Wow, it’s already been a month since I wrote anything here! I’ve been busy starting grad school, having completed my Biology Bachelor’s over the Summer. But I’ve still made time for my hobbies.
Over the Summer I successfully induced germination in a Belladonna seed, which are very recalcitrant. The plant is now about 2 feet tall and has 5 flowers in bloom, with more to come. They have a mild odor similar to almonds, although Atropa belladonna is in the Solanaceae family, whereas almonds are in the Rosaceae family. Belladonna is also called Deadly Nightshade because it produces a potent alkaloid called atropine, among other compounds. Even a small amount of any part of the plant is sufficient to kill an adult. I used to take a small dose to get to sleep. Supposedly it’s called Belladonna (“beautiful lady”) because women used to take very small amounts to dilate their pupils.
I used my dad’s telescope to photograph the moon, Jupiter, and its moons. With some patience, I was able to photograph directly through the eyepiece using my Canon EOS. It was really incredible to be able to look directly at Jupiter like that, and to see its moons. I look at NASA photos all the time, but even at much lower resolution, nothing compares to seeing it for myself. I can’t describe the feeling. I also just finished reading Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot, which was just as awesome as Cosmos. I highly recommend both books!
My dad also caught a chipmunk today in a Havahart cage. He was exploring our gym. My dad relocated him in the woods far behind our house. Apparently the cat had been toying with him, but he’s OK.