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!
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.
Allow you me this story. Apparently I don’t search hard or well enough. When my 12-year-old favorite pair of sunglasses broke at the frame just above the nose piece in 2000 I did what I thought was my best to seek out a place to get them fixed. I failed. Every place from Lenscrafters to the jewelry repair guy my mom swore by said “nope,” in part because they were just a pair of off-the-shelf frames I’d purchased during a mostly senseless spree at Needless Markup back in the summer of Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Eight. The so-called experts would look at the glasses, look at me, and tell me either it wasn’t possible or occasionally they’d say how much they’d need to overcharge me to maybe make it possible.
Facing an amount that was more than the shades cost new, at one point I even bought a soldering gun and sat there with the thing in one hand and the spool of metal in the other trying to convince myself I could somehow immediately acquire the skills required for such pinpoint detail work. Wisely I put down the gun and stepped away from that fiasco-in-waiting before I could entirely fubar them. Instead, I put them away where they lived with a sliver of hope in a series of drawers.
Why? Well the broken glasses became somewhat representative. I won’t bore you any more than I already have with the details of their symbolism other than to say they cracked at a time when a lot of other things broke — most of them intangible stuff like relationships and dreams, but all of them pretty much beyond repair. Suffice it that Y2K may not have fucked up my personal computer but it wreaked havoc on my personal life, and out of that annus horribillus these beloved glasses became one of the few things I could fix — or so I’d hoped. And hoped. And hoped.
And hoped. Fast-forward to this summer when it had been literally four or five years since I’d given the glasses a thought and Los Angeles magazine’s “Best of LA” issue arrived. Flipping through it I found a write-up extolling the miracle work done by a humble gent who goes by the name Paul Gross in his humble hole-in-the-wall on Wilson Avenue in the Jewel City and I thought my long-dormant prayers had been answered — except when I went hunting for the shades they weren’t a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e to be found and I became dejectedly sure it was because at some point a few years back I’d extinguished that flicker of hope kept burning for so long and pitched them in the trash.
So after posting yesterday about last night’s expected cellestializations, I had this crazy ideato set up my DSLR up on the roof, point it at the northeastern skies and leave the shutter open all night or at least for as long as the camera’s battery held out, in what ended up being a really lame attempt to capture however many meteor tracks might shoot across the frame.
Ansel Adams I am not. I’m more like Edsel Adumbs.
But before that ultimate fail I adjourned myself from the finale of “So You Think You Can Dance” (don’t judge) to climb up on the roof at around 8:30 p.m. and point the cam at the marine layer-free skies to the west and get the following shot of the meeting of Moon, Saturn, Venus and Mars (click to biggify). It ain’t all that grand either, but bear in mind I got the shot balanced precariously atop our steeply pitched roof. In flip flops. Annotations included thanks to SkyVoyager, the absolutely awesome astronomy app for iPhone.
Annotations included thanks to SkyVoyager, the absolutely awesome astronomy app for iPhone.
Are the stars out tonight? They should be — and in a pretty big way — if the muzzafuzzin’ summer-stealing marine layer parked off the coast for far too long this season doesn’t roll in after sundown and eclipse the view.
Chances are you’ve heard we’re in the midst of the annual Perseid meteor shower, which stargeeks are gleefully reporting is going to super freakin’ awesome this year with visibility aided by a lack of lunar glare. What you may not know is that an opening act has been scheduled prior to that main event tonight, an astromonical equivalent along the lines of the Fab Four reuniting. Namely Venus, Saturn, Mars and the crescent Moon will be found gathered in a tight 10-degree circle to hang out and beam together at us in the western sky between sunset and about 10 p.m.
Then the Perseid party starts and goes on until dawn — unless the celestial bouncers can’t keep the marine layer literally at bay. Assuming things stay clear, experts are saying observers can expect to see dozens of debris trails per hour. One report says as many as 60 an hour might be visible, while still another that number at 100. Golly! Do I hear 200?
NASA Astronomer Dr. Tony Phillips writes: “The Perseid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 133 years the huge comet swings through the inner solar system and leaves behind a trail of dust and gravel. When Earth passes through the debris, specks of comet-stuff hit the atmosphere at 140,000 mph and disintegrate in flashes of light. These meteors arecalled Perseids because they fly out of the constellation Perseus.” And if you’ve read your Graves’ “The Greek Myths” (or fine: seen either version of the “Clash of the Titans”) we all know who Perseus was… son o’ Zeus, Medusa killa, rescuer of Andromeda. But I digress.
The constellation Perseus will take its place above the horizon in the northeastern skies after 10 p.m. and between then and dawn closes in on the sky’s zenith. Happy shooting-star gazing.
About the photo: No, that image has nothing to do with a meteor shower. That’s a timed-exposure (about 30 minutes) I made of stars tracking over the Last Chance mountains, taken last November in the pitch dark from a position beside Death Valley’s Eureka Dunes. It looks like night in broad daylight because the landscape and mountains were illuminated by the moon’s light coming from behind the camera (click to biggify). I briefly toyed with the idea of grabbing a flashlight creating a goofy light trail by running out a 10o yards and back but I decided it might disturb the sandworms. And we all know that’s never a good idea.
A few weeks ago I alerted our next-door neighbor that what had started off as a few bees had blossomed in short notice into a small colony that had been busy under a roof eave making his house their home. I told him I don’t have a problem with them but that if he did an option would be to call Backwards Beekeepers to remove and rescue them rather than have them exterminated by some heartless giant-mallet-wielding pest control company.
