Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stardust and Raindrops

**Second update 11:21PM 6/24/2014: See below.**

IMPORTANT UPDATE 2:45AM 7/10/2011: See bottom of entry


This is a time lapse of 30 hours of night sky images set to haunting music taken bduring 2009 and 2010 from the southern coast of Australia looking over the Southern Ocean. Many stunning Southern Hemisphere objects are visible including the Milky Way (inner core of our Galaxy), the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud satellite galaxies, the Southern Cross, Canopus and other celestial soda pop treats ...

This was the July 4, 2011 APOD and was dubbed Ocean Sky and was taken and posted on Vimeo by Alex Cherney.

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Meanwhile, back here on Earth in my little fly speck corner of it:

The evening sky above Washington, D.C., as seen from the 1600 block of P Street, NW, 7:54PM, July 8, 2011. It was quite a tropical sky after earlier heavy rainfall around the region (a lot of which, OF COURSE, missed D.C. proper -- see below for discussion).

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I had gone to a solo dinner at the Thai restaurant Bua on P Street, and even though it was a relatively healthy one, my metabolism, level of physical exercise (with 14+ hours per day spent in a cubicle or in front of my computer at home), and liquor intake are such that I have gotten basically fat.

**Updated 11:22PM 6/24/2014: Content removed.**

Dinner table at Bua, Washington, D.C., 7:30PM, July 8, 2011.

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I just don't know how to break out of this pattern. If I got fired, I'd leave D.C. very quickly and go down to Florida with my dad, but that would raise a whole host of separate issues.

Oh, yes, I was going to go to my other favorite place last night but opted not to. The third time might not exactly be the charm.

Evening sky above the intersection of 16th and R Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 7:59PM, July 8, 2011. I love that top turret on the corner house and here how it appears all cloaked in summer greenery.

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So as noted, we had some heavy rainfall around the region yesterday although THIS FRICKIN' PLACE:

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), the climate station for Washington, D.C., and the city itself, managed AGAIN to have the least of anywhere in the extended region.

It has been this way ALL THIS YEAR AND LAST YEAR.

**Updated 11:21PM 6/24/2014: Content removed.**

Consider the following numbers through midnight:*

*That is, through the end of July 8, 2011.

Notes:

1. "MTD" is "month-to-date" and "YTD" is "year-to-date" for 2011.
2. Numbers in parentheses are normals for the 1971 - 2000 period (the updated 1981 - 2010 should soon be available from the National Weather Service).
3. 2010 YTD refers to the year-to-date at this point last year.
4. R: Daily record.

DCA
Day: 0.60"
MTD: 1.54" +0.63" (0.91")
YTD: 16.89" -3.18" (20.07")
2010 YTD: 13.60"

BWI
Day: 0.83"
MTD: 1.48" +0.52" (0.96")
YTD: 21.27" -0.43" (21.70")
2010 YTD: 19.16"


IAD
Day: 1.27"
MTD: 1.51" +0.55" (0.96")
YTD: 20.55" -1.29" (21.84")
2010 YTD: 18.00"

Expanding out to look at other climate stations to the south:

CHO (Charlottesville, Va.)
Day: 1.07"
MTD: 2.15" (No normals available)
YTD: 23.56"
2010 YTD: 17.91"

RIC (Richmond, Va.)
Day: 1.72" R
MTD: 3.14" +2.01" (1.13")
YTD: 22.00" -0.43" (22.43")
2010 YTD: 17.62"

And now looking at climate stations to the north and east:

ACY (Atlantic City, N.J.)
Day: 2.28" R
MTD: 3.25" +2.39" (0.86")
YTD: 22.40" +1.54" (20.86")
2010 YTD: 24.49"

PHL (Philadelphia Int'l Airport)
Day: 1.48"
MTD: 1.51" +0.44" (1.07")
YTD: 21.60" -0.21" (21.81")
2010 YTD: 22.50"

NYC (Central Park, New York City)
Day: 0.40"
MTD: 1.24" +0.08" (1.16")
YTD: 29.54" +3.92" (25.62")
2010 YTD: 27.66"

SO!


Central Park has had 12.65" more precipitation than National Airport in 2011 and last year had had 14.06" more at this point. D.C., though, HAS HAD more frickin' humidity and gunkiness. Naturally, this situation titillates Sterling (LWX).

On a related note, I sometimes LOATHE Washington, D.C., and regret coming here 19 frickin' years ago, and I CAN'T WAIT to move away to a cooler, wetter climate. Or maybe just back to New Jersey, but it would have to be South Jersey by the shore.

Washington, D.C., is often a miserable, soul-destroying, vicious place that is the insular imperial capital of a swiftly declining late stage empire. I often wonder how long I'll be stuck in D.C.

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Let's go into the way-forward machine ...

An aerial view of the remnants of the National Mall and Washington Monument in old Washington, D.C., May 23, 2614. (Actually, it's a screen shot from the "Life After People" series episode "A Capital Threat" and purports to show D.C. 600 people after humanity abruptly vanished.)

