About Us
Mission Statement
Rules of Conduct
 
Name:
Pswd:
Remember Me
Register
 

In the dark of the night
Author: TriSec    Date: 11/29/2008 13:55:38

How many of us assembled here are happy city dwellers?

Night in the city is an interesting thing...music, dancing, drinking, movies, nightlife in general. Of course there is always a dark side, and the undercurrent of society does most of its work under the cover of darkness, too.

But when was the last time you looked up?

I'm an aviation geek; I always look up, even in the night, whenever I hear an aero engine passing by. (Except September 11...see other blogs about that.) But do you ever stop and look at those feeble little pricks of light in the sky that our ancestors used to call "stars"?

I posted a story on the message board the other day about Bar Harbor, Maine enacting an ordinance to protect the night sky. Mount Desert Island is far enough away from the major population centers of the East Coast that you can still see the stars from there.

Did you ever wonder why our galaxy is named the "Milky Way"? On a dark summer's night (from the Northern Hemisphere), you can see why....looking edge-on toward's the galaxy's center from the Orion Arm, the bulk of our galaxy makes an impenetrable glowing band slicing across the night sky. It's quite a sight to behold, if you can ever see it.

City dwellers have to deal with light pollution...huge amounts of light that could otherwise be aimed at the ground bleed off into space, and illuminate the atmosphere and wash out any hope of seeing any of nature's wonders from the ground. Take a look around you the next night you're out....any fixture that projects light up, or that you can see from the side, is wasting energy and polluting the night sky.

I suppose it's the price we pay for our modern society. You and I can look at street maps and highways and have a pretty good idea of where we are. Once on a day hike that's become part of my Cub Scout Pack's lore, one of our adults (who is an amateur Ornithologist) was picking birds out of nowhere, identifying them by a flick of wing or briefest of birdcall. That morning, planes departing from Logan Airport were flying over our birding site, and I was identifying the "aluminum birds" just as easilly as he was.

My point is...pull out an unmarked star chart and see how much you recognize. We've heard of them....The Big Dipper, Orion the Hunter, the constellations of the Zodiac....but do you even know what they look like anymore?



The night sky has many joys that we and our children just don't know anymore. If you can, get out into the woods away from the city sometime and just look. The night sky is full of wonders, all free for the looking, if we can only find a way away from the trappings of the city.

Monday evening, if you have clear skies, go outside and look west. You'll be able to see something cool, even from the city.

And if you can't, check out Astronomy Picture of the Day...chock-full of NASA photos, it's one of the more interesting places on the ol' internets.

I'll leave you today with two images....one of some night-sky objects I hope to see one day, but will require a trip south of the equator:

http://media.skyandtelescope.com/images/Magellanic_Clouds_l.jpg


And this computer-generated image of North America at night:

http://nursesean.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/earth-at-night.jpg



The International Dark Sky Association has plenty more information....and most states have active chapters.


40 comments (Latest Comment: 11/30/2008 07:17:01 by livingonli)
   Perma Link

Share This!

Furl it!
Spurl
NewsVine
Reddit
Technorati

Add a Comment

Please login to add a comment...


Comments:

Order comments Newest to Oldest  Refresh Comments

Comment by TriSec on 11/29/2008 14:58:18
A bonus clicky...the whole earth at night.





Comment by BobR on 11/29/2008 15:53:02
I can usually pick out the dippers, Orion, and Scorpio when they're visible.

Comment by livingonli on 11/29/2008 16:54:19
Morning everyone. :grunt:

Comment by trojanrabbit on 11/29/2008 16:58:09
I'm holing myself up at the cellar workbench today working on the radio. Already I'm running into some difficulty where the new parts won't fit because they're so much smaller the leads aren't long enough.



Gotta really hope my CRS* doesn't flare up too badly and I'm not able to figure out where the parts go back. One part comes out and a bunch of others have to come out in addition. Not to mention I've got no close-in vision left. This would have been SO much easier 10 years ago.





*Can't Remember Shit

Comment by livingonli on 11/29/2008 17:40:45
I'm wondering if I should have put in for vacation time before February. I am already feeling like I need one.

Comment by Raine on 11/29/2008 17:45:59
Good afternoon!



we are siting here watching a certain football game... UGA7 to TEch 6.



Buzz Buzzzz! Go Tech !!

