Monday, June 28, 2010


Behold a sweet animated .gif that I stole from Wikipedia. Sometimes, I wish I had special vision, like seeing in time-lapse (also, I would like telescopic binocular vision). Seeing in time-lapse would be a step toward seeing in the 4th dimension, which was written about in a cherished Vonnegut book, "Breakfast of Champions." Although in the book, a man's genitalia was referred to being seen in the 4th dimension, not the Moon.

In all honesty and seriousness and scientificness, the motion of the Moon is interestingly complex, as I've discovered for myself recently. Thanks again, Wikipedia! We can attribute the Moon's difference in size throughout the lunar month to its elliptical orbit around the Earth and we can thank the iron-rich, basalt-filled maria (seas...the dark patches on the Moon) for the differential in mass throughout the lunar "sphere." Gravity's action on that differential causes us to see that denser "face" of the Moon more or less perpetually.

There are other things like libration, nodal precession, and a ~5° orbital-plane-inclination-to-the-ecliptic that I can mention as well, but that's too much analysis, I think, even for my obsessive interest. These are ideas, mainly, that don't make much sense because they're incredibly hard for most of us to actually visualize. I find that images like this .gif really unlock the understanding of astronomical phenomena that require - in most cases - extremely long amounts of time to transpire. Most of the time, for most of us, simply "pondering the heavens" isn't enough to comprehend their true nature. Pictures help, and I am on the lookout for more of these!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wheel Spinnin'

Some things I've been doing over the past 12 months in order to kill time:

(in a roughly chronological order, since approx. June 2009)

1) Playing old Super Nintendo games on my laptop
2) Teaching myself Adobe Illustrator
3) Designing/writing/inking comics
4) Brushing up on my caricature skills
5) Re-learning calculus, physics, and chemistry (many thanks to iTunes U)
6) Teaching myself introductory astronomy; learning how to navigate the night sky
7) Reading lots of Kurt Vonnegut
8) Planning to re-enroll in college
9) Watching all 6 seasons of "The Office" in about 2-3 months' time
10) Changing my mind about college; considering becoming an electrician
11) Starting to exercise (a toughie)
12) Playing Warcraft III
13) Chronically losing myself in internet lala-land
14) Mastering the painfully mind-bending art of WAITING!
15) Waiting; perfecting the list of what I want to do when I get back to the U.S.
16) Waiting for our vacation to the UK and Ireland
17) Generally waiting...

To those considering Peace Corps, make sure you have a long, LONG list of things you can do on your own to keep yourself busy!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Evening Star

At around 7pm UT, Venus was approximately 20 degrees above the horizon, easily the brightest object in the twilit sky.

Apparently, Venus will be in conjuction with (fancy astronomical phrase for "will be visually close to") the thin crescent moon on the evening of March 16th. If the weather cooperates, I will display this conjunction tomorrow.

If the Earth's atmosphere wills it...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Doppleganger Tuesday

Mr. Newton, you just got served...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Chefchaouen - Rif Mountains in Northern Morocco

After climbing a fairly simple path up the side of a mountain, we stopped to take in the views. Didn't spot any patches of kif, but we could see the snow-capped mountain peaks.

This blog is going through some evolutionary steps, and in the future, will hopefully include more topics on travel, science, and certain other topics of the left-brained nature.