Saturday, April 27, 2013

Woot for WWPD!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

National Library Week (April 13-20)

Is your library doing anything special for National Library week?  Go check it out!  (-:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Panstarr's Comet

Looking for Panstarrs Comet: Day 1 by Crunchy Footsteps

Looking for Panstarrs Comet: Day 1

It's supposed to be there! Alas, clouds are there, too. (We were between two lines of rain showers) In retrospect, we probably didn't wait long enough, as the sky is still very bright.

This is my dad and Daughter, In Phoenix, Az. That is also me, holding up the sky chart for locating Panstarrs Comet, crafted by Sky and Telescope. I can't find the exact diagram on their website, but here is another one they have provided.

Image made: March 8, 2013

 Looking for Panstarrs Comet: Another Day (March 12, 2013)

Back home again, in our normal nightly routine.  Son and Husband are north of town, I am south of town.  We both spot it via binoculars first, later after sunset than we had been looking before, when it is almost dark.  The boys have the DSLR camera, so they get these lovely shots:

Hooray!  It was a clear night, so we had that going for us.  We also have no city lights to the west, so perhaps we have that going for us, as well.  My dad, 2 big cities to the north, fights 30 miles of city lights between him and the horizon, and has been having a harder time spotting the comet.

Daughter, who was at gymnastics practice, misses out on the comet, but not to worry.....

Looking for Panstarrs Comet: Yet Another Day (March 14, 2013)

So now it is Pi Day, and Einstein's birthday to boot!  Daughter and I were waiting for Son to get off work. 

I got out of the car, just t see if I could spot the comet.  It was 7:15 pm.  I looked, and found it with the naked eye- fading in and out of my vision.  I found it easier to spot without binoculars, once I saw it through binoculars first.  It is tiny without any aid tot he eye. 

Anyway, I had the point-and-shoot in my purse, the binoculars in the back seat, and my pinhole tripod in the back of the car.  I put the binocs on top of the tripod, and the camera lens up to the binoc eyepiece, and got a few pictures of the comet. (using the video viewfinder on the back of the camera)   I was lucky that the comet lined up with an aerostat balloon we have in the sky here, so I was able to find it! (camera was set for ISO 800, 1 second exposure) 

Daughter finally got to see it, and Cavemomma is happy that all the cavefam gets to see Panstarrs, and can mark it down as a science field trip!  

More sightings of Panstarrs to come?

I'd like to shoot the camera through our little telescope, but the comet is getting dimmer.  Maybe there will be no clouds tonight, and maybe we'll have some luck.

Have you seen Panstarrs this week?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hello Dunes, nice to meet you!

We made a really fun journey to San Diego last month for one of Daughter's gymnastics meets.  Along the way, we stopped at the Imperial Sand Dunes, between Yuma and EL Centro, along Interstate 8.  It was just a little one-hour rest break, but I think it was one of the highlights of our weekend!

The Tatoonie scenes of the Star Wars movies were shot in the Imperial Dunes,  which upped the coolness factor for the kids.  This place is so cool, anyway!

Here's some footage I put together, using our point-and-shoot images and video, and also the pinhole images I made there.

If you get the opportunity to stop there sometime, I heartily recommend it! 

This is largely an ATV recreational area, and a week-long permit is required for camping and driving on the dunes.  You can't buy the permit on site- but it must be purchased either in Yuma or El Centro.  We talked to the very nice campground host, who told us that we could briefly visit without the pass, meaning we could walk on to the dunes from the parking area, so long as we did not drive on the sand.  We did this, and had a great awe-inspiring time.

You can also drive down Grays Wells Road to an exhibit of an authentic portion of a wood plank road, which was used from 1914-1927, for the old Model Ts to cross.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2012 DA14 asteroid- learn about this very close encounter with Earth tomorrow- Feb.15, 2013

Watch 3 videos, beginning with one of Bill Nye the Science Guy, to learn the close encounter with asteroid 2012 DA14. If you are in Asia, Australia or Eastern Europe, and know where to look, you can see it with binoculars! Looking forward to any media coverage of the event tomorrow!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

kitchen chemistry- making hydrogen gas...and a bang!

We had a great Friday chemistry experiment-day! We're studying chemical equations, the types that exist, how to read them, balance them, etc.