Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

About 2:30 PM November 21, 2011:

Our first lingering snow of the season has fallen, but a nearby warm water discharge keeps ducks and geese in the neighborhood all winter.

Pluto investigates signs of webbed-feet activity.

To my eye these duck footprints in the snow are creating a multistable perception effect. How about for you?

I’m sharing this for no other reason but that it’s utterly fun, and groovy, man! Far out! Outta sight!


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4:58 AM CDT 5-18-11 (9:58 UTC), 8″ reflector, 25mm eyepiece. The Moon was riding low in the south as viewed from my northerly location, and was already sinking into the ground clutter as viewed from my backyard. Interesting shot through the leaves, though!

It was more easily seen from the neighborhood park. Nineteen minutes later at 5:17 AM using the 60mm refractor and 17mm eyepiece.

5:42 AM CDT 5-19-11 (10:42 UTC), 8″ reflector, 25mm eyepiece.

Here’s a little experiment in photomontagery. The Venus photo was taken with 7×35 binoculars, the Jupiter photo with 60mm refractor, 17mm eyepiece, and 2x Barlow. I glimpsed Mercury once again but didn’t manage to photograph it. I doubt that I’ll even see Mars until June, as here in the Northland the planetary grouping isn’t very high above the horizon when the sky gets light.

The swallows have the birdhouse staked out.

Edgar the Eager Egret is eager to eat!

Below: a series of gosling photos and a couple of videos, mostly from dawn on May 18, but the last photo was taken on May 19:

At about 12 seconds into this 19-second video, a low-swooping adult goose causes a cute flap and kerfuffle, good for a chuckle.

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Bird photos either with 60mm refractor and 25mm eyepiece or with 7×35 binoculars.

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No, the Moon doesn’t really look blue like this at any time, nor did I take this picture today! I took this picture at 4:36 AM CDT last September 22, 2010 (9:36 UTC), and this is what came out when I was playing with the “aqua” setting on my cell phone camera. The Moon was almost, but not quite full that night. But since today’s Full Moon is called a Blue Moon by an old reckoning, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to bring this picture out! By this reckoning, if there are four Full Moons within one season, the third is called a Blue Moon. If you’re wondering why the upcoming December 21 Full Moon isn’t the first one of Winter, it’s because it squeaks in just hours before the solstice, making it the last one of four in Autumn.

More about the Blue Moon at Journey To the Stars and at Yahoo! News.

Alas, persistent clouds have been hampering astronomy at my point on the terrestrial globe, and show no signs of letting up, so I will miss the “Blue Moon” this time, alas. But I’ll be happy if the weather cooperates for the next Full Moon on December 21, since it features a Total Lunar Eclipse ideally timed for my locale! (UPDATE: I just fixed that link, so it goes to the NASA info about the upcoming eclipse, just as I originally intended.)

UPDATE: The clouds parted after all! Stop back for a new post about this weekend’s observations.

No Blue Moon celebration is complete without Rogers & Harts’ classic song. Here’s my favorite version, the one by The Marcels:

I almost forgot – as usual, my Moon picture was taken with the 8″ f8 homebuilt reflector, 25mm eyepiece, and LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Usually I use the “black and white” or “natural” color settings, but just for fun I might use the “aqua” setting “once in a blue moon” …

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This curiously shaped spot is on the painted concrete floor of a room in the building where I work. To me it looks like the silhouette of a Scottish Terrier, nose to the upper left. Do you agree?! What does it look like to you?

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Astrophotography … deep grad school essays … light-hearted Country Music classics … this blog has it all!

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Dance of the Hours

Just yesterday on the way to work I heard a portion of Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours on Minnesota Public Radio, and of course it brought to mind the hysterically funny animated sequence from Disney’s Fantasia. I especially enjoy the dance of the hippo and the alligator. Take a few moments of your day to enjoy this work of comic genius!

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Me and my telescope, c. 1981

Here I am with my homebuilt 8″ f8 reflector telescope in about the year 1981, when the telescope was less than two years old and I was sixteen. We’re both much more weathered now, but still in service. I’d forgotten, though, how many of the scratches in the tube’s paint job were already in existence by then.

By the way, the post title spoofs this famous work by James Joyce, and I mean “geek” in this sense.

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