Rising sea levels in a significantly warmer and more humid world (sorry, GOP Teabagger fundie-crazies of the early 21st Century but global climate change came and it was highly disruptive to civilization) slowly inundate the Mall area of the old and now mostly abandoned American Imperial Capital City.

Overgrown ruins of the U.S. Capitol Building. I believe this is a scene from the 1976 movie Logan's Run.

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In the early 27th Century, the ethnic American locals -- dubbed derogatorily as the "Staytsers" by the dominate Chinese Han class living in the urban centers of Balmer and Philietown-- still refer to the place as "DeeCee Town" although it isn't actually a recognized city anymore but rather an unincorporated part of Bethesda Township, Murland Canton in East Atlantica Province.

Overgrown Lincoln Memorial as seen in Logan's Run.

The locals are still trying to get the Imperial Government to spend the money to put a seawall around the site and clean it up and recognize it for its glorious past.

But in the early 27th Century, the Seat of Empire is located 10,000 miles away on the other side of the world in New Qingdao and the current Shindao Sung dynasty has little sentimental feelings for resurrecting any physical aspect of the crudely militaristic, always troublesome, and just-better-off-vanished medieval American Empire.

"Sandman" Logan 5 and Jessica 6 wander through the abandoned ruins of the National Mall in the movie Logan's Run.

Everything that the Imperial government wants the public both in the empire itself and its far-flung territories to know about the former In-Christ-Jesus - Confederated States of America (ICJ-CSA) -- in particular the ethnic Americans who still live in its former geographic territory rather than having joined the multiple diaspora of the 23rd and 24th Centuries -- is already available on the vids, homograms, and other instruments of literature taught in schools and placed in libraries.

The Party Line remained: These "Staytsers" were little better than Stone Age barbarians at their so-called "height" and are far better off today under the firm but always wise hand of the Eternal Middle Kingdom.

This place is still in existence in May 2614 in Old DeeCee Town near the Doopont Flower Meadow & People Park. Imagine that. Someone else took the picture and sent it to me.

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OK, it's time for me to return to the present. My visit to the early 27th Century is ended.

The Moon Gate Garden in the Smithsonian Haupt Garden, Washington, D.C., 6:08PM, July 6, 2011. Yes, I can walk through here on my way home from work if I choose.

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The remainder of this entry is what I started to post last night but never finished it so I'm instead "reposting" it today. It is a series of astronomical images (which included the time lapse night sky video above). Here are some additional astronomical images ...

A montage of black and white images of the with dazzling Alpha Centauri binary / trinary system Alpha Centauri A (i.e., Rigil Kentaurus) and its nearby* Alpha Centauri B companion (the two form one ball of brilliance in this image) as well as what is actually the closest star to Earth after the Sun, Proxima Centauri (noted by the arrow).

These were featured in the July 3, 2011 APOD. Click on link for larger versions.

Alpha Centauri A and B system is located on average 4.37 light years away from our Sun, but Proxima Centauri -- a red dwarf that is not visible with the naked eye -- is actually 4.12 light years away. It may form an extended trinary system with A and B.

*They orbit about a common center about every 80 years and are at an average distance of roughly the Sun to Uranus.

This image is an artist's rendition of what our Sun would look like in the night sky from a planet in the Alpha Centauri system. It would appear just to the left and below the flattened "W" of the constellation we see as Cassiopeia ("Queen of Ethiopia and Mother of Andromeda") as a +0.5 magnitude star.

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Closer to home (but still a long way away) and returning to the weather theme ...

Behold the mighty "Great White Spot" (or "Great White Oval") now visible sprawling across an entire latitude belt in the northern hemisphere of the gas giant Saturn as seen in this Cassini image on Dec. 24, 2010.

This is a raging storm that has developed in the past year -- possibly due to Saturn's current position in its orbit with the planet's northern hemisphere in summertime. Saturn has periodic "Great White Spot" flare ups (this is not the first one but it is quite a large one).

The storm also has intense electromagnetic radiation associated and massive lightning discharges associated with it -- or as the USA Today article MADDENINGLY misspelled it "lightening" (I hate that mistake -- it's one that a 10-year old should make, not a major newspaper science reporter).

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Here is a really close up image of the leading edge of the "GWS" taken by the little Cassini probe on Feb. 26, 2011. It was included in the July 8, 2011 APOD.

Cassini is dutifully and faithfully orbiting mighty Saturn, "Lord of the Rings", taking so many amazing images.


Speaking of which, here is another really cool video on Vimeo showing various, very sped-up footage taken by Cassini since 2004 set to haunting music called Ghosts I-IV (by the group Nine Inch Nails). The video is called CASSINI MISSION and was posted to Vimeo by Chris Abbas. This was the June 13, 2011 APOD.

The white color is believed to be associated with plumes of warmer, moisture "air" carrying ammonia molecules into the cloud tops.

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And with that, I shall end this entry. Tonight I think it will be Nellie's with Gary (I was there with Kristof last night) and perhaps down to the Mall tomorrow for the last part of the Folklife Festival with LP.

My next update will be around Tuesday or Wednesday.

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**Updated 11:21PM 6/24/2014: Content removed.**

--Regulus

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