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A weekly newsletter about stars, humans and art,
from Akira G. Sternberg.


In the midwinter
to keep me warm I kindle
a spark of madness
Akira G. Sternberg

Sunday, 26 January 2019

Dear friend,

I am happy to present you with the first letter in THE MORNING SPECTATOR series.

I hope you will find it interesting and no less beneficial.

Looking forward to your feedback.

Yours sincerely,

The old oak
happily suffers
young squirrels
Akira G. Sternberg


United States Space Force.

As announced by president D. Trump yesterday, the United States Space Force (USSF) has a new logo.

The logo bears an uncanny resemblance to the Starfleet Command from the Star Trek fictional universe – which is not a bad thing. Read more about the USSF.

Starfleet Command VS USSF logos
This clear winter night
your slender hand on the air
pointing to the stars
Akira G. Sternberg


Betelgeuse about to go nova?

Betelgeuse is the second brightest star in the Orion constellation, and one of the most bright stars in the night sky, at least it used to be. Used from time immemorial by sailors as a navigation guide, Betelgeuse has been reported to be acting rather strangely lately.

By January 2020, Betelgeuse had dimmed by a factor of approximately 2.5 from magnitude 0.5 to 1.5 [1], reaching its faintest level in more than a century, ensuing much popular speculation about the possibility of an imminent supernova explosion, although astronomers have noted that the supernova explosion is expected to occur within approximately the next 100,000 years and is thus unlikely to be imminent.

Now Betelgeuse has dropped from one of the top 10 brightest stars in the sky to outside the top 20, noticeably dimmer than its near neighbour Aldebaran.

These fluctuation in brightness are typical for Betelgeuse, but the scope of the dimming is quite narrow even for its standards.

Orion, Betelgeuse and Sirius

Orion constellation and Sirius, the ‘dog star.’

[1] In astronomy, the magnitude scale is reverse logarithmic, so the brighter an object is, the lower its magnitude. Some examples: Sun -26.74, full Moon -12.90, planet Venus aprx. -4.14, Sirius -1.47, planet Mars +0.71.

Further reading: Betelgeuse, the eventual supernova, Wikipedia Betelgeuse article.

United States Space Force.

As described in the United States Space Force Act, it will be organized, trained, and equipped to:

  • Provide freedom of operation for the United States in, from, and to space
  • Provide prompt and sustained space operations

Its duties include to:

  • Protect the interests of the United States in space
  • Deter aggression in, from, and to space
  • Conduct space operations

We, who are looking forward to seeing a stardestroyer blocking the sun above our cities, even if that is the last thing we may ever see, will be watching the USSF progress with great interest.

Star Destroyer above the road

Further reading: USSF website, Wikipedia USSF article.

My long futile wish:
if only a photo could
capture your beauty
Akira G. Sternberg


When I was at the fifth or sixth grade of the secondary school, I’ve learned that there are other religions apart from christianity. This discovery shocked me in the core and in retrospect made me into what I am today regarding the religious phenomena.

Up to that time, I knew only of the christian god in whom I believed in and whom I worshipped – of course in a childish but nevertheless sincere manner. The delicate implications of the doctrine of the holy trinity were not a concern back then; and neither are a concern now.

I knew all about the greek gods, but in my naive mind I somehow didn’t consider them as ‘gods.’ And now that I am thinking about it I cannot answer the question “and what did you think they were?”

Greek pantheon: Gods on Mount Olympus

Zeus, Hades, Poseidon and the rest of the Pantheon and the heroes of Ancient Greece were a great source of fascination, inspiration and personal cultivation and development, but not religion.

During a lesson of history, then, I was informed that there is another ‘monotheistic’ religion: Islam; that a man has founded that religion, during a specific time in history, in a specific region of Earth; that this religion was created out of nothing (let’s not complicate things).

When I founded a religion – a personal story.

The same day, when I returned home, I made a decision…

Seen from the stars
Earth and Moon are dancing
a gentle waltz
Akira G. Sternberg


Three paintings in a dark mood, from three different painters of three different periods and schools, but of the same high artistic quality.

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818):

Wanderer above a sea of fog
Oil on canvas by Caspar David Friedrich (5 September 1774 – 7 May 1840).

One of the most iconic paintings ever, typical of the german romanticism. A powerful image of struggle, a glorification of self-reliance, and celebration of human resilience.

Fallen Angel (1847):

Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel
Oil on canvas by Alexandre Cabanel (28 September 1823 – 23 January 1889).

Lucifer, the first angel, the bringer of dawn, after his defeat and fall, swelling with anger and vengeance, so much so that tears drop from his eyes.

Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast (1870):

Albert Bierstadt - Puget Sound
Oil on canvas, by Albert Bierstadt (7 January 1830 – 18 February 1902).

A dramatic and awe-inspiring scenery of overbearing scale, painted in dark but powerful colours.

This cold morning
upon crystallised grass
sun rays sparkle
Akira G. Sternberg

Did you enjoy the haiku in this issue? I observe the one-haiku-per-day discipline, so you’ll be getting seven haiku with every newsletter.

I’ve also penned a haiku collection: “The Stargazing Frog: A poetry collection of 366 original haiku about nature, humans and stars,” which you can find in Amazon.

The Stargazing Frog cover

One last haiku, before you go:

Silent morning —
no human to disturb
birds’ merry tweets
Akira G. Sternberg

I’ll be happy to keep in touch and I am eagerly waiting for your comments:


Until next time…

May the Force smile favourably upon you.

…| akira.setimprint.com |…

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