Readers’ wildlife photos

Remember, landscapes and astronomical bodies count as “wildlife” here. Please send in your good photos.

Today we have both birds and the cosmos. First, some birds from reader Garry VanGelderen, sent on March 5. All IDs and notes are indented. I’d call this “Five Ways of Looking At a Blue Jay”:

Since about a week or so ago I have a new camera, a bit of an upgrade of the one before. I also have now a resident Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) and I have some reasonably good pictures:

The first one was taken early in the morning when it was -20°C and the bird was sitting in my feeder all puffed up to stay warm.

The next few pictures were taken today… a sunny day with the temperature hovering around +3°C (by the way perfect weather for the maple sap harvest which has now started in my area):

And the cosmos from Tim Anderson in Australia:

Attached is an image of a globular star cluster, NGC3201, which is located in the Vela constellation close to the Southern Cross. The cluster has a radial velocity of 490 kilometres per second, which is unusually large, but not high enough to escape the gravitational attraction of the Milky Way.

The image was made by combining 120 separate photos taken with a 100mm refracting telescope and a monochrome camera fitted with a set of LRGB filters.

No viruses were harmed in the creation of this astrophotograph.

10 Comments

  1. john Dentinger
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I have a peanut feeder at my second-floor computer room window–which I have literally just refilled. So far, I have seen cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers, chickadees (funny to see them grab peanuts which look as big as the birds’ bodies, and bluejays at the feeder. The jays are the only ones to manage two-fers, and I watched one try for a minute or so for a three-fer–sorry, Sammy–was not happenin’!

  2. rickflick
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    After moving West of the Rockies, I miss the Blue Jays (although they are slowly making there way out here). Thanks for these.

    • Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      But we have Steller jays. Almost as good.

  3. rickflick
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    “The cluster has a radial velocity of 490 kilometres per second”

    I assume this means the cluster is orbiting our galaxy. Do you know how far it is from the center of the Milky Way? The picture is probably complicated since the gravitational influence of our galaxy is not a point since the stars at a distance from the center are attracting any near object at some angle to the radius.

    Speaking of astronomy, Sean Carroll has a new web series called, The Biggest Ideas in the Universe. He explores the ideas (physics, astronomy, etc.) in an easily digestible way. Not too much detail, in an attempt to point out the significance of the Big Ideas. An intro and two episodes are already up.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRhV1rWIpm_pU19bBm_2RXw

    • Tim Anderson
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      My best guess is that NGC3201 is about 43,000 light years from the galactic centre. It is about 16,000 light years from us and we are about 27,000 light years from the galactic core. The line of sight to NGC3201 is approximately 180 degrees away from the line of sight to the centre of the Milky Way.

      Yes, it is orbiting the centre of the galaxy. So is everything in the Milky Way. The Sun has done the orbit about 20 times since the solar system formed.

      • rickflick
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Those numbers are all breathtaking!

  4. Posted April 1, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Great pictures! The first bluejay picture looks like some sort of alien pope.

  5. Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Very nice photos! I love bluejays! So pretty.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Those bluejays have some character- great shots. Lovely star cluster as well.

  7. Posted April 2, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous blue jay and cosmos shots!


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