mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

There will be a total lunar eclipse tomorrow night. The entire eclipse will be visible from anywhere in the Americas and Europe. Here on Whidbey Island, the eclipse starts at 7:33pm and ends at 10:50pm; totality runs from 8:41 to 9:43pm. This is going to be a glorious eclipse. According to Astronomy Picture of the Day, the next total lunar eclipse visible from anywhere on the planet will be on May 26, 2021, and will last 15 minutes.

Details, and times for your location, can be found at: Total Lunar Eclipse on January 20–21, 2019 – Where and When to See

ETA: of course, this is the Pacific Northwest. It will probably be raining.

Earthlight

2007-01-21 09:45 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

On the way home from dinner at Spencer's with the [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat I saw a beautiful crescent moon with the rest of the disk clearly visible, lit by earthlight.

Largely as a result, I've had "The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens" running through my head most of the evening except when I was mixing tracks.

I saw the new moon late yest'reen
Wi' the auld moon in her arms
And I greatly fear, my master dear
That we shall come to harm.


I'm specifically hearing Buffy Sainte-Marie's version from Little Wheel Spin And Spin, accompanied by mouthbow. Been a while since I played that album, but it's the sort of thing that sticks with you.

Hail Eris!

2006-09-14 06:30 am
mdlbear: (iLuminati)
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Astronomers name 'world of chaos'
The distant world whose discovery prompted leading astronomers to demote Pluto from the rank of "planet" has now been given its own official name.

Having caused so much consternation in the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the object has been called Eris, after the Greek goddess of discord.

Eris is larger than Pluto, which put scientists in the fix of having to call them both planets - or neither.

Both bodies have now been put in the new classification of "dwarf planets".

Eris' discoverer, Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology, told the Associated Press that the name was an obvious choice, calling it "too perfect to resist".
(From [livejournal.com profile] gridlore and [livejournal.com profile] khaosworks.)

Somehow I always pictured Eris as being taller. (Waves at [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf.)
mdlbear: (space colony)

The committee of the IAU that was studying Pluto's status has finally announced its new definition of "planet" (it will be voted on next week). It's simple, straightforward, sensible, hard to argue with -- and it would mean that the Solar System will have 12 known planets.

According to the IAU's press release (thanks to this article in Scientific American's newsblog for the link) the definition reads:

A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.

There is also a new category of "plutons" -- small planets that orbit with periods of more than 200 years. There are three of them so far, with more expected.

So, here's the list you've all been waiting for: )

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