Orchid | Finally in Bloom

After months of waiting, our orchid is finally in bloom. It was a gift from a young woman who stayed with us while she worked in a local political campaign office. It was in bloom at the time. Soon after she left, the blooms dropped off and left a bare stalk. It looked so sad. I cut the stalk and cared for the plant as best I could. I never had an orchid before. It seems to be Phalaenopsis.

A few months ago, it sent up a new flower stalk. Buds appeared and slowly grew larger. A few days ago, this beautiful flower opened. Another opened today. I hope it brightens your day.

Occultation | Aldebaran Hidden Again

Once more, the Moon occulted the bright star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus. Previous three posts are found here describing earlier occultations. I stepped out early to see if the sky was clear and got this image at 9:24 pm CST. My phone said the occultation occurred a few seconds past 9:52.

28 min prior to the 9:52 occultation

28 min prior to the 9:52 occultation

Aldebaran disappeared from view about 6 seconds into the video. I looked again at 10:33 pm and saw it had reemerged into view at the upper right of the Moon.


Earlier in the evening at 6:38 pm, I captured this slim crescent of Venus. It will quickly descend toward the Sun during the next two weeks and show a thinner crescent. On about 25 March, it will be aligned with the Sun and not in view. Early in April, it will emerge as a thin crescent before dawn.


Analemma On My Wall

A prism of high quality glass sits in a south window above our mantle. It is part of a surplus optical instrument from WW-II. The window crank gives a sense of its 2″x1″x1″ size.


When the Sun is low in the sky during late fall and winter, light through the prism casts a large full spectrum on the wall on the opposite side of the house. This is a closeup of the spectrum. It is always a delight to see the colors move slowly across the wall during the middle part of a sunny day.


Show me more…

Seven New Planets | Trappist-1

So many stories today about the new Earth-like planets found around a Jupiter sized star. It is hard to keep up and make sense of the new information. This NASA news conference explains the importance and why scientists are so excited.


I will be away from the computer this evening. Comments are welcome but my responses will be delayed.

Venus | A Narrowing Crescent

Viewed from Earth, the crescent of Venus narrows each day as it orbits the Sun. On 25 March 2017, it will be aligned almost directly between Earth and the Sun. In the weeks following, Venus will appear as a morning object and a thin crescent. Go here to see a 3D tool showing the orbital positions of the inner planets today. Notice the Date and Date Slider controls where you can change the date and see the planets move.


Venus 15 February 2017


Date Time Digitized: Feb 15, 2017, 6:05:33 PM CST
Exposure Time: 1/500 s
Photographic Sensitivity (ISO): 100


Buzz | Noise | Stir | Tension

Thank you to those who visit regularly, comment, engage in friendly discussions, or write interesting posts. I look forward to those interactions. You provide insights into things new and different. You reinforce the feelings of community much needed by all of us.

I am part of the Facebook world. It helps keep our large extended family in touch. My friends list is not long by choice. Over the recent years, my family had our share of disagreements and squabbles which are normal for any family. We set some ground rules of behavior. Most of the time we share and behave ourselves.

I have a Twitter account. Weeks can go by between tweets or checking in to see what’s up. I follow several people in science and astronomy. Their tweets during special events are often the most up to date and accurate.

The Facebook and Twitter worlds have changed a lot lately. With the November election, I noticed trends of increased activity on both sites. It increased more with the Inauguration in January. Now the stir, buzz, and noise going on in those social media sites is remarkable. Nearly all of the turmoil is connected to politics. I’m surprised by the sheer volume and intensity. People are saying and sharing some amazing things. I go there less often and spend less time looking. I don’t need that tension and stress.


I am happy to say I have not seen the same trend in my WordPress community. It is likely happening somewhere. But, the people I know seem to be maintaining this venue as before. You still write about the things you find interesting and important to you. You still comment thoughtfully about what others have written. You still stop in, if only briefly, to leave a Like. Thank you.

This post is not meant to stir up discussion and argument about politics or personalities. If you feel the need, please refrain and go elsewhere. Instead, it is my way of saying how much I appreciate having exchanges about many other things that are also important in our lives.

That’s how I see it.

Peace … Jim