Does the name, “Mosquito Creek,” discourage people from visiting? See what they miss.
This is why experienced Scouts, the better Scouts, don’t use their flashlights at night.
No one wants to miss this light show.
One can get similar views all across northern New Mexico, of course.
- Philmont Scout Ranch, BSA
- This company runs star-gazing tours out of Santa Fe, Astronomy Adventures
- In 2009 The Washington Post designated Mayhill, New Mexico, as one of seven top star-gazing sites in the world
- Travel and Leisure magazine commends New Mexico Skies Inn (down nearer El Paso) (see especially here)
Making those nice photographs of the Milky Way and stars isn’t so easy as it looks.
I made my most successful efforts on our recent swing through Colorado, New Mexico and West Texas. Here’s a shot I got that almost shows the Milky Way, probably has Polaris in it, and because it was a timed exposure, also captured star movement and an airplane flying overhead. Photo was taken from the Army Corps of Engineers campground at Abiquiu Reservoir, a few miles from Georgia O’Keefe’s home.
Who’d have thought of such an image, before we used satellites to look?
NASA’s press release, from June 27, 2014:
A suite of NASA’s Sun-gazing spacecraft have spotted an unusual series of eruptions in which a series of fast puffs forced the slow ejection of a massive burst of solar material from the Sun’s atmosphere. The eruptions took place over a period of three days, starting on Jan. 17, 2013. Nathalia Alzate, a solar scientist at the University of Aberystwyth in Wales, presented findings on what caused the puffs at the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth, England.
The sun’s outermost atmosphere, the corona, is made of magnetized solar material, called plasma, that has a temperature of millions of degrees and extends millions of miles into space. On January 17, the joint European Space Agency and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, spacecraft observed puffs emanating from the base of the corona and rapidly exploding outwards into interplanetary space. The puffs occurred roughly once every three hours. After about 12 hours, a much larger eruption of material began, apparently eased out by the smaller-scale explosions.
By looking at high-resolution images taken by NASA’s NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (Little SDO), or SDO, and NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, over the same time period and in different wavelengths, Alzate and her colleagues could focus on the cause of the puffs and the interaction between the small and large-scale eruptions.
“Looking at the corona in extreme ultraviolet light we see the source of the puffs is a series of energetic jets and related flares,” said Alzate. “The jets are localized, catastrophic releases of energy that spew material out from the sun into space. These rapid changes in the magnetic field cause flares, which release a huge amount of energy in a very short time in the form of super-heated plasma, high-energy radiation and radio bursts. The big, slow structure is reluctant to erupt, and does not begin to smoothly propagate outwards until several jets have occurred.”
Because the events were observed by multiple spacecraft, each viewing the sun from a different perspective, Alzate and her colleagues were able to resolve the three-dimensional configuration of the eruptions. This allowed them to estimate the forces acting on the slow eruption and discuss possible mechanisms for the interaction between the slow and fast phenomena.
“We still need to understand whether there are shock waves, formed by the jets, passing through and driving the slow eruption,” said Alzate. “Or whether magnetic reconfiguration is driving the jets allowing the larger, slow structure to slowly erupt. Thanks to recent advances in observation and in image processing techniques we can throw light on the way jets can lead to small and fast, or large and slow, eruptions from the Sun.”
Van Gogh painted rather unusual images of the Sun and stars; Turner painted perhaps more life-like images. There are many interesting views of the Sun in art, by Monet, and many, many others.
But who conceived of any image like this one from NASA, above?
What private entity could ever do that?
British biologist J. B. S. Haldane said:
I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
♦ Possible Worlds and Other Papers (1927), p. 286
Haldane may as well have added, the universe is not only more beautiful that we imagine, but more beautiful than we can imagine. Reality trumps fiction yet again.
Owachomo Bridge? Photographer? I wish Interior would put in all the details with their photos.
USA Today does some great graphics from time to time.
And just for this weekend:
So, early Saturday morning, or early Sunday morning, we could be in for a meteor shower display more intense than we’ve seen in a long time, experts say.
Or maybe not.
NASA’s explanation should help you find them (we found this video via Space.com):
Phil Plait’s column/blog at Slate, Bad Astronomy, put me on to this one. Wow.
You can see it at Vimeo, and read a lot more about the making of the film.
YIKÁÍSDÁHÁ (Navajo for Milky Way or “That Which Awaits the Dawn”)
And that they do. The Milky Way is the star of the show; the galactic bulge, disk, and dark fingers of vast dust lanes as clear as if this were taken from space. Well, sort of; I was impressed by the mix of clouds and sky, to be honest. The contrast was interesting, and it’s rather amazing the Milky Way could stand out so clearly above the cloud line.
One thing I want to point out specifically: At 2:10 in, a meteor flashes and leaves behind a curling wisp of what looks like smoke. This is called a persistent train, the vaporized remains of the meteoroid itself, and can glow for several minutes. The upper level winds from 60–100 km above Earth’s surface are what blow it into those curlicues.
More details, for more films from these guys:
Shot and Produced by: Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović
Music: A Seated Night (Ambient) by Moby. Courtesy MobyGratis.com / Unknown Native Chant
Thanks: Northern Arizona University, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley Tribal Park.
See other Sunchaser Timelapses on Vimeo here: vimeo.com/album/189653
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