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A Novel Corona

12 September 202112:00PMtravelthe-drive-back

Here's a game of spot the difference for you.

Corona Australis

Corona Borealis

What we're looking at here is two crowns - two coronas, if you will, that we don't normally get to see hanging out together.

The first is Corona Australis, the southern crown, and the only one I've actually ever seen to date. In fact, it was the only one I knew existed - if you'd asked me if there was another Corona which made the "Australis" necessary, I'd have said "I guess so?" but I wouldn't have been able to tell you where it was or what it looked like.

The answer is... this.

That second picture is is Corona Borealis, the northern crown, and - given the way these things usually work, probably Corona Australis' namesake. It's usually only visible from the northern hemisphere, or close enough to the equator that it can peep its head above the horizon when the planet is tilted just the right way.

If you're a familiar with the southern night sky, it's a pretty in your face reminder that the Northern part of this state is a really, really long way north.

WA is big. I know, right?

Driving that kind of distance is real different, especially when you flew in to start with and even more so when you're driving home. It's like a reverse boiling frog. Everything is unfamiliar all at once, and then it slowly gets less and less and less different - only because you started out at the other end of the spectrum you notice every little change.

You get to watch the landscape change from tropical to desert to bushland. You can see the rocks go from pointy to flat to round. You can see the tides go from epic to merely big to something approaching normal, and feel the sunsets slow down as the angle of the sun changes. You can watch the demographics and infrastructure oscillate between grey nomad and high vis. You notice that there's different birds and bugs even if you're not really know what it is you're looking at.

Some of that's probably a gross simplification, or outright wrong, or missing the bleeding obvious, but hey. I'm not a geologist, or a biologist, or an anthropologist. I'm a guy who's spent a lot of time looking at the sky.

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