Sometimes I complain about the earthly weather, but mostly I like to post about astronomy and space events. Hope you enjoy the articles.
By: Susie77, 9:59 PM GMT on March 30, 2010
How I love these very rare warm days we sometimes get here in the Midwest, usually in early spring and in fall, where the temps are just lovely -- 70s to maybe low 80s -- but the humidity is low. You can work outside and sweat a lot, but you cool off fast. And my hair doesn't look like Rosanna-Rosanna-Danna. :)
By: Susie77, 12:09 AM GMT on March 25, 2010
I was a bit sad about moving away from the country last year, and in with my new husband, who lives in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. So much traffic, noise, mayhem, not much wildlife. But we gots to make the best of it. And he's the best husband ever. Gave me carte blanche to re-do the landscaping/yard. Isn't his thing.
I want a wildlife-friendly place, so am aiming towards that. For us, in the little 8x10 veggie garden, so far we have peas, cabbage, and lettuce.
What are you guys growing this year?
By: Susie77, 6:12 PM GMT on March 19, 2010
May your spring skies be clear!
Equinox Sky Show
March 19, 2010: When the sun sets on Saturday, March 20th, a special kind of night will fall across the Earth. It's an equal night.
Or as an astronomer would say, "it's an equinox." It's the date when the sun crosses the celestial equator heading north. Spring begins in one hemisphere, autumn in the other. The day and night are of approximately equal length.
To celebrate the occasion, Nature is providing a sky show.
It begins as soon as the sky grows dark. The Moon materializes first, a fat crescent hanging about a third of the way up the western sky. Wait until the twilight blue fades completely black and you will see that the Moon is not alone. The Pleiades are there as well.
The Moon and the Pleiades are having a close encounter of rare beauty. There's so little space between the two, the edge of the Moon will actually cover some of cluster's lesser stars. According to David Dunham of the International Occultation Timing Association, this is the best Moon-Pleiades meeting over the United States until the year 2023.
The Pleiades are a cluster of young stars some 440 light years from Earth. They formed from a collapsing cloud of interstellar gas about 100 million years ago. By the standards of astronomy, that's really young. The Earth under your feet is almost 50 times older. Dinosaurs were roaming our planet long before the Pleiades popped into being.
Only about seven of the Pleiades are visible to the unaided eye. The "Seven Sisters" are Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygete, Celaeno and Alcyone, named after daughters of the mythological Greek god Atlas. Together, they form the shape of a little dipper, which is why the Pleiades are often mistaken for the Little Dipper, an asterism of Ursa Minor.
Binoculars are highly recommended for this event.
First, scan the Moon. You'll see craters, mountains and lava seas. Note that you can see the entire Moon, not just the brightly-lit crescent. The Moon's dark terrain is illumined by a ghostly glow called "Earthshine." It is the light of our own blue planet shining down on the Moon.
Next, scan the sky around the Moon. The Pleiades come into sharp focus---and they are more than seven. Dozens of faint "sisters" can be seen through even modest optics.
This night doesn't sound equal. It sounds much better than that.
Experience the equinox!
By: Susie77, 4:21 PM GMT on March 17, 2010
In the hands of master carvers, ice blocks become ethereal works of art. A scene from Ice Alaska 2010, an annual international competition featuring talented artists from across the globe.
Images and live web cams from the contest maybe be found at: Ice Alaska
By: Susie77, 9:40 PM GMT on March 16, 2010
.... because they always end. :(
We had a wonderful time in Fairbanks. Nice and cold (-17 a couple of nights), hardly sweated at all, played in snow and some hot springs and tried x-country skiing (wherein I spent much time IN the snow rather than on top of it), snow-machining... you have GOT to try this! It's a blast! Saw some critters, and the aurora came out and let us take its pictures. On the way back to Fairbanks from Chena, saw this lovely lady crossing the road following her yearling calf...
Alaska is beautiful in the summer, and even more so in the winter.
Looks like spring came while we were frolicking in the cold. Sigh.... Eight more months till blessed winter comes back.
By: Susie77, 4:38 PM GMT on March 10, 2010
That is the difference between the high at home in St. Louis, and where we are now.... near Fairbanks AK. It's a lovely clear morning here, a crisp and refreshing -15F. Love it!
By: Susie77, 12:16 AM GMT on March 07, 2010
She's been slow to wake up, has Mother Earth, in this sun cycle here in the Midwest. According to the NWS, we've had a cooler than normal winter (December/January/February). But the Earth turns, the sun returns, and life wakes up again. Hope your next trip around our star is a good one!
Crocus by the front door, blooming for the first time today....
By: Susie77, 1:27 AM GMT on March 04, 2010
TREMBLING EARTH, WOBBLY STARS: In Chile, astronomers know the ground is still shaking. They can see it in the stars. Colin Legg reports from the Andes east of Santiago: "I made this 88-second exposure on Sunday night, Feb. 28th, less than 24 hours after the big 8.8-magnitude quake. It records the movement of the Earth in the star trails during an earth tremor."
Earthquake experts say the shaking will continue for months. Indeed, in the days after the "Big One", Chilean seismometers have recorded more than 10 aftershocks in the range 6th to 7th magnitude, and more than 200 aftershocks stronger than 4th magnitude. A tip for astrophotographers: Keep your exposure times short. The stars over Chile could be wobbling for some time to come.
By: Susie77, 9:23 PM GMT on March 02, 2010
EVENING STAR: After a long absence from the evening sky, Venus is emerging from the glare of sunset to resume her position as Evening Star. Sky watchers everywhere are making their first Venus sightings of the year--even astronauts. Soichi Noguchi sends this picture from the International Space Station (ISS):
The Japanese engineer and astronaut is doing a 4-month tour of duty on the ISS, and he is taking lots of pictures of Earth and sky. You can find them on his Twitter page. Venus is one of his favorite targets.
To see the same bright planet astronauts have been admiring, look west at sunset. Venus pops out of the twilight as soon as the sun dips below the horizon. Welcome back, Evening Star.