Daytime Moon and jet

April 17, 2014

Passenger jet and Moon.  Photo by Rodger Schmitt, from Lake Powell, Utah.

Passenger jet and Moon. Photo by Rodger Schmitt, from Lake Powell, Utah.

Handheld Nikon.  Nikon stabilizing lens.  Good hands, I’d say.

Third to last time I was out near Lake Powell, I was with Rodger (and about a dozen others) organizing hearings of the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors.  We flew into Page, Arizona, on an Otter II coming up from Phoenix flying low, looking for elk, and legally buzzing Rainbow Bridge (impressive from the air, too).

We had a luncheon meeting at Wahweap Marina, as I recall; no time for boating.

Then we were off to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  There we inspected pine trees 30 feet tall, growing between the ties of the then-abandoned rail lines.  (And did a lot of other stuff.)

Today trains carry tourists to the South Rim on those tracks, the trees gone.  Progress, really.

Rodger carries on in the knowledge that use of the outdoors, especially these public lands, heals souls, and sometimes gives you great photos.

Rodger said I could borrow the photo.  Thanks!


If the Moon were replaced by other planets, what would we see?

August 17, 2013

Odd and interesting idea for a video, from Yeti Animation:  What if the Moon disappeared, and were replaced by other planets in the solar system?  What would it look like?

I like the nonchalance with which the passing auto drivers and passengers treat these views.  Droll.

The ambitious filmmaker, YetPic1, describes the real science and non-science in the film:

Published on May 2, 2013

This is a visualization of what it might be like if the Moon was replaced with some of the other planets at the same distance as our moon. Planets Rendered in 4K resolution! On Change Quality click on “original” to view in 4k. You need a 4k Monitor to watch. otherwise just watch in 1080p or lower

SATURN!.. The super close moon is Dione, the one slightly further out is Tethys
Both are *tiny* but *very* close

In order show[n]:

Mars
Venus
Neptune
Uranus
Jupiter
Saturn

Mercury is intentionally left off as it isn’t Much bigger than our Moon (and hence is boring)

****************
on Jupiter, you might be able to make out the 4 big moons, They all have orbits larger than our moons orbit. but I stuck them on the far side of jupiter so that they could be seen so it looks as if they are closer (to Jupiter) than they really are.

***************
Video creation method
I created an Earth Moon system in 3dsmax, with accurate sizes and accurate orbital distances.. I than matched video of the real Moon with my video camera, against my model. I also researched the correct FOV of my video camera. I used both methods to verify my Virtual camera’s FOV (around 47 degrees). I next modeled up the rest of the planets in proper scale (Real values) set at the distance of the moon (center to center) (also real values), created the animation of them rotating around, and composited the whole bunch.
***************
Faq:

Scales used in Visualization:
Celestial Body Radius (in km)
Moon: 1738
Mars: 3397
Venus: 6052
Neptune: 25,269 (equatorial) 24,340 (polar)
Uranus: 25,559 (equatorial) 24,973 (polar)
Jupiter: 71,490 (equatorial) 66,854 (polar)
Saturn: 60,268 (equatorial) 54,360 (polar) (not including rings)

Distance to Moon 384,000km
Faq: (faq shrunk from other video for “reasons”)

1, We would not be engulfed by Jupiter or any other planet, Jupiter’s radius is 71,490 km and the distance to the Moon is 384,000km

2, We would suffer from really really horrible tides and earthquakes(and radiation)

3, I *did* model the Ring of debris around Uranus, I actually modeled 8 of them, but you can mostly just make out 3, This was actually the tipping point for me to render this out in 4k resolution

4, I love Pluto, and Mercury. They are left off because they are too small. Pluto is smaller than our Moon, and Mercury is not significantly larger than our Moon.