Comment by trojanrabbit on 11/29/2008 18:14:02
Well, I got the blown stuff replaced, so I just quickly tacked the rest together and powered it up to see how bad off I am before I go headlong into this. My guess was correct about what's causing the bad sound, but what I don't understand is why those output tubes haven't melted or at least weren't glowing a nice bright red. Probably means they're dead. More parts to order.

Comment by TriSec on 11/29/2008 18:29:39
Passing through....Javi wants to play with the people.





Comment by Mondobubba on 11/29/2008 18:38:43
Quote by BobR:

I can usually pick out the dippers, Orion, and Scorpio when they're visible.






The sky is pretty clear here, I can see the majors too. A few years back we got up in the middle of the night and went down to St Augustine Beach during the Perseids metor shower. That was pretty cool.



if you ever get to the tropics (the real ones not the South Florida Subtropics). You can see the Southern Cross. It is pretty cool being able to see that and Polaris.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 11/29/2008 18:47:17
Bleah. Gotta head out and get some more parts. Good thing I found out now, the parts store is closed on Sunday.

Comment by livingonli on 11/29/2008 18:56:10
Headline News was earlier today talking about the meteor shower that hit Canada with fragments scattered across the provinces.

Comment by Raine on 11/29/2008 18:59:31
Comment by Mondobubba on 11/29/2008 19:21:05






page load error.

Comment by Raine on 11/29/2008 19:38:00
Quote by Mondobubba:







page load error.
works here...



Comment by BobR on 11/29/2008 19:39:09
Holy Crap! - Ga Tech is kicking ASS in the 3rd quarter!



3 touchdowns in the 1st 8 minutes, including 2 2-point conversions.



WOW



http://www.fourfreedomsblog.com/images/Buzzy.jpg


Comment by Raine on 11/29/2008 19:43:32
Comment by livingonli on 11/29/2008 20:18:31
Time to go head off to the salt mine.

Comment by BobR on 11/29/2008 20:55:21
GA TECH WINS!!!



wow - what a GREAT game that was. UGA had a great passing game, but turnovers and penalties were their undoing.



Ga Tech had a great running game, and took advantage of every opportunity.



Wow



Comment by BobR on 11/29/2008 21:48:10
btw - condolences to MMB for her Dawg's loss...

Comment by TriSec on 11/29/2008 22:41:23
http://www.thefinalsprint.com/images/2007/11/boston-college-eagles-logo.jpg




Iggles need to beat the Terps today to get to the ACC title game...





Comment by trojanrabbit on 11/29/2008 23:58:10
I have successfully fixed the biasing problem in the output stage. :banana:



Now I have NO sound whatsoever. :bang2: :bang2:

Comment by velveeta jones on 11/30/2008 00:00:18
Excellent post TriSec!! This light pollution has been an annoyance since I first learned of it, many years ago. In fact, just the other night I was driving through town, late, and wondering just why the hell all these drugstores, hardware stores, markets, and gift shops galore, had to have their lights on while closed!



:shrug:



I suppose they can say its a safety issue...... but it sure is annoying.

Comment by Mondobubba on 11/30/2008 00:05:09
Quote by TriSec:

http://www.thefinalsprint.com/images/2007/11/boston-college-eagles-logo.jpg




Iggles need to beat the Terps today to get to the ACC title game...









I will dip a toe into this water seeing how I grew up a mere 8.5 miles for the campus of the University of Maryland (A "public Ivy" I might add) I will have to come down on the side of the Terps.

Comment by livingonli on 11/30/2008 00:11:41
Question for the computer people: Will an external hard drive improve the speed on my desktop. When I noticed that my desktop was slowing down considerably especially when I try to use Firefox, I also noticed that my storage capacity was nearly maxed out. I flushed out all my podcasts which has brought my storage space back up to 25% but I am still having speed issues. Since I am not going to spend money on another computer at this time so I was principally looking for a solution on the speed issue.

Comment by MMB on 11/30/2008 01:23:32
Quote by BobR:

btw - condolences to MMB for her Dawg's loss...
Condolences accepted BobR!! Tech won it fair and square they looked good. It was really a pretty good game but we got stung in the end. Cheers!!!!!



Comment by livingonli on 11/30/2008 02:31:24


Maybe we should unleash the underpants gnomes?

