Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I'll probably hide in my basement tonight with the lights off, since I failed to get candy, and what is the point of buying a huge bag for about 7.5 kids that show up?  That stuff just isn't as good tasting as it used to be.
I saw this photo on Phil Plait's blog and liked the pumpkin, just thought I would share this one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In Seattle, every clear night is a special night.

Finally had a break in the weather last night.  Didn't last too long, but enough for a midnight peek and get a few shots of Jupiter last night.  Skies were very stable probably about 8/10 if I can rate our skies.  Grabbed some videos of Jupiter while I could.  I was going for some more as the red spot rotated around the side of the planet, but then it all went dim on my screen.  Leaned out the door and peeked up and saw some wispy cloud gunk had gone between me and Jupiter.  Decided to quit at that time and send my data into the house for processing.
Pretty happy with the results.  This was probably the best of the few that I tried last night, but I can usually improve processing when I try it when awake - rather than at 1:45am.
Io is the moon that can be seen just to the left of the planet.
(click for bigger)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not much change in about 40+ years.

I was at mom and dad's house this afternoon digging through dad's ties trying to find something that would possibly look good for an interview this week (already nervous about this).  I thought I would paw through some of the old slides to see what was in there.  Found a few photos of myself that were kind of fun and thought I would share them.  A little embarrassing maybe, but then I guess I'm still pretty much the same after 40 years.
The first photo is me sitting in the first officer's seat in a 747 that I got a tour of.  Dad and I were in the YMCA "Indian guides".  I wasn't wearing my feather and leather vest at this time.
The father of one of the boys in the tribe(?) was a pilot and flew this plane.  We all got a tour of it and I was totally impressed.  Funny thing I remember was that the dad had a thumb that was stubby, it was cut off in the past, but not sure how.  Still they let him fly a 747 even with a stub!
My interest in the manned space program is evident in the next photo.  This was back in about 1971, probably around the time Apollo 14 was going to the moon.  I was quite impressed with the missions and followed them closely while in my jammies sitting on the living room floor. I did have a few plastic models including the now valuable "Gulf Oil" LEM cardboard model which hung from the ceiling lamp in my bedroom.
So as you can see in this photo, I was simulating my own landing mission on the moon in the living room.  Obviously, I was the commander of the mission and my sister was lunar module pilot and lying down on the job.  I had the proper paper helmet, and a PLSS on my back ready for the EVA on the moon.  From the serious look in my face, I was probably dodging a boulder filled crater that the computer was trying to set me down in!
(Click the photos to see full size)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Expedition 31 crew photo and poster.

I always enjoy NASA's new sense of humor in the crew "movie posters".  Seems that the official crew photo this time has some Van Gogh in the background.
Too add a little more to the fun, I spotted a Cherokee 140 down at Boeing Field late this last summer, which also had similar artwork on it's tail. I wasn't sure at first about the logo on the vertical stabilizer  but after seeing photos from "Burning Man" I realized that this plane was a participant in the desert festival.  That could be a fun trip down there an land in the desert, but not really sure if I'm into running around naked wearing nothing but paint and cardboard covered with feathers, bubble gum and rubber bands (just made that up, but you know what I mean).  If you ask me, I think a plane like that is just asking for the dreaded FAA ramp check!

Summary of all shuttle flights.

There is a new document out to test out the ink on your color printer if you want.  I'm sure you can burn through most of your colors if you want.  NASA has published a pretty nice 300 page document in .pdf format that is free for download. It contains a summary of each of the shuttle flights in about 2 or 3 pages each.  Timelines, photos and other goodies.
|Click here to download it (36 Meg .pdf file) |

Friday, October 7, 2011

Enceladus showing off.

The fountains of Enceladus. A pretty photo from Cassini that was just released. (Click for bigger)