Monday, February 19, 2018
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Saturday, February 17, 2018
I remember as a kid going to the Hayden Planetarium where they had painted the skyline from Central Park around the edge of the dome and watching a star show (years later I returned to listen to Pink Floyd and watch lasers). Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows today's sky over New York City: a few scattered star trails and a lucky ISS pass, but the lights drown out all else!
Friday, February 16, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a bit of a puzzle. Can you spot Comet C/2016 R2 PanSTARRS? You probably could if this was a "naked eye" view through a low power/rich field telescope, but thanks to the light-gathering power of the digital camera used, the sky is almost "too busy" to find the comet. (Hint: examine the lower left corner!)
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Seeming to be skating on an ice rink, today's Astronomy Picture of the Day actually shows Enceladus (and those jets of vapor!) and the rings of Saturn. Caught in "saturnlight" is another moon, Pandora. Image courtesy of the Cassini orbiter.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
I will say more when I can, but yesterday we had to say goodbye to our friend Mocha. My heart has broken and I can write no more. Born 2006 (our guess), adopted 2008, died February 13, 2018.
All our dogs have been rescue dogs: Java, Saffron, Cosmo, Mocha. All were wonderful dogs. Do a rescue dog a favor. Adopt a lonely rescue dog.
It’s difficult to talk about it. She developed what is called a “soft tissue sarcoma”, essentially a cancer inside a bone. It’s a very bad cancer in animals, life expectancy is very short, even with aggressive treatment such as chemotherapy and amputation, neither of which was really recommended for her at the point we finally figured out what was going on.
She had trouble walking, until she developed a way of doing a “bunny hop”, we also had a sling for her to get up and down the steps, made four beds for her in various rooms so she could lie down wherever she wanted to, bought a lot of high-end food (she lost about 40 pounds before we figured out a combination of drugs and food to counteract the pain and the way the disease was eating into muscle mass), and had her on several different pain medications.
It was clear as of last week that we were talking days, weeks if we were lucky, not months after we had our last conference with the vet. In fact, to be honest, at that point they were amazed that she had lasted that long.
The weekend had more drama in the extended family. And even more drama by today, so, I went home at noon to make sure Mocha was all right and to give her the noon prescription.
When I sat down next to her, I noticed an odd smell, then looked at her leg and saw that a patch we had noticed there had turned into an infected area, specifically gangrene. Which is hard enough to treat normally without a person or an animal being as sick as she was. She was also panting heavily and shivering, seeing that she was on so much pain medication already, I knew that she must have hit a new level and even six different prescriptions were useless.
So, we called the vet’s office and brought her over. They couldn’t have been nicer (we’ve been going there for about twenty years, this is our third dog who has been a patient of theirs). They had a room prepared with blankets to make her comfortable and explained the procedure and gave us time to say goodbye.
This is the first time, other than a week between Java (our first dog) and Saffron (our second), that we haven’t had one or more dogs in the house. They’ve all been great dogs, but Mocha was very special to us. She had a wonderful personality, was always happy, always wagging her tail, even at the sickest, in the most pain, and to the end.
It’s been very hard to handle.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Monday, February 12, 2018
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Love it or hate it, there seems to be no middle ground. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is the payload for the test of SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy launch vehicle: a Tesla Roadster (with an instrument panel reading DON'T PANIC in large, friendly letters) with a mannequin named Starman.
Friday, February 9, 2018
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day comes courtesy of the far-sighted Hubble Space Telescope: NGC 7331, a magnificent spiral galaxy in the constellation of Pegasus (well suited for early evening viewing in the northern hemisphere).
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is one of those you see and have trouble grasping because of the visual confusion. NGC 474, an elliptical galaxy, seems to emitting shells of matter. What causes this? (Zoom in on the image: how many other galaxies can you spot?)
Monday, February 5, 2018
Sunday, February 4, 2018
Saturday, February 3, 2018
No, today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is not the title of a new work by Gene Wolfe. Instead we have a sequence of the eclipsed Moon (from January 31) passing near Praesepe (Messier 44), popularly known as The Beehive.
Friday, February 2, 2018
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the launch of Explorer 1 in 1958. Explorer 1 was not only the first successful satellite launched by the United States of America, but the first purely scientific vehicle, starting a long line of more Explorers, Pioneers, Vikings and more.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Monday, January 29, 2018
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Friday, January 26, 2018
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows ESO 350-40, popularly known as The Cartwheel Galaxy in the constellation of Sculptor. It's distinct look is thanks to a collision, which has rippled through and distorted the spiral into a ring.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Monday, January 22, 2018
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Friday, January 19, 2018
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings a dramatically new look to an old friend. Combining data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, take a look at a video which creates a flight through the Great Nebula of Orion!
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows IC 1396, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula in the constellation of Cepheus. The nebula is a complex of cool gas and dust, stretching over 50 light years, and is a site for stellar formation.
Monday, January 15, 2018
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings the arch of our own home galaxy, the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (satellite galaxies to our own) and close visitor, Comet McNaught, over the skies of Patagonia.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
While it may be getting routine for some viewers, today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a sight that still thrills me. The launch of a Falcon 9, and, in the same frame, the successful landing of the first stage for reuse.
Friday, January 12, 2018
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 2623, a pair of galaxies undergoing a vast and slow collision. Also known as Arp 243, this object has been studied to see what happens during such a cosmic catastrophe.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Possibly due to it's less than prominent place in the sky for amateur observers, today's Astronomy Picture of the Day, planetary nebula NGC 7027, hasn't been tagged with a popular name. Taking a look at this image from the Hubble Space Telescope, what would you call it?
Monday, January 8, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us a "denser" look at Messier 31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Reddish clouds of ionized hydrogen surround the galaxy, amazingly (to me), called "interstellar cirrus clouds"!
Sunday, January 7, 2018
Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Tethered Satellite System 1, an attempt to use a tether going from the Space Shuttle Atlantis to a satellite. What would such a thing be used for? Possibly (at the large scale) a space elevator. Or generating power. Changing orbits. Cleaning "space junk".
I think my first encounter with tethers was in the science fiction of the late Robert L. Forward, who even had a company exploring the concept.