5, The “Sun” I used for lighting the planets is completely off from reality,

7 Orbiting! Yes! we would be a moon of Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. They are much more massive than the Earth. Venus is about the same size of the Earth and we would orbit around a center point between us

8 Rotation rates and axial tilts are not accurate to anything

9 Radius of the Sun is 695,500 km, and hence if it were where our Moon is, we would be engulfed by it

10 Scales are Accurate, Every few days someone says my scales are wrong, Or that someone says I’m presenting Saturn as being bigger than Jupiter. I’m going to go through some of the arguments I keep hearing (paraphrasing each)

a. “You’re showing Saturn larger than Jupiter”: I am not, Saturn is clearly smaller than Jupiter in the video, Saturn+ring system *IS* larger than Jupiter (in terms of radius) This is easy to look up.

b. “Jupiter is 300 times larger than Earth! therefore it’s wrong in your video (or 1000 times larger etc)” : There are many sayings about how much larger Jupiter is than earth. 300 is Probably referring to Mass… 1000.. is probably referring to Volume. Without actually specifying the Dimension the argument is pretty moot. I will say this Jupiter’s Radius is about 11 times that of Earths, which fits precisely with my video.

c. “I saw another video where Jupiter Filled the sky!, therefore you’re wrong”: I am very familiar with the video. I even Like the video. However the FOV (field of view) of his Ground does not match the FOV of the planets. In other words, he has a wide angle lens on the ground, and a zoomed lens on the planets. To his own credit he admits this in his own description. In my video My ground FOV and my planet FOV are the same, and hence graphically matched and very reasonably accurate.

d. The confidence I have for my scales being correct is exceptionally high. The dimensions used for the planets and rings has at one point been triple checked along with the earth moon distance. It’s interesting to see how a *few* people have gotten completely worked up over their misconceptions on scale. The size of the Moon is a bit of an illusion, I Think if you still have misconceptions you should hold a dime out to arms length , and hold it against the moon, Or even go out with your own camera,, Zoom out all the way.. and take a photo of the Moon. It really is Tiny against the sky. It’s only about half a degree in angular diameter.

Thanks to everyone for watching, I enjoy making these

Tip of the old scrub brush to Lady Rhian.

More:

Planets of the Solar System

Planets of the Solar System not to scale – Wikipedia image


Goodnight, Moon; farewell, Neil Armstrong; goodbye dream – Oliphant, and Tyson

September 9, 2012

Two thoughts:

Pat Oliphant cartoon, on death of Neil Armstrong, and dreams to go to the Moon

Pat Oliphant cartoon, upon the death of Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the Moon.

And this one, with Neil de Grasse Tyson, “We stopped dreaming”:

Oliphant’s cartoon shows a future under Mitt Romney and continued GOP domination of the House and Senate — no more Neil Armstrongs doing peaceful work for NASA, like going to the Moon.  Tyson expresses hope for something different.

No, it’s not “time to come inside, Grampaw.”  It’s time to vote.  Vote for the guys whose budget doesn’t say “America cannot afford to be great anymore, American cannot afford to dream.”

Ha!  A third thought:

Cover of Goodnight, Moon

Cover of Goodnight, Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, with illustrations by Clement Hurd

More:


XKCD debunks claims of the Moon landing hoax

June 28, 2012

Kenny’s right — this is a pretty good debunking of the Moon landing hoax hoax.  Good old XKCD:

XKCD debunking of Moon landing hoax claims

With debunking this clever, don’t you think this strip is one you should read every day?

Grateful tip of the old scrub brush, to Kenny Darrell in the wilds of darkest Connecticut.

More:

Cropped from Image:AldrinFlag2.jpeg (now calle...

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon (Cropped from Image:AldrinFlag2.jpeg (now called Image:NASA AS-11-40-5875.jpg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Still U.S. flags on the Moon?

July 7, 2011

One of the most dramatic categories of evidence that the U.S. landed men on the Moon is the detritus and other stuff they left behind.  Now we have satellites orbiting the Moon that can send back images of the landing sites with an amazing amount of detail.

Around the 4th of July somebody usually wonders how those flags left behind, are doing.

CBS News reporter Jim Axelrod asked around; you can see his report at YouTube (CBS disallows embedding of these reports, so you’ll need to click the image a couple of times to go to the YouTube site for CBS):

(720 views of this report when I posted this; come on, news hounds, flag fliers and Moon and history buffs, you can boost that total.)


