Well, I’m preparing for my last night of work at the VIS. Apologies for the dearth of posts recently, but the last week before moving will do that to you. Or at least it does to me.

I picked tonight as my last night of work partly because I’m flying out to Oregon on Friday and wanted a few days to put things in order, and partly because it seems pretty cool to wrap things up smack in the middle of the prime viewing spot for a total lunar eclipse.

I packed (comparatively) clean Carhartts and some creature comforts, and will be starting work tonight (27 August) at 6p and going through until about 4a tomorrow (28 August). The slow lunar eclipse will begin at about 11p here, and the darkest bit comes at about 12.30a. Not the zippiness of solar eclipses, but neat nonetheless.

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Well, no tsunami yesterday, completing the trifecta of non-disasters. The potential here was anulled rather quickly, but it took a while longer to clear things in Chile. We did, however, have another earthquake last night. This one was centered, as nearly as I can tell, just a few miles northwest of our house. Also, again last night the clouds were at just the right elevation to be spectactularly illuminated by the 21 July fissure.

And another thing. . .

15 August 2007

Oddly enough, while I was writing the last post about earthquakes, a m7.5 occurred off the coast of Peru, prompting a potential tsunami message. Then two more near-m6 earthquakes in Peru.

Here we go again.

Anybody on this island looking for inspiration for literature from the natural world will not lack material for the latter half of August.

Beginning with the Perseid meteor showers starting sometime around 8 August and peaking on 12 August, there have been several routine (in the geologic or astronomical sense) yet remarkable (in the participant or observer’s sense).
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In distinct contrast with the school cancellations for snow when I was a kid, I have now had a free day from work due to a hurricane. Of course, that merely frees me to go to another job where I will probably spend most of my time either waking up early to inspect the road to the summit or standing in the rain telling people that said road is closed.

We’re a pretty self-sufficient county, in general, and Harry Kim’s background in civil defense may be what makes him so good at the competent-yet-understated messages whose absence so plagues most of the U.S. during natural disasters. Granted part of our self-sufficiency results from our utter lack of infrastructure in many places (those of you who have been to my house can now start laughing). But still.

I have a suspicion that we’ll lose electricity and possibly phones for a while, but I’ve got enough propane to keep my ice cream and beer cold, and what else do you really need?

Wonders of nature

12 August 2007

Last night at work we had customarily clear skies and a pretty good crowd for the Perseid meteor shower, which peaked in the early morning hours today (HST). The shower was good but not spectacular: without trying particularly hard I saw about a dozen meteors, including a couple of near-bolides. I saw a few meteors as Perseus rose on Friday night, too, and we’ll probably see more tonight as the shower tapers off.

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Seeing In the Dark

8 August 2007

Just finished watching Seeing In the Dark, a new PBS documentary by Timothy Ferris, based on his book of the same name. The documentary was very good, with understated Jon Lomberg-style fly-throughs and some realistic telescope images of planets (although mini-Ferris in the 1956 Florida segment has some kick-ass optics to see Mars so well at what must be about five ten airmasses).

Many of the people and places are familiar to me, if only by association and not direct introduction. Unfortunately, it seems that Meade product placements–at least 3–outpaced Mauna Kea references–only 2 that I could find (I’m assuming it’s the same VIS t-shirt several times).

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