We have had another stunning night & day in the heart of Otago Alps. We have certainly lucked into one of the most stable weather systems to reach us this spring. The very low humidity currently has meant that there have been very few clouds in the last 24 hours which tends to make photos of the landscapes here not quite so interesting so I have been focussing on a few other things until a few clouds return.
There was a forecast for a large meteor shower in the region of the constellation Gemini at around 2am this morning. I was prepared to photograph it but unfortunately that forecast didn’t come to pass. For me anyway.
The Geminid meteor shower sequence is an annual occurrence in mid December and can be seen from nearly everywhere on the planet and in space too no doubt.
Most meteor showers are the result of cometary debris, but the Geminids are linked to the unusual asteroid 3200 Phaethon – a rocky object with a comet-like orbit, which suggests it may have a cometary origin. We still have a small decaying (declining) moon which lightens up the sky and landscape tomorrow morning the moon rises at 2.14 am so our best chances of seeing the showers should they decide to enthral us will be prior to that.
Mercifully the many raucous Kea visitations are during daylight hours and they seem to be part of the furniture here. They are certainly not self conscious and seem quite happy to preen and tidy themselves seemingly oblivious to our presence.
The biodiversity and vibrance of the plant and insect life here is spectacular. Exquisite herb and cushion fields abound right up to the chalet. It seems that many of the plants are poised to commence flowering any day now having only recently emerged from a complete blanket of snow & sub zero temperatures for the last 6 months.
The geology here on the saddle is fascinating also. We have huge bands of folded schist which formed from submarine sediments at least 100 million years ago. We are right at the boundary between the Pacific and the Austro / Indian tectonic plates which have forced the layers up from the seabed to where we are now in the last 5 million years or so.
Internet curfew is fast approaching again so thats about it from me for today. We will finish with a couple of photos that Brook took yesterday on his smart phone.
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