July 4, 2011 – Fly your flag today

July 3, 2011

Fourth of July: NPR has already read the Declaration of Independence, PBS broadcast the Capitol Fourth concert  last night (maybe a rebroadcast is available — check your local listings), your town has a parade somewhere this weekend, and fireworks are everywhere.

Remember to put your flag up today.

Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Last flag on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and the U.S. Flag -- Apollo 17 on the Moon (NASA photo)

Also:

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of Apollo 17 landing site

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photo of Apollo 17 landing site

This is mostly an encore post, but I so love that photo of the flag with the Earth in the distance.

Happy birthday, Kathryn!


Eclipse! Fun watching, little success photographing

December 21, 2010

Joni Mitchell warned us:  Clouds get in the way:

Lunar eclipse 12-21-2010 - beginning, with clouds - Photo by Ed Darrell - IMGP5738

A clouded view for openers

A long eclipse — more than an hour of almost-total coverage of the Moon’s disk.  Clouds came and went, with a few good viewing times.  With the naked eye, the view was spectacular.  Through the 200 mm Pentax zoom, not quite as spectacular, even with the tripod mount.  Photographing eclipses takes some skill that I don’t yet possess.

Solstice eclipse - clouds took a break IMGP5760 - Photo by Ed Darrell

Clouds took a break

Eclipse totality, with clouds - IMGP5778 - Photo by Ed Darrell

Eclipse totality

A better shot, near the end - IMGP5798 - photo by Ed Darrell

Eclipse nearing its end

Near the end of totality, where the shadow slips away from the full Moon, a bright white light provides a dazzlying view that confounds the light meters.

Bright sliver as eclipse totality ends - IMGP5813 - Ed Darrell photo

Celestial orange, tinged in silver

Ending eclipse with more of the sky - IMGP5822 - Ed Darrell photo

Step back, see a few of the starts, even from inside Dallas city limits

Bright light at the edge of Earth's shadow - IMGP5844 Ed Darrell photo

To every Earth shadow, there's a silver lining to confuse the built-in light meter

Blood-tinge gone, Earth's shadow retreats - IMGP5881 Ed Darrell photo

Blood-tinge gone, Earth's shadow retreats (all photos by Ed Darrell)

Eclipse over, clouds again fog the view - IMGP5884 - Ed Darrell photo

Eclipse nearly over, clouds again fog the view

Longer lens, better tripod next time.  (Heh.  We should live so long.)


Leonid meteor shower 2010: Moon, Jupiter, and Leonids

November 17, 2010

Some stellar fireworks will be visible in your skies tonight, November 17, 2010.

The Moon is in conjunction with Jupiter.  The Leonid Meteor Shower will peak soon after the Moon and Jupiter set.

Oh, to be in the desert tonight, far away from the lights of the city!

Even in a city, the Moon and Jupiter should be clear, and near spectacular.

Things are great, if you’re looking up.

Moon and Jupiter, conjunction 1990 - ICSTAR

It won't be this spectacular -- this is a photo of the 1990 Moon/Jupiter conjunction (ICSTARS photo)


Full moon, sailing tide for Democrats in Corpus Christi

June 29, 2010

Moon over Corpus Christi Bay, June 25, 2010 - photo by Ed Darrell

Moon over Corpus Christi Bay, June 25, 2010 - photo by Ed Darrell; use permitted with attribution

This is the scene that greeted delegates to the Texas Democratic Convention as they left the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, at about 8:00 p.m. last Friday, June 25.  (Natural light photo, handheld, 1/60th exposure at ISO 400)

The Moon was near full, and the tide was good for sailing.

Delegates had just heard Bill White accept the party’s nomination for governor.

In my brief period as a Sea Scout, I most enjoyed evening and night sailing.  Water is astoundingly quiet at dusk and later, when sailing.  In Corpus Christi I got a half-dozen shots and lamented I didn’t have a tripod, to get a better shot of the Moon.

