Right Place | Right Time

Sometimes things work out just right. The Sun was high about 2pm in very clear blue sky. The Space Station passed over me and did a very brief transit of the Sun lasting only 0.63 sec. I drove 2 miles and put myself as close to the centerline as possible. The path of visibility was only about 3 miles wide. I needed to be in the right place at the right time. The video is slowed to 10% normal speed so you don’t blink and miss the transit.

Frame grab of the ISS in transit. Solar panels easily visible.

Of course, it is easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or the wrong place at the right time. One of my favorite performers, Dr. John, captured the situation of being in the right place at the wrong time. Enjoy.

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Ice Ring Halo

I stepped outside and looked up toward the sun. An arc of faint color caught my attention. It was actually a full circle of color around the sun. These halos are 22˚ in radius from the sun caused by refraction of light through ice crystals of the high cirrus clouds between me and the sun. The color saturation has been enhanced a little to show the redness of the inner edge and blueness of the outer edge due to their different wavelengths of light.

I went out several minutes later. The cirrus clouds were gone, as was the halo. It was my lucky day.

Cast a Long Shadow

Previously, I shared a post about a conversation with my son about the rising sun viewed at different latitudes. During that conversation, we also discussed how the length of our shadow varied over the course of a year. In winter at noon in the northern hemisphere, when the sun is low in the sky, our shadows are cast long to the north. In summer, our shadows are shorter due to the higher angle of the sun in the sky.

Imagine a plane extending through the earth at the equator. Extend that equatorial plane out into space. Between late March and late September, the sun appears above that plane. It reaches its highest extent in late June at the summer solstice. The sun appears at the elevation of the plane on the equinoxes in late March and late September. It appears at its farthest extent below the equatorial plane in late December at the winter solstice. The farthest north and south of the equatorial plane reached by the sun is 23.5˚.

Normal Shadows

Melanie and I live about 42˚ north of the equator. In the summer months, the sunlight direction is above the equatorial plane several degrees. Our short shadows are cast to the north at noon. In the winter months, the sunlight direction is below the equatorial plane. Our shadows are cast longer to the north. The blue man in this figure is not to scale, but illustrates the concept of casting of shadows.

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Noon @ Ollantaytambo

We climbed the 245 steps to the top of the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo in Peru and reached the Temple del Sol. It was noon with the sun high overhead. Someone looked up and noticed an ice ring encircling the sun. I had to capture this photo.

I grew up and continue to live at about 40-42˚ north latitude in the center of the U.S. The sun has never been directly overhead. But now, at noon about 13˚ south latitude, the sun was nearly straight up. I looked down to my feet and saw something I’d never seen before. My shadow was directly below me. That was fun to see.

ISS Transits Sun | 20180825

I enjoy trying to capture passes of the Space Station over my location. Sometimes it passes in front of the Sun. That happened today at 2:20:30 local time. Here is how the Sun looked before passage. Notice the two sunspots at the right. It is in a period of quiet sunspot activity now.

There are two videos of the transit of the ISS. This first one is in real time. At about the 4 second mark, it crosses across the lower left part of the Sun. Don’t blink or you will miss it. The second video is slowed to 10% real time. The actual speed of ISS is about 5 mi/sec (8 km/sec).

It will help to adjust the quality to 1090 or 720 using the gear icon down by the YouTube label.

Astronomy Symbols | Denim Jacket

Melanie showed me an image in an arts and crafts book where Henri Matisse style cutouts were put on the back of a denim jacket. I immediately thought that would look good on my old jacket. Instead of Matisse, I planned to use the traditional astronomical symbols for the Sun, Moon, and planets. Some online research located a set of symbols and a source of iron-on fabric patches in a color set I liked that coordinated with denim. I am very pleased with the final result. I can’t wait to wear it on a cool day and have someone ask “What does that say on your jacket?”

Top: Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn | Next: Earth, Mercury, Mars, Venus | Pluto – Dwarf Planet

Moon and Sun

The End | Near or Not

In case you didn’t notice, the predicted end of the world on 19 Nov 2017 did not happen. I don’t expect it to happen any time soon. I don’t normally make bold predictions about anything. There was one exception in 1974 in the Nixon administration. I successfully predicted he would resign. I think I was lucky.

If you are a believer in the end times prophesies, you may scoff at my prediction. That’s ok. I will give 10 reasons why I think I’m right. Mine are based on science. Join me below the glowing solar firestorm of death and destruction for the reasons we can feel the end is NOT near.


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