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Last night on the anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake, I watched CalTech Seismologist Lucy Jones tell reporters assembled at a press conference that for most angelenos it was a small one. Ha! How I wish I had been one of most angelenos. But I wasn’t. Not by a long shot.
There were two times in my life when I thought my ticket had been punched: that morning 21 years ago holding onto a door jam for dear life while it seemed the world was shaking apart, and a traffic collision I had six months later — which ironically wouldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for quake-related repairs forcing me to relocate temporarily to Van Nuys where I was on my motorcycle when that collision happened… but that’s another story.
In fairness, Jones wasn’t belittling or minimalizing what took place. She was basing that statement on the length of the fault that generated that temblor — 10 miles — in comparison to the San Andreas fault, 200 miles or more of which could rupture — correction WILL rupture. When that event happens it won’t be discussed 21 years later from a perspective of relative percentages impacted. Those of us that survive that eventual catastrophe will ALL be thrust into an exquisite chaos.
The plain truth is that with this certainty, most of us are still woefully unprepared. Maybe we’re gambling that we’ll dodge such a cataclysm in our lifetime, or maybe were deluded into thinking there’s really nothing that can be done and to just roll with what comes when the land rocks. It’s probably a lame metaphor, but that’s a bit like not being able to stop from hopping into a taxi that we know is going to crash, yet refusing to fasten our seatbelt on our way to that potential doom.
Instead put the “do” in doom. Google “earthquake preparedness.” Here, I’ll do it for you: earthquake preparedness. You don’t have to go full doomsday survivalist, but you need to do something/anything. Stockpile supplies and develop a plan that will make the ensuing nightmare a little less nightmarish. Having something as trivial as a few gallons of water, some nutrition bars, spare batteries, flashlights, a transistor radio and first aid supplies will seem like gold when the time comes to need them.
Its a NASA fun event. You know the folks that track a bajillion sattelites in orbit around us taking pictures of us night and day. They have a fun promotion, game if you will for Earth Day today. Take a selfie, post it with the hashtag #GlobalSelfie and they’ll in turn use all of the images into a giant mosaic of earth.
The subject doesn’t matter, mountains, rivers, oceans, forest…just include you with a sign naming your location. The sign can be downloaded in numerous languages HERE. Your snap then can be uploaded to twitter, instagram or google+ with the hashtag and its on it will get captured for the mosaic.
I absolutely think so. Who’s in with me?
The next three weeks are going to be prime, PRIME viewing of comet Ison. Its crossed earth orbit and is racing to the sun for its closest approach on Thanksgiving Day. With proper eye protection it may even be possible to see it as it circles around the sun that day.
Ison is billed as the comet of the century by some. It may or may not depending on whom you talk to, survive the trip around the sun on the 28th.
Griffith Park Observatory still says that most spectacular viewing will be Nov 30-December 14 in the pre-dawn hours. I read earlier today that the best time to view will be about 1/2 hour before dawn. Read the rest of this entry →
Griffith Observatory doesn’t think so. Its still some 6 weeks to peak viewing which is expected around dawn November 30- December 14, but Griffith Observatory already has their viewing guide up.
Thanksgiving Day about 11am Ison will make its closest approach to the sun and may be visible, with the aid of special filters when it is close to the sun. It should be visible most of the day that day. Wow. Am like a kid in a candy store over this one.
Now that prime viewing charts have been established it looks like a sunset view isn’t gonna happen with this comet. Dawn and pre-dawn look to be the best during that peak viewing period. I had thought about going up the 15 to Stoddard Wells for viewing if it was going to be sunset. Scratch that and now looking at points east, say Joshua Tree pre-dawn excursion and set up to capture the comet in its glory as the sun slowly illuminates the horizon? Might as well start planning now before everyone else gets the bright idea to leave the city for best views without the encumberance of light pollution. Who’s in for leaving LA early enough to be in the desert for that with me? I’m thinking the weekend of 12/7-8 as it won’t have the mad hordes of Thanksgiving Traffic and be right in the middle of the best viewing period?
This article was originally published at 8Asians.com and has been reposted here with permission.
While smog is yet one of the many problems afflicting Los Angeles, this blog entry points out that some of LA’s famous air pollution comes all the way from China. According to this report, some days have a third of the air over San Francisco and Los Angeles coming from Asia, and along with it, up to three fourths of black carbon particulate air pollution, among other pollutants. Just how does Chinese pollution get to the US? Is it just the fault of the Chinese?
Some of this pollution begins as naturally occurring dust plumes from the Gobi desert, whipped up by storms every spring and summer. As the dust travels west, it picks ups pollutants as it travels through heavily industrialized parts of China. Those pollutants include the end products of coal burning, a common source of power in China.
While the US may complain about the pollution, it does contribute to the problem. Various loopholes and subsidies are driving up the export of coal from the US and Canada to China, which gets burned and exported back through the atmosphere. The US demand also drives production in some of those Chinese factories.