Actually, the tide was on the way out at 8:00 p.m. — it had peaked about about 1:10.  But it was still good for sailing.

I thought of Shakespeare:

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

(Julius Caesar, Act IV.ii.269–276)


One more way to know Apollo 11 landed on the Moon

April 4, 2010

Every year at this time . . .

In a discussion of the Cold War, the Space Race, and the Race to the Moon, we get to a photo about Apollo 11′s landing on the Moon.

Like clockwork, a hand goes up:  “Mr. Darrell, wasn’t that landing a hoax?  They didn’t really go to the Moon then, did they?”

There are a lot of ways to know that Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.  Among other things, students could talk to people alive at the time who have the slightest bit of technological savvy:  With lots of other people, I tracked part of the trip with my 6-inch reflecting telescope.  Ham radio operators listened in on the radio broadcasts.  And so on.

But I really like this chunk of evidence:  How about a photograph of the landing site?

Holy cow!  You can see the tracksof Neil Armstrong’s footprints to the lip of Little West crater (see arrow below).

Tranquility Base, from the LROC -- showing evidence of Apollo 11's landing -

Tranquility Base, shot from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), showing the traces left by Apollo 11's landing on the Moon. It really happened. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

According to the LROC website:

The astronaut path to the TV camera is visible, and you may even be able to see the camera stand (arrow). You can identify two parts of the Early Apollo Science Experiments Package (EASEP) – the Lunar Ranging Retro Reflector (LRRR) and the Passive Seismic Experiment (PSE). Neil Armstrong’s tracks to Little West crater (33 m diameter) are also discernable (unlabeled arrow). His quick jaunt provided scientists with their first view into a lunar crater.

Check out this video made from the photos, “High Noon at Tranquility Base”:

Fox News?  What’s your story now?

More:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Collect Space forum, and the Carnival of Space #147 at Weird Sciences.  Thanks to ScienceBlips for telling us about Carnival of Space.


Hall of Fame: Debunking the Moon landing hoax hoax

December 10, 2006

Apollo 14 on the moon - Alan Shepard?

Photo from Apollo 14 Moon Mission

 

In a classroom discussion of “how do we know what we know” about history, another student brought up the allegations that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) faked the manned Moon landings. That makes about a dozen times this year a kid has mentioned this claim (who thinks to start counting these things?). The kid was pretty unshakable in his convictions — after all, he said, how can a flag wave in a vacuum?

I usually mention a couple of things that the fake claimers leave out — that dozens, if not hundreds, of amateur astronomers tracked the astronauts on their way to the Moon, that many people intercepted the radio transmissions from the Moon, that one mission retrieved debris from an earlier unmanned landing, etc. Younger students who lack experience in serious critical thinking have difficulty with these concepts. They also lack the historic background — the last manned Moon landing occurred when their parents were kids, perhaps. They didn’t grow up with NASA launches on television, and the whole world holding its breath to see what wonders would be found in space.

Phil Plait runs a fine blog called Bad Astronomy. Five years ago he got fed up with the Fox Television program claiming the Moon landings were hoaxes, and he made a significant reply that should be in some hall of fame for debunking hoaxes. Since the claim that the Moon landings were hoaxes is, itself, a hoax, I have titled this “Debunking the Moon landing hoax hoax.”

In any case, if you’re wondering about whether the Moon landings were hoaxes, you need to see Phil Plait’s post. Phil writes:

From the very first moment to the very last, the program is loaded with bad thinking, ridiculous suppositions and utterly wrong science. I was able to get a copy of the show in advance, and although I was expecting it to be bad, I was still surprised and how awful it was. I took four pages of notes. I won’t subject you to all of that here; it would take hours to write. I’ll only go over some of the major points of the show, and explain briefly why they are wrong.

Also, consider these chunks of evidence, which Phil does not mention so far as I know:

First, the first Moon landing left a mirror on the surface, off of which Earth-bound astronomers may bounce laser transmissions in order to measure exactly the distance from the Earth to the Moon. Read the rest of this entry »


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