The big annual event of the Holiday Season in Austin, the Trail of Lights, proved to be delightful again. I went on a rather warm December evening to enjoy the stroll through the installations at Zilker Park.

Many of the same displays were recognisable from 2022, including the giant jackelope, and the 12 days of Christmas.

Santa’s Toy Machine shown here, another holdover from last year, has the merit of being dynamic. While nearly all the displays are static, this one has many moving parts and as such grabs the attention more than most.

Since there was full Moon on Dec 26, it looked nearly full just before Christmas when I attended. Therefore I am showing one of the many figures from the fairy-tales and fables: the cow that jumped over the Moon!

Even though it was not cold, and rain-free, there was a steady demand for hot chocolate. And the delectable cookies on offer set just the right tone for a fun evening just south of downtown. I treated two visitors from Slovakia, and they were both quite impressed with the Trail of Lights. HEB is a major sponsor, and the individual displays are accompanied by signs that give the name of the company who sponsors each one. It’s a fine way for people to get a connexion with various businesses and organisations in Austin, who do so much to make this a brilliant experience every year.

By Dr. Cliff Cunningham

Dr. Cliff Cunningham is a planetary scientist, the acknowledged expert on the 19th century study of asteroids. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. He serves as Editor of the History & Cultural Astronomy book series published by Springer; and Associate Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage. Asteroid 4276 in space was named in his honour by the International Astronomical Union based in the recommendation of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Cunningham has written or edited 15 books. His PhD is in the History of Astronomy, and he also holds a BA in Classical Studies.