Thursday, September 18, 2008

East, West, Us and Them, The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Looking to the East

Much of the western half of the United States will miss out on the occultation, as the moon will have already moved past the Pleiades by the time it rises. Nonetheless, the view in binoculars of the moon sitting just below and the lower left of the Pleiades cluster as they come up over the east-northeast horizon late on that Friday evening should still make for an interesting sight.

Looking to The West

Venus returns as evening star

By October 1, it will set about 30 degrees south of due west nearly 75 minutes after sunset. On the evening of December 1, Venus will team up with the planet Jupiter and a lovely crescent moon in the southwest sky right after sundown.
5,000 Year Old Record of Intense Hurricanes

Laguna Playa Grande on the Island of Viequ
Hurricane records extend only as far back as historical texts and modern meteorological techniques have been collecting information about them, which is to say, not very far.

To extend the record past these limited sources, two geologists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, in 2003, began digging up sediment cores from the bottom of Laguna Playa Grande on the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques, which is very vulnerable to hurricane strikes.

Laguna Playa Grande is usually protected and separated from the ocean during storms, but when an intense hurricane strikes, storm surges carry sand from the ocean beach over the dunes and into the lake.

Clues in the dirt

When scientists examined the sediment cores from the lake, the coarse-grained beach sand, as well as bits of shell, stood out from the lake’s normal finer-grained silt--a tell-tale signal that a hurricane struck the island at that point in history.

The 5,000-year record the researchers lifted from the dirt showed large and dramatic fluctuations in hurricane activity, with long stretches of both intense storm activity and quiet periods. The research was detailed in the May 24 issue of the journal Nature.

The team also compared their data to existing records of El Niño and other global and regional climate influences and found that the number of intense hurricanes (those with wind speeds above 111 mph) increased during years when El Niño was weak.

El Niño, characterized by warmer-than-normal waters off the Pacific coast of South America, can fuel winds that shear off the tops of hurricanes, preventing them from intensifying.

Near and Far Side of the Moon

Near, (What we see),and Far,(Dark Side), of the Moon

What would a picture of the dark side of the moon be without a song by Pink Floyd? Us And Them

Galactic Silhouette Seen in Space

In A Galaxy, far, far away...
Until Hubble focused its Advanced Camera for Surveys on the sight in the southern constellation Sculptor, astronomers saw just one single blob in the sky. But the space telescope could make out a background galaxy about 780 million light-years away that is the size of our Milky Way - as well as a smaller, closer galaxy.
BOLIVAR PENINSULA, Texas - Many years from now, a small group of Hurricane Ike survivors will probably still be telling the story of how, on the night the storm flattened their island, they took sanctuary in a church — with a lion.

"Hmmm, look at all the tasty Christians."

Shackle, an 11-year-old African lioness lays on an alter at the First Baptist Church, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008, in Crystal Beach, Texas. The lion and her owner waded through Hurricane Ike flood waters to the church after they were unable to make it off Bolivar Peninsula prior to Ike's landfall.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The full-grown lion was from a local zoo, and the owner was trying to drive to safety with the animal when he saw cars and trucks stranded in the rising floodwaters. He knew he and the lion were in trouble.

He headed for the church and was met by a group of residents who helped the lion wade inside.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
The Tokens-The Lion Sleeps Tonight
I am Loved

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