at 10pm, from March to September. It is home to the beautiful Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543), which can be seen as a bluish disc when viewed through a small telescope.
Tonight I wrapped up warmly & surveyed the heavens. Astronomy has always been a subject of immense fascination for me; & whilst I am no scientist I was thrilled to be able to study it to exam level, at school. Many’s the evening I’ve gazed in awe at the magnificence of a meteor shower (& one one occasion with my Mum, laughed endlessy; as all we saw during several freezing hours were a couple of ‘damp squibs’ – “Just like the annual school firework display!” we chortled). Or I’ve been transfixed by the luminescent beauty of the tranquil full moon; or gaped heavenwards at the bejewelled smudge of the Milky Way’s twisting river of blue fire, glittering to rival the diamonds which frost every blade of grass on a raw winter’s night.
There can be few better places in the UK for stargazing, than our little Ffarm. There is no light pollution; & as we cannot even see another building from here, not even so much as the twinkle of a window’s light to disturb us. So I sat on our creaky old bench armed with a hot cup of tea, a red-shaded torch, binoculars & my star charts; & gazed contemplatively upwards, absorbed by the peaceful beauty of the nocturnal vista.
The stars seemed endless; the sky, strewn with a billion orbs of multicoloured fire; all of whose light has taken countless aeons to reach us. Incredible. Finding the Pole Star (the fixed point around which all the other stars appear to rotate) I traced my way to Ursa Minor (the Plough) & followed the familiar constellation’s ‘handle’ to its’ crowning rectangle of four bright stars; then drew an imaginary line from the furthest forward until I picked up Edasich, a multiple star in the line of Draco’s tail. It was then simply a question of following the twist of the Dragon’s ‘body’, up to the group of four stars which form a lozenge depicting the shape of the dragon’s head; & then a little further along the line of the ‘beak’ to a point between the double star Mu (μ) Draconis & double stars 16 & 17 Draconis, which is where the Lovespoon Star is located.
As it is located so close to the Pole Star, it is visible for the entire year. In fact one of Draco’s stars – Thuban – was itself the Northern Hemisphere’s Pole Star in 2700BC, during the time that the Ancient Egyptians built the Pyramids (& will be again, in circa AD 21000 – I can’t wait). There are two shafts leading outward from the main chamber inside the Great Pyramid which when originally discovered by archaeologists, were assumed to be air shafts. However it has recently been realised that the shafts actually point to specific celestial objects. At the time they were created one shaft pointed precisely at where Thuban would have been in the midnight sky; & the point around which all the other stars appeared to rotate. The stars closest to the Pole never set; & the ancient Egyptians decribed these as ‘undying’. Pharaoh Khufu expected that when he died he would join with Thuban to maintain order in the celestial realm, just as he had on earth. Incidentally he also expected to be joined with the great God Osiris – familiar to us now in the night sky as the constellation Orion – towards which the other shaft pointed.
Indulging in one of my other great passions – Eygyptology – I have had the privilege not only to visit the Pyramids but also to explore inside the Great Pyramid itself . I must say it surpassed all expectation: utterly awe-inspiring, not to mention positively vibrating with energy & mystery. But these tiny, accurate apertures, buried deep within those massive blocks of stone: well, what an incredible feat of engineering….
So, look to our Star, Cariad….shining brightly over us, wherever we might rest our weary heads tonight.