In the weeks since the neighbor has opted to let the bees be bees, which is totally awesome — especially since my little backyard patch of Great Sunflower Project sunflowers will be blooming any day now. And extraspecially that the hive — now huge compared to its humble beginnings — has basically come outside for reasons unknown to me (the heat, maybe?) to literally hang out in a giant writhing mass of honeybee orgyfication, a wall-to-wall portion of which you see above (click here to view emBEEgified version) who didn’t mind at all that I got my camera all up in their beeswax.
This Thursday, March 24th from 6:00-7:30pm, head over to the Venice Library to have a good look at the night sky. This is the last visit of the year for the Sidewalk Astronomers who will be setting up several telescopes and helping the public figure out what all those twinkly lights in the sky are.
Having spent the vast majority of my nine lives bridging December 31 and January 1 with far too much alcohol-fueled revelries, I’m now settled in as one of them New Year’s Eve stickinthemudgeons — a quiet cat who doesn’t see much use in greeting the first day of the new year hungover to all hell. Thus, I was up at an otherwise indecent hour this morning to greet the new year and say farewell to the blue moon that graced our skies from the end of 2009 to the beginning of 2010.
Though some rogue cloud cover and an approaching dawn threatened to come between us, finally at 6:13 a.m. the veils parted:
With our country’s huge budget deficits, I’m surprised that few people have suggested that the federal government sell some product or service to raise cash. It could be some no-brainer business that’s guaranteed to make money, such as running an Apple store or a food truck on Abbott Kinney or … a trash hauling company?
Perhaps the feds are doing just that, as the photo at left indicates. Outside my home, not far from Abbott Kinney, sits the latest model dumpster from NASA.
Tomorrow night is the Longest Night of the Year to snuggle up to someone warm.
The Solstice is exact for us here in Los Angeles at exactly 9:47 AM this Morning. It’ll be the shortest day, and the longest night of the year. And that’s pretty much the story for the whole hemisphere.
But in L.A. it’s at exactly 9:47 AM.
See, my Pagan sensibilities come with a certain amount of anal-retentiveness. My Astrological curiosity comes with a little exactitude, ya dig?
I mean, y’ever wonder exactly when sunrise and sunset happen on a particular day? Maybe exactly when a New or Full Moon is? Ever find yourself trying to do the math from Greenwich Mean Time, and wondering whether you needed to subtract an hour or not?
Okay, probably not. But for all you amateur astrologers out there who aren’t ready to invest in their own telescope, or all you fledgling vampires out there who want to avoid bursting into flames or looking conspicuously sparkly, a few links for current Los Angeles data:
So, there it is. All the Loony info you need. Now if I’d just tell you something useful, like when it’s okay to park in a green zone. (Never, that’s my space on Sunday!) But that kind of thing only happens once in a Blue Moon.
Which, incidently, occurs this year on New Year’s Eve. (At exactly 11:13 AM)
I am constantly in a state of delight living in Los Angeles. We have glorious weather, groovy people to hang with, an open minded populace and pretty much the completely fun urban experience.
Still, it’s nice to get off the grid sometimes. In fact, I’ve decided that about once a week, I need a sojourn into the wild to keep my sanity intact. So this past weekend, Dan the man and I packed up some supplies and hit the road to Joshua Tree National Park for a little stargazing.
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend. New Moon situation, so the starlight was blasting in full force. Warm, balmy weather, so even at that high altitude it only got nippy at 4am or so. But, oh! The STARS!!!!! We discovered a whole new universe.. or many of them, exploding up there. Seriously, there were more meteor showers than I could ever count. Either that or we have some crazy UFO’s doing light shows up there.
You couldn’t look up for more than a minute before catching a cascade of swirling light. And the cool part…. on new moon weekends, they have actual star parties in Joshua Tree. Astronomy societies come up there with big ass telescopes, and other ardent star gazers contribute their scopes. So everyone parties and looks at the amazing sky. But even without the telescopes it’s awesome! I highly recommend checking it out. It’s completely free (okay, there’s a $15 admittance fee to the park, but well worth it) and it’s ridiculously beautiful. And romantic. And calming. And the dawn is absolutely stunning too! Just sayin’. We are lucky to live in LA next to such a treasure.
Have a decent sized telescope? Turn it toward the moon Friday morning at about 4:30am, when NASA will crash a pair of orbiters into the south pole, and you may be able to see the resulting plumes of dust.
The NASA exercise is intended to determine is water is contained in the moon’s soil.
No Public Viewing of Moon Impact from Observatory
NASA’s LCROSS mission, searching for water ice, will culminate with two lunar impacts near the Moon’s south pole at approximately 4:30 a.m. PDT on Friday, October 9. The impacts may be visible with a telescope. However, due to the very early hour, neither Griffith Park nor the Observatory will be open for public viewing.
As of right this moment the Mount Wilson Observatory is still standing though flames are very close and people are extremely worried. This webcam shows the Observatory and surrounding areas (though the cam is going down frequently due to overloaded servers) which as you can see are fairly flame covered. As you probably know the MWO is over 100 years old and extremely important in the history of Astronomy including much of the observations and discussion that formulated the Big Bang theory. On Twitter, Xeni Jardin has been posting constant updates on this specific structure and the fires nearby. Keeping my fingers crossed.