Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

I say crummiest because the subtle observer may note the disk in the picture is white whereas the point of a solar eclipse is that the disk should be black.  Shadowed by the moon, remember?  But here’s a weird thing, a photo in today’s local paper, via the South Bend Tribune, via Eddyville Illinois also shows a white-disked sun at totality (section 1, page 5), though the picture was set to show an observer in the foreground, the sun itself just a background detail.  So for the picture here, let’s cut it some slack, it was taken by the infamous $4.95 on Ebay camera (including shipping, see February 5), one which’s settings are completely automatic, not controllable by human hands or minds — and hence likely to take its hints from the foreground — although acquitting itself reasonably well on pictures of Morro Castle, etc., in Puerto Rico last month as well as of the Goth Cat Triana for which it was bought.  Also a friend with presumably more sophisticated equipment (in the world of fine optical instruments you can’t go much below $4.95 on Ebay), taking pictures of the partial eclipse locally, complained they all came out with the crescent sun looking “fatter” than it actually was.

My theory is that the sun, even with the moon blocking it, is so bright that the unsophisticated camera, lacking screening or special adjustments, exaggerates the extent of the white (becomes “overloaded” in a sense), encroaching into the adjacent sky in the case of my friend, or filling in the handy black disk in the center when it came to mine.  And anyhow it still shows the corona, which in some ways is the interesting part, so maybe it’s not the crummiest picture this year after all.

Since the path of totality was not that far from where I live (what my friend saw at its peak was 95 percent, even if her pictures made it look less), I was able to go on a charter bus trip to an area just outside of Hopkinsville Kentucky.  For a few observations:  the eeriest part was a little before totality, when the sky began dimming but in an odd over-all way, not in the east first as one might see before sunset.  I didn’t see moving shadows on the ground (from mountains on the moon as the sun became entirely blocked), but another person who’d spread out a white sheet saw them there — present, he said, but extremely subtle.  One man had six huskies on the site who were well-behaved and extremely quiet even through totality, but just after the sun “came back” started barking, as if to say “never do that again.”  Also while we didn’t hear birds or insects go quiet, possibly because with so many people on the site, the wildlife was frightened to silence anyway, but just after the dogs we heard loud cicada-like insect sounds all around us for several seconds.  Also, while NASA observers were, I believe, in Hopkinsville proper, we did have some TV people on our site, plus others with picture-taking equipment of much more sophistication than mine (for which see the second picture here, taken a little bit before totality but with the overall dimming beginning to be seen — this was at 1:10 or so p.m. local time on what otherwise had been a bright sunny summer afternoon [totality began at 1:24 p.m. CDT and lasted two minutes and forty seconds]; the buses parked just beyond them, incidentally, are two of the charters from Indiana that I had come with).

I also had some delicious barbecue from a food truck parked in our area, the grounds of the Casey Jones Distillery, that on non-eclipse days produces several boutique corn whiskeys — including, for the occasion, a special Eclipse “Moonshine.”

And for the first picture, the possibly still-crummiest eclipse picture for the year, it does have one special thing going for it.  It’s the picture that’s (Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!) mine.

Advertisements

Move over Soyuz (cf. December 12), it looks like NASA has a new heavy-lift rocket ready to be on the launch pad next year.  And now there’s some talk that its maiden voyage could be a manned one.  No, not to Mars yet, just a lunar gallery-1458845021-slsloop-around for now, but apparently this is the one that may be used to go there eventually as well.  But see for yourself via “NASA Is Considering a Manned Flight for First SLS Launch,” by Jay Bennett, on POPULARMECHANICS.COM by pressing here.  And if that is intriguing see, also by Jay Bennett, “All You Need to Know NASA’s Mammoth SLS Rocket in Less Than 3 Minutes” by pressing here.

A couple of snippets today in an otherwise quiet week.  The first, the official schedule for the Bloomington Writers Guild’s Spoken Word Stage (cf. just below, August 14) has been announced on Facebook.  So far I’m still at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, September 4, for a half hour of horror — for which, and more, one can find the full schedule here.  For my slot I’ll most likely be reading my story “Raising the Dead,” originally published in AIRSHIPS AND AUTOMATONS (White Cat Publications, 2015) and set for release space-shuttle-atlantis-station-undocking-071911in spring-summer next year from Elder Signs Press as an independent chapter in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (see also, below).

And then, as an extra, I ran across an interesting item for space shuttle buffs, “NASA’s Space Shuttle By the Numbers:  30 Years of a Spaceflight Icon” by Tariq Malik on SPACE.COM, for which one can press here.  Finder’s credit this time goes to Steph P. Bianchini and THE EARTHIAN HIVEMIND in an entry interesting in its own right which can be found here.

A very pleasant early May outing began with the month’s Bloomington Writers Guild “First Sunday Prose Reading” (see April 6, February 1, et al.), co-sponsored by Boxcar Books.  Featured readers were Alyce Miller, award-winning author and Indiana University Graduate MFA program teacher and Director of Admissions, reading humorous essays on death in California and, having moved from there to here, the difficulties of becoming a “Hoosier”; poet, essayist, and MFA graduate Doug Paul Case with a series of “little prose poem micro-essay things,” humorous and ironic; and incoming THE INDIANA REVIEW Editor-in-Chief Peter Kispert with a first person story-essay on failed aspiring actors and reconstructed Netflix FATAL ATTRACTIONS episodes “where exotic animal owners are victimized by their pets.”  Although running late, the audience stayed for five open mike presentations that followed, of which mine, third in the lineup, was a recent as yet unsold story, “Medusa Steps Out,” about . . . well . . . an exotic animal owner of sorts who is also victimized by her pets (although, unlike the onlookers in this case, survives).

This was also the last “First Sunday” reading of the 2014-2015 season, the series now going on summer hiatus until August 2.  Other presentations will also be winding down as the month continues, but even now plans are also developing for 20111holst6, including a possible multi-disciplinary joining with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra for a concert next February.  Along these lines, Writers Guild members had also been offered comp tickets for a production this evening of Gustav Holst’s THE PLANETS, Op. 32, by the Symphony Orchestra (joined at the haunting end of the final movement, “Neptune, the Mystic,” by the Bloomington Chamber Singers Women’s Chorus).  This, too, was a mixed media performance, accompanied by a slide show of the planets with NASA and ESA images put together and introduced by Indiana University Astronomy Professors Gabriel Lubell and Richard Durisen, thus perhaps to help us, the writers, stretch out imaginative wings.

In any event, it was a great show.

This is from PENNY4NASA.ORG via SPACE ADVOCATES NEWS, posted by Curtiss Thompson, for science fiction as well as science fact fans:  the top five advances in space science currently scheduled for this year.  The fourth one, in fact, may have already happened InternationalSpaceStation(while I don’t recall seeing it, it may have appeared within a story about resupplying the International Space Station), a soft landing on a platform at sea for a SpaceX first stage which, according to this, was scheduled for January 6.  But see all for yourself by checking here (and then, if inspired, consider using whatever strikes you to build a story or poem around).




  • My Books

    (Click on image for more information)
  • Chapbooks

  • Poetry

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,059 other followers