To me this shows how much the world is shrinking – what happens in one part of the world can unintentionally affect other parts. Our atmosphere is something we all share. While Beijing’s “airpocalypse” may seem far away, it really isn’t. Not only can that pollution reach my family and me here in the Bay Area, but conditions were not much different here some 50 to 60 years ago.
(Photo Credit: Norman Kuring, SeaWiFS Project, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
I’d originally planned to bike up to the Observatory and hike to the top of Mt. Hollywood for a nice vantage point of the shuttle as it did its Los Angeles flyover this morning, but I instead opted just to park a rickety old adirondack chair up on the apex of our steeply pitched Silver Lake roof and camp out there with a camera. And not fall down.
Low and behold, at high noon, that blessed spacebird flew into view atop her trusty 747 transport and accompanied by two fighter jet escorts and literally arced around my gleeful self as if the pilots saw me and said to hell with the Observatory let’s give THAT GUY over their in the chair on that roof a treat.
Of course I hastily snapped off a few frames as I sat gape-mouthed in awe of her relative proximity, the best of which is below when she’s west from me across Silver Lake gulch and over the Micheltorena Ridge and banking southeast to go to downtown. Just awesome (click to enlargify):
PS. I also set up a timelapse cam beside me to autosnap me up on the roof snapping the shuttle, after the jump…
My first effort to document the last transiting Venus that any of us’ll ever see, ain’t much to crow about, but here’s what I got at 3:35 p.m. as the sun shined through my 20X spotting scope onto a piece of paper on my Silver Lake front porch as I took the snapshot with one hand and used my other to give some contrast to the blinding rays reflecting on the blinding paper, while trying not to move lest the scope shake like a polaroid picture.
Annular eclipses are soooooooo much easier to shoot.
UPDATE (4:35 p.m.): Here’s one that’s a bit more civilized after the jump, shot at 4:11 p.m. I’ll add any later ones that might be worthy of sharing.
I got an invite last week to come to a media preview of Time’s Up, the Griffith Observatory’s new planetarium show, so in between Good Samaritan Hospital’s never-miss Blessing of the Bikes yesterday morning and a long-overdue physical exam that afternoon, I biked up the hill to one of my favorite places in Los Angeles to take advantage of the Observatory’s hospitality and see how and why they decided to counter the anxiety being produced by those doomsdayers dead-set in their belief that the Mayans predicted the world to end this coming December 21 and that it’s so going to happen.
The answers are with a provocative and eye-popping new program in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium that opens on the beach next to the Santa Monica Pier, serene for a few moments until meteors start raining explosively down upon the westside, a huge tsunami closes in and a rogue planet grows larger as it bears down on its collision course with earth — accompanied by flying monkeys, of course.
Inside joke: Pictured during this doomsday scene is Lifeguard Station No. 5150. Since most of the station IDs are no more than two digits, I’m betting this was done in snarktastic reference to the police code that’s basically short for bugged-out basketcase kRaAzEe.
But just when all seems lost, Planetarium Lecturer Kelley Hazen steps in bearing a beautifully illuminated and illuminating hourglass to put a freezeframe to all the apocalyptic nonsense and go on with a visually stunning and intellectually compelling show that counters folly with fact and explores what time is all about.
I’m a sucker for a fuller-than-usual moon and couldn’t wait for tonight’s so-called Super Moon to rise high enough to be visible from ground-level in my backyard. So, shortly after it rose tonight, I scrambled up to the tippy-top of my steeply pitched roof in Silver Lake and at 8:54 p.m., put my point-and-shoot camera up to the eyepiece of tripod-mounted 60x spotting scope and shot this frame (click it to biggify):
Yeah, me neither. For being the largest close-approach asteroid in the history of history, 2005 YU55 wasn’t that easy to see when it zoomed its 1,300-foot diameter between earth and the moon through very clear evening skies November 8.
But a Flickr contact of mine, Edhiker, did. Ed’s both an awesome hiker, prolific photographer and a whiz with a telescope, and this is how 2005 YU55 looked passing over Los Angeles via 38 separate exposures made into a 40 second movie showing the asteroid’s movement from 7:20 to 7:23 p.m., 11/8/11.
If the embed’s broken, you can view it here.
Radiation Alert! Want to get a heads up on the radiation fall-out hitting LA right this minute? Check this out! It’s a live streaming radiation monitor set up in West LA so you can see what’s going on at any time of the day or night.
There’s even a chat set up, so you can get answers to all your burning questions.
These guys also get bonus points cuz the device glows in the dark!
April 12, 2011 in Science
In observance of the 30th anniversary of NASA’s shuttle program, the announcement has finally been made. Space Shuttle Endeavour will spend her retirement in Southern California, on display in the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Are we worthy of such a gift?
Endeavour, also known as OV-105, will launch into space on April 29th for its final mission. STS-134 will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. This, in addition to STS-135 is considered to be a bonus flight, as the shuttle program was scheduled to be retired from service after STS-133.
Godspeed, Endeavour. We’ll see you soon.