Comment by Random on 11/30/2008 03:23:06
HELLSING!

That's the anime i was thinking of.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 11/30/2008 03:24:20
Quote by livingonli:



Maybe we should unleash the underpants gnomes?




Phase 1: Collect Underpants

Phase 2: ????????

Phase 3: Profit



Comment by Mondobubba on 11/30/2008 03:33:50
Luke Skywalker. Whiny beeyatch. Yes or no. Discuss.



I'm in the whiny bitch camp personally.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 11/30/2008 03:43:48
Quote by trojanrabbit:

I have successfully fixed the biasing problem in the output stage. :banana:



Now I have NO sound whatsoever. :bang2: :bang2:




I think I've found a good spot to leave it for tonight. The no sound problem was a dumbass error on my part. The drawings I have don't exactly match what's in there, but I tried to make it so anyway, and the result was it no workee.



Every part in the output stage has been replaced, so my work on the whole set is about half done, but I know I've fixed the bad audio. I had it playing loud enough to shake the bench. I still think I was fortunate I didn't have a meltdown.



Comment by BobR on 11/30/2008 04:09:38
Quote by livingonli:

Question for the computer people: Will an external hard drive improve the speed on my desktop. When I noticed that my desktop was slowing down considerably especially when I try to use Firefox, I also noticed that my storage capacity was nearly maxed out. I flushed out all my podcasts which has brought my storage space back up to 25% but I am still having speed issues. Since I am not going to spend money on another computer at this time so I was principally looking for a solution on the speed issue.


That depends. Assuming you have a Windows machine, the amount of free disk space DOES make a difference with speed, because the O/S caches memory to the disk when it runs out of memory. Things that might help with the speed:



1) Flush files from your temp folder

2) Flush the browser cache

3) Do a defrag on the hard drive

4) Increase the size of the paging file to equal you RAM

5) Add more RAM (it's the cheapest option for adding hardware to improve performance)



I would only add an additional hard drive if you wanted more room for storing stuff. It really won't improve your speed.



If none of this helps, I can email you a PDF with more tips...

Comment by BobR on 11/30/2008 04:11:04
Quote by Mondobubba:

Luke Skywalker. Whiny beeyatch. Yes or no. Discuss.



I'm in the whiny bitch camp personally.


put me in the "who cares?" camp.

Comment by livingonli on 11/30/2008 04:20:20
I guess if I wanted to save my Stephcasts again than I would need the larger hard drive. It is a Windows (XP) Machine.

Comment by livingonli on 11/30/2008 04:23:39
Surprisingly, I haven't had problems with my laptop even though it's on Vista except for now being able to play Shelagh's video files.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 11/30/2008 04:41:54
Quote by livingonli:

Surprisingly, I haven't had problems with my laptop even though it's on Vista except for now being able to play Shelagh's video files.




Since the latest flash update, many YouTube videos just won't play on my tablet. The video just shows up in a small corner then it freezes. Just some of them, though.



Wondering if Firefox is getting even more bloated than IE, might be time to try Chrome.



Comment by livingonli on 11/30/2008 04:44:57
I have started using Flock for my facebook and You Tube activity. The new Firefox 3 seems to be slower than Firefox 2 which at one point they were forcing everyone to upgrade to.

Comment by Raine on 11/30/2008 05:18:56
Quote by trojanrabbit:

Quote by livingonli:

Surprisingly, I haven't had problems with my laptop even though it's on Vista except for now being able to play Shelagh's video files.




Since the latest flash update, many YouTube videos just won't play on my tablet. The video just shows up in a small corner then it freezes. Just some of them, though.



Wondering if Firefox is getting even more bloated than IE, might be time to try Chrome.

Firefox 2 seems to be having issues showing youtubes on Windows in the past few months. We don't have Vista on either machine...



Good evening everyone!



And prolly goodnite.



Trojan, glad to hear you radio is back up and sounding!



Luke was a whiner. Big ass whiner.







Comment by Raine on 11/30/2008 05:48:12
Comment by livingonli on 11/30/2008 07:17:01
I was able to see some of the CBC coverage last night. It seems like people in the Prairie regions where the Tories have the most support wouldn't be down with an ousting of the Government but it seems like in the Eastern part of the country they feel if the Tories won't do anything about the economy they should get the boot.