Namorrodor

A story to make you think twice about shooting stars! This story comes from my wonderful friend Kiri, and tells of a terrifying Dreamtime beast.

This animation is part of my ongoing project Stargazers. If you have a story about stars that you would like to contribute, please get in touch!

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Travellers

A story about travelling to new places, new planets, and what gets left behind.

This story is part of the Stargazers project for which I am collecting stories about stars. If you have a story and you would like to get involved then get in touch!

Binary System

Stargazers is a collection of stories about stars. This is the first story that has been given to me in the form of a poem.

The story looks at the binary star system SS Cygni in the constellation Cygnus. SS Cygni consists of two stars orbiting each other; one large, cool red dwarf, and one small, hot white dwarf. As they orbit each other the denser white dwarf pulls matter from the red dwarf, absorbing it into it’s self. This kind of stellar relationship is called a cataclysmic variable system, a suitable name because they often end dramatically.

I met Christine in Berlin and we got talking about binary stars. Some stars orbit each other peacefully at a respectful distance, some get too close and collide. Some are unbalanced, with one star dominating the other, stealing its matter and leaving it drained. In many ways, these systems make effective analogies of romantic relationships. Christine put words to a situation that I think many of us have experienced, and I now have a new-found empathy for SS Cygni.

Navigating by stars

Thank you to John for this wonderful story about navigating at sea using the stars and a sextant.

Celestial navigation is an art and a science, that has been used by navigators since ancient times. Interestingly, it is still a skill that can come in handy at sea. If your GPS ever fails the stars are always there as a back up, just so long as you can catch a glimpse of them through the clouds!

This animation is part of the Stargazers project for which I am collecting stories about stars. If you have a story that you would like to share with me then please get in touch!

Shooting Stars

This story comes from Kristyn, an amazing force energy and enthusiasm whom I was lucky enough to meet in Berlin. The story is about the Leonids meteor shower, which occurs every year in mid November.

Meteor showers happen when Earth’s orbit crosses the path of a meteor. Meteors leave a trail of debris (bits of dust, ice and stone) behind them as they travel on their own orbits. When these bits of debris hit our atmosphere they burn up and we see them shoot through the night sky as falling stars.

When the Earth crosses the path of a meteor that has only recently passed by, there are more bits of debris floating around, and therefore, more shooting stars. These heavy meteor showers are called meteor storms. After doing a little research, we discovered that the meteor shower of Kristyn’s story was probably the Leonids meteor storm of 1998.

This story is part of the Stargazers project for which I am collecting stories about stars. If you have a story that you would like to share with me then please get in touch!

Music: Alaupas

Star Stuff

This is the first of a series of short animations for Stargazers. Each tells a story.

Together, the animations examine how we, as humans, understand, interpret and experience the universe around us.

Stargazers

Star Gazing

Claire Pendrigh, Stargazing (Perseid Meteor Shower), 2016, still from digital animation

We are all made from star stuff, so is it really that surprising that so many of us look to the night sky and feel some kind of connection?

Everyone has access to the night sky, it can not be owned, annexed or restricted to a select few. Anyone can be a stargazer.

The points of light we see in the night sky are the centre of a great many stories; stories of culture, navigation, exploration, science, history and understanding. They have been used to pass on legends, moral tales, cultural histories, navigational routes, and scientific theories. They are bestowed with personal significance for individuals and groups of people.

Gazing into the cosmos reminds us that our existence is small. We share this tiny planet, surrounded by the infinite expanse of our universe. But our stories are important. They locate us within this expanse, and present a framework by which we can analyse and understand this position.

Stargazers is a project in which I hope to collect many stories about stars, and use them to create short animated works. These stories may encompass a wide variety of contexts including scientific, cultural, navigational, personal, anecdotal and historical, but they will all pertain to a specific point of light (or constellation) in the night sky. Ultimately, the stories will be linked together by a navigable sky map.

I am currently on the look out for stories and narrators! If you would like to get involved then please contact me. I am interested to hear all types of stories about stars, astronomical bodies, constellations etc. If your story is a good fit for the project then I will ask you to narrate it for me and email me the audio. I will then make a painting and an animation for your story.

Star Stuff

Claire Pendrigh, Star Stuff (Omega Nebula), 2016, still from digital animation