No, I didn’t eat chili in Chile

No, I didn’t eat chili in Chile

At the end of May, took another one of my slightly wacky vacations, this time to Chile and Peru. The first week in Chile was dedicated to visiting various observatories and other astronomy related sites. Due to some of the best seeing in the world along with the dry, stable climate in the Atacama Desert, Chile is gravid with observatories. Collectively these sites form the European Southern Observatory, www.eso.org. Besides visiting all of...

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Smile at Saturn Day: July 19

Smile at Saturn Day: July 19

On  July 19, the Cassini probe currently orbiting Saturn will image Earth from nearly a billion miles away in true color. It is asked that all “be sure to smile, knowing that others around the world are smiling too, in the sheer joy of simply being alive on a pale blue dot.” And of course, aimed towards Saturn. Even if the earth is less than 2 pixels across. From the Cassini imaging team: “Straighten up, brush your hair, go outside,...

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Distant Suns Astronomy App Makes Tracking Comet Pan-STARRS Easy

Distant Suns Astronomy App Makes Tracking Comet Pan-STARRS Easy

In the next couple of weeks you will likely hear much about a comet with the decidedly unglamorous name of “Pan-STARRS” (or technically: “Comet C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS”). The first significant naked eye comet since Comet McNaught in2007, Pan-STARRS is already visible to the southern hemisphere and brightening steadily each day. Dozens of comets are discovered each year, most quietly anonymous, meekly shining at magnitudes that require very good...

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Aboard the MS Finnmarken north of the Arctic Circle

Aboard the MS Finnmarken north of the Arctic Circle

Aboard the MS Finnmarken north of the Arctic Circle. A couple of things I have always wanted to do were: go on a cruise (not one of those gaudy drink-yourself-to-the-emergency-room kinda cruises, but something a little more mellow), and to see the Northern Lights. What fun when I discovered that there was a cruise to see the Northern Lights (not to be confused with Friday Night Lights, that was a different network). I signed up almost...

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Nov. 13 Eclipse video (at last!)

Nov. 13 Eclipse video (at last!)

I finally slogged my way home from Cairns, Australia, where I went to see the Nov. 13 eclipse. The WiFi was too crappy or expensive in most of the hotels that last thing I needed to do was upload a something to YouTube. I shot two videos, one with my old iPhone 4 that had already been eclipse tested (for your safety) and hardened at the great Patagonia-almost-eclipse in 2010. The other was using my iPad-Mini. Watch how the Moon’s shadow...

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Eclipse Day!

Eclipse Day!

Eclipse Day! Finally here! My very first total eclipse. Many in our group have seen 5 or more. My roommate is on his 7th. I never thought much of going halfway around the world to see something that lasted in this case, a mere 2 minutes, 9 seconds. People who do this are called “eclipse chasers”. But finally had some sense knocked into me when I realized that the eclipse is just a part of an otherwise fascinating journey. Each spot in the world...

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