Monday, September 28, 2015

Local News & TV Station carries some of my Blood Moon images!

It is always a joy to see your pics make it to the public !

KTZV in Bend Oregon

The Bend Bulletin newspaper

Comments or questions are always welcomed (well, as least nice ones)!

NASA Makes "New" Revelation: Mars Has Liquid Water

NASA apparently needs more money.

One way to get it is to get the public press all in a tizzy about something NASA has known for some time: Mars has some kind of "water" on it that produces "flows" under the right conditions.

So how do you get Congress interested? You get the press involved! And you make it "mysterious"! You tell them that on a particular date (today) they are going to tell the whole world of some "fantastic" discovery. So the press goes to work, and speculations run wild: Aliens? Life? Civilization? And all of America is waiting with anticipation...

Then the truth comes out... but not all of it reaches the average citizen and likely never reaches the members of both houses of Congress.

As a result the TRUTH about Martian water is lost in the press headlines (anything to sell a paper, fill up time on the evening news, sell ads on websites) and seldom makes it into the brief paragraph that follows the headline.

Half Truth: NASA says it has found "liquid water" on Mars.

The Other Half Truth: It isn't liquid water as we commonly know it.

  • You can't drink it as it is so laden with minerals and salts. Even our sea water is not embedded with the same level or type of minerals and salts. 
  • Perchlorate is the key ingredient Martian "water" that keeps "water" from freezing in the extreme cold environment of Mars (Summer: -100 degrees F at night and Winter daytime temps: -195 degrees F) And it is poisonous! It's an oxidizer in rocket fuel, but it also occurs naturally particularly in arid environments (i.e. Mars). All kinds of health problems result from ingesting even small amounts of it. Removing it from fairly "pure" water is hard enough.
  • Add to it all the other minerals and chemicals harmful to life, be that plant life or animal life... well, you get the picture. 
  • Any effort to desalinate Martian water would take far more energy than our present desalinization plants do with sea water that is in our oceans, and that is a lot of energy (one reason you don't see a lot of desalinization plants around!) In comparison, our sea water is "pure" by Martian standards and is (would be) far less expensive to build and operate.
  • And if you totally desalinate the Martian water, guess what? It FREEZES, even in Martian summer! And if it does somehow get warm enough to stay in liquid form, the lack of sufficient gravity would cause the water to evaporate and be lost into space. Hmmmm...
So as they say, "Nothing new here. Move along, folks."

The NASA scientists who "broke" the story were careful enough to state the actual composition of the Martian water. The press was not.

Comments or questions are always welcomed (well, as least nice ones)!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The "Blood Moon" of September 27, 2014

This lunar eclipse was a little harder to capture as the Moon entered totality prior to rising above the eastern horizon (the Sun having set only 15 minutes or so earlier in the west). The weather was very cool due to a stiff breeze blowing out of the north. We selected Rosland Elementary School here in La Pine for our viewing point. My goal was to capture the rising Moon next to Paulina Peak. The sky was still fairly bright, no stars, when I finally was able to locate it rising next to Paulina Peak, near La Pine, Oregon. SUCCESS !

Then as it rose and the night sky began to darken I captured it over the peak...

My wife helped me with the photography as we were using three cameras in our "expedition" and this is one she captured showing the wide field of view...

Finally, this image taken with my Bushnell telescope. That is a star to the right of the Moon.

Comments or questions are always welcomed (well, as least nice ones)!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The North American Nebula

Another beautiful evening, steady atmosphere, and perfect for some wide angle astrophotography.
I attached my Canon T3 to an old equatorial mount with a RA drive and was able to take exposures up to about 2 minutes without star-trailing.
Here is a post-processed image of the northern part of region of Cygnus (a.k.a. "The Northern Cross) which has a number of nebulas (reddish) and dark regions which are dust-laden sections in the disk of the Milky Way. Can you spot the North American nebula? If so, the bright star to the right of it is Deneb.
Canon T3, 105 sec at f/4.5 and ISO 1600

Comments or questions are always welcomed (well, as least nice ones)!

The Milky Way - Just another awesome evening star gazing!

Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees.

And I am no exception. I am embarrassed to tell you how many telescopes I have, all of which have different purposes, but all of which look at "trees."

There is something wonderful that is missed looking at (or trying to find) the "trees" (galaxies, nebula, planets, etc.) What is missed is the "forest," that great expanse of the starry hosts, especially when the Milky Way is front and center. There is just something awesome about laying on your back, head up and gazing at it!

Suddenly for all your desire to see other galaxies you finally notice your own! And then you begin to think about just how far you are from the center of your own galaxy and yet, there it is! Then you begin to look at all the individual stars you can see around you and how you are floating on a orb in space, completely surrounded by magnificent suns, burning in a variety of colors. And then it strikes you... that for all the scientific facts we know about these stars which we can see with our naked eye, only the one that is below the horizon, our Sun, has a habitable planet in the "Goldilocks" zone (not too hot, not too cold). And here I am, enjoying the view of the Creator's handiwork, the great canvas of the night sky, not caught up in equipment and gear but simply looking at the "forest"!

This is an 8 minute exposure at ISO 800, f/4.5 wide angle lens. You can see the brilliant star Vega at the top edge) all the way down to the top of the constellation Sagittarius.

Comments or questions are always welcomed (well, as least nice ones)!