Celestial Dragon photo by Tehanu Tapola


This is a two hour exposure of roughly half of the Cygnus constellation. I took this image already in 2007 and loved it because it has a huge dragon in it. I wish I could see it with my own eyes in the sky!

Only this year I realized that it is actually a picture of Tehanu. The Other Wind says on page 230 (in the British Orion hardcover version of the book): “The great stars of late summer shone above the clearing: highest of them the star called Tehanu, the Swan’s Heart, the linchpin of the sky.” Naturally I realize that Earthsea is not our world and it probably has different constellations. Yet, remembering this photo, I went to look for which star would be located at the heart of the heavenly Swan, i.e. Cygnus. I found it to be Sadr, which is the bright star at the bottom of the dragon! So here’s the heavenly dragon, Tehanu — from our own sky!

Tehanu Tapola


The dragon is at the top center of the photo, facing left; head, eyes, and “horns” quite clear, reaching claws and wings less so, body trailing down into the star and cloud mass to the right.

The star Sadr is the bright star just right of center of the photo. Either Sadr or Vega (not in this picture) could be “the Heart of the Swan,” the great constellation that flies across the Milky Way at the top of the sky on summer nights in Finland, and England, and Oregon, and Earthsea.

My thanks to you, Tehanu, for letting us see all this marvelous creature in the sky!



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Updated Tuesday, 18-Jun-2019 10:14:15 EDT