Saturday, September 12, 2009

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore....

So, if I ask , "What's your favorite real life space craft?" I think most people would answer Hubble. That's fine and up to a point I'd agree with them until I think of Cassini. Cassini has once again sent back the picture above and I think that it rivals anything Hubble has produced.

Why this adulation for a fuzzy, out of focus image? Well, how about this for an answer? That's a picture of the surface of world that has lakes, oceans, clouds and even rain. It's atmosphere is comprised mostly of Nitrogen, the same as ours here on Earth. Here's a world that may be rich in the chemicals that started life on our world. Where is this planet that's a twin of Earth you might ask? Well, first off, it's not really a planet but a moon of Saturn....Welcome to Titan!

We can't talk about Titan with out talking about it's temperature. It's cold! How cold? How about cold enough for ice to be a hard as the hardest rock on Earth. How about cold enough for Methane to rain from the clouds as liquid and forming rivers and lakes? That's cold! We don't know for sure what we're looking at in the image above but we can guess that we're seeing dark methane lakes and other landforms created by running liquid.

Wow, Cassini...just WOW.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years of Wonder

I have never known a world where man has been bound to the surface of the Earth. When I was born, 3 years had passed since Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin and American Astronaut Alan Shepard became the venture into what Carl Sagan once called, "The Cosmic Shoals" just beyond the atmosphere. In less than 9 years, our species would do what man has always dreamed of, set foot upon another world.

Three men who's names will be remembered for as long as man explores the universe where just the tip of iceberg. Thousands of men and women worked to fulfill the dream and on July 20, 1969 they were joined by billions on the Earth in watching a 38 year old human being emerge from a small spider-like machine and step upon the surface of the moon.
We spent only a little over 2 hours on that first "small step". We returned 6 more times and another 10 men joined Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin to become the only humans to have walked those small steps. Beautiful Desolation is how Buzz Aldrin described the lunar surface and now, 40 years later, our species is once again making more of those small steps.

Will we do it, will we return to the moon? I believe we will but it might not be as Americans or as Soviets or as Chinese. We will return to the moon and go beyond as one Humanity because the Cosmos are bigger than petty nationalism of one small planet.

So, the question isn't where were you 40 years ago? but where will you be 40 years from now when our species take another "Small Step"?

Monday, May 25, 2009

To our Service Personel, past and present....


If not for you and your sacrifices, people like me wouldn't be able to say the things we want to say, live where we want to live and think thoughts that are unencumbered by someone else's political ideologies.

So thank you again and not just today, but for every day that you and your fellows have given to our country.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tables, Fumes and Galaxies GALORE!

WOW! Has it been a while since I posted last. Sorry about that but time and the work of being unemployed has kept me away from the computer. My Lady, Amber, and I have about 90% of our stuff moved from our Bay Area mobile home to our new digs in Redding CA. Hopefully, we even have a buyer lined up for the mobile and we'll be up here permanetly in another few weeks.

In the meantime, we've been working on trying to get the new house tweeked for our comfort level and that has included the building of 3 custom computer tables. I have to admit, it's been a while since I pulled out my power tools but out they came and I'm pretty proud of the results. I'll post pics of them in place once they are dry and moved into place.

Nights have been spent either passed out in bed or sitting out in the back yard hunting galaxies in the Virgo Cluster or searching for Globular Clusters. I've gotten some good views of the Sombrero Galaxy and the Bee Hive Cluster as well as several others. I'm really looking forward to the Summer sky and trying my hand at capturing the Ring Nebula in my astrocam.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Still Alive?! far

We just finished moving the 2nd load of stuff from San Jose to Redding. The good news is this is the last load of telescope equipment to come up so I can now start to work on getting my "night eyes" working again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Well, Today's The Day!

Well, today is the last day on the current job and the start of the major packing for the move from the Bay Area and up to beautiful Shasta Lake area of Northern California.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Playing Footsie

As you probably have figured out by the name of this blog as well as my profile picture, I have a parrot. A female Green Wing Macaw to be exact.

I also have two cats Mal and Inarra (yes, I'm a Firefly fan...go figure).


Now Mal and Sunniva (the parrot) have gotten to be best friends. They will chase each other all over the house and play footsie with each other.

Needless to say, life is "interesting" in my house.