Posts Tagged With: light

TO TOUCH A FALLEN STAR.

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A friend sent me a gift of stardust for Christmas in a sealed plastic bag.  I sent him a card to thank him and it happened to be one of the cards that was stolen out of my mailbox by kids rifling mail for checks and cash. So, I propped up the card I sent to Guerry and decided to open up the packet and actually touch a fallen star.

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I was surprised at the density of the particles. Hard and brittle with a deep smudgy dust surrounding larger particles. My friend Jan came to help me and touched the dust an anointed my forehead.

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I poured it into a planetary shaped crystal vessel.

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I placed the vessel in one wand of the star above my bar. You can see the smudge on my forehead.

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It was quite pretty. The vessel lit up with the Christmas lights and lo a star has risen. When the sun comes through the windows in the winter months, the crystal full of stardust will catch the rays of the sun. It was fun to do and I’m glad I found an appropriate place for it and that I got to touch the star matter instead of keeping it in a dreary plastic bag. It doesn’t take much to entertain some people.

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VARIATIONS ON A SINGLE DAY.

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We started our day as usual with this same group of speed walkers. They tend to walk in clumps, some ahead and some behind, anywhere from 12 to 15 people. We’ve been joining them about midway since my ankle gave me a problem the first day here. DSC03355 (Copy)

Yesterday, I dropped out after 15 minutes because I wanted to try the Zumba group. It is a 45 minute program on tape. It definitely gives you a cardio workout. I quit after 30 minutes. It basically uses all of my yoga and tai chi moves, only all upright and faster to fun music. It was good.

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Bruce and Pat arrived just before 10:00 for water aerobics. But, they had changed their minds and decided to head home early.

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We said our goodbyes. Bruce and Pat are such fun people to be with. We had a great time. They will visit me in Murphys sometime in March/April. After lunch, Jim and I decided to go to a movie, “The Dallas Buyers CLub,” which he had heard was a good movie. And it was a good movie. It was the story of AIDS patient Ron Woodruff who pushed the FDA to allow drugs to AIDS victims before they were approved. And, he exposed the testing procedures for AIDS as flawed. It was a depressing movie, so we decided to see “Nebraska.” It too, was depressing despite some comedic relief in places. The acting in both movies was great. Can we pick ’em?” I guess I like happiness and joy in entertainment. Our government machinations are already depressing enough.

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The night was so balmy we decided to take a night walk and see what kind of pictures we could come up with in our cameras. All hand-held, no tripods.

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This one reminded me of a little village amidst the palms. I guess it is in a way.DSC03375 (Copy)

This picture was just a black sky with a light streak in it. Adding light gave me a beautiful abstract.DSC03421 (Copy)

This entirely black sky also turned into an abstract with light added. Don’t understand what the lens picks up to allow this to happen.

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As we circumnavigated the park, I aimed at cars and trucks passing on the highway and got their lights streaking by.

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And interesting light shows from lights in the park.

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We peeked in at the evening card players in the recreation hall. Very concentrated on their cards, they paid us no attention.

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People were enjoying the hot tub.

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And a rousing game of water volleyball.

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We keep wondering what our pictures would be like with an expensive camera. Technology changes so fast, it is likely to happen.

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These little yard ornaments came out pretty clear. We had never taken a series of night pictures before. We learned a bit about our camera’s ability. We both own the same Sony,  HX200Z.

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ANOTHER USE FOR A PHONE.

 

My son Ken rolled into Murphys and took me out to dinner last night at the Italian Steak House. They had great menu choices, though neither of us eat steak. He and his wife do meatless Mondays and are very health conscious eaters. Ken has never been on any prescription medicine.

He choose the pine nut and mushroom stuffed ravioli with crimini mushroom sauce and  cheese.

I enjoyed chicken picata and must say, the Steakhouse has wonderful food if you are visiting the area. Great choices. I can remember when you couldn’t find a decent restaurant in the whole county, so it is a treat to have nice restaurants in town.

His visit was just for the day. He got up about 3:30 this morning to go jogging. He plugged in to listen to music on his phone while jogging.  He came back and said, “I forgot how dark it is on a country road without street lights and no moon. I had to use my phone for a flashlight and light my way in the dark.”  My laugh for the day.  He’s turned into a “city boy”.

My road is full of potholes and forced him to walk instead of jog, and enjoy the fresh air and the dark. The dark is seductive and moody and enjoyable, to me. I like getting up in the middle of the night, on occasion, step onto my porch and just listen to the night sounds.

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KITT PEAK NATIONAL OBSERVATORY

When we decided to visit the Kitt Peak Observatory, I thought we would see three telescopes, since there are three tours. This sacred Tohono O’odham Indian land holds 25 telescopes with varying functions. The largest telescope, the Mayall 4 metre is on the right is one of the available tours. New telescopes in Chili and elsewhere have 8 metre mirrors. Technology continues to advance in the making of the mirrors.

The unusual shaped ediface at the top of the photo is the McMath-Pierce telescope that only studies the sun. It is also on the tour.  The Indian Tribal lands on  top of this mountain are ideal for viewing stars; it is quiet, great clear nights, good weather, and close to services, but even better, the area around this mountain is unlikely to be developed. When the tribe was approached to have a telescope built on their land, they declined. The O’odham have lived thousands of years on this land and know the night skies, someone figured. After a look through a telescope they changed their decision to a yes.

A great mosaic on the front of the visitor’s center makes the connection between the Maya and the O’odham, both ancient cultures with great spiritual respect for the stars above them.  The O’odham were smart and will not allow commercialism on their land, no trashy fast food vendors to spoil what is natural, not even an ugly blue garbage can.

No camping is  allowed here.  They expect to be the  first to be hired where qualified. Since the idea for this observatory was organized by an association of astronomers, with little funding, the government got involved. The astronomy done  in many of these telescopes is free to the world. Go to a website and you can see real-time images of what is happening in the heavens and see surreal pictures taken through the telescopes.

Inside of McMath-Pierce, the light enters from the top of the structure and strikes the aluminum coating of three mirrors that bounce and coalesce into a  single image onto an instrument table. Realize that everything in the universe is moving. Thus the image on the table would move. So, the table is mounted atop giant tubes that move in concert with the sun. This is still the largest solar telescope of its kind in the world.

This mirror on wheels is actually a set of three mirrors on wheels mid-way into this 300 foot tunnel. It is difficult to take pictures in this tunnel, but if you have a retired electrical engineer by the name of Jerry, (last name unknown) as your volunteer docent, your tour will be magnificent, humorous and educational.

Our second tour was of the Mayall 4 metre telescope. All telescopes here are set at a 32* angle to be aligned properly with the stars. From this telescope we had sweeping views of the grounds and all the other telescopes  on the mountain. It was exhilarating. This telescope can move and see virtually any angle in the sky.

Unusual on this day, workers were moving a piece of a telescope from Chili into the equipment cage.  The windows were open and we got a terrific view of the process. I was stunned to learn that this huge telescope, the stairs that lead up to it, and all, are not touching the floor. The weight is held by a structure buried into the granite. The building can shake. It is not connected to the telescope, it is a separate structure that envelopes  the scope.

We had our lunch with the blue jays.

We watched about an hour of videos with marvelous pictures of the night sky. I learned about the Arizona University Mirror Lab, where 52,000 pounds of glass is melted into a mirror and takes 3 months to cool before being polished for use in a telescope. One mirror on this site is made from quartz. I’m not very good at technical stuff, but this observatory was a fascinating science. Please go. Take your kids. I never plan to visit a place twice, but I could easily return and do these tours all over again.

 

 

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