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Let’s Look at Stars Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 in Geography, Nature

Liker du å se på stjerner? (Do you like watching stars?) Sommernettene er lyse i Norge, men snart begynner mørketida… (The summer nights are bright in Norway, but soon the dark time begins…) Here’s some star-spangled Norwegian for talking about stjernehimmelen (the starry sky). Use it with caution, though, so you don’t kill et romantisk øyeblikk (a romantic moment) with too many words. 🙂

Karlsvogna. (Image courtesy of Kevin Gill at Flickr, CC License.)

Even when sola (the sun) is up and busy, you can sometimes see månen (the moon) above the Norwegian fjell (mountains). Of course, your chances are better after solnedgang (sunset) – and before soloppgang (sunrise) – when there are not too many skyer (clouds).

Most often the måne is halv [hahll] (half), but sometimes you get the honour of staring into the face of fullmånen (the full moon). (Can you see månemannen – the man in the moon?)

Across den mørke himmelen (the dark sky), you’ll probably be able to see the famous pale ribbon that gave its name to a chocolate bar: the Milky Way, which is Melkeveien in Norwegian. And everywhere there are skinnende stjerner (shining stars). Wait, was that a stjerneskudd (shooting star)? Fort, ønsk deg noe! (Quick, make a wish!)

Do you know any stjernebilder (constellations – literally ”star images”)? Norge (Norway) is a Northern country, so even Norwegians who are not a lot into stars usually know Karlsvognen or Karlsvogna (the Big Dipper). Yes, of course, it’s those 7 stars that look like a nice saucepan. 🙂

I always thought Karlsvognen meant ”Karl’s wagon”. Recently, though, I discovered that it actually means ”the man’s wagon” – and it was called so by vikingene (the Vikings)! If you draw a line upwards from the outer edge of the ”saucepan”, you’ll soon hit the big, bright Nordstjernen (The Northern Star). Now, you can find your way north – which isn’t bad in a country whose name originally meant North Way!

Fun fact: Morgenstjernen (the morning star) and Kveldsstjernen (the evening star) are actually both planeten (the planet) Venus, which shines really bright in horisonten (the horizon).

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About the Author:Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


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