Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy and Prosperous Lunar New Year!

Or: 新年快乐 and 恭喜发财 (mostly just to see if I could cut and paste these characters—it works!) in the year 4707, 4706, or 4646. So many calendars, so little time ...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

One Down, Only 35 To Go ...

And that's just for the the Sandpipers!
Dunlins (Calidris alpina) at Slaughter Beach, feeding on reefs of the sandbuilder worm, Sabellaria vulgaris

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Running out Winter

Winter's settling in: leaden sky, low, filtered sun, and persistent, penetrating chill. Even so, the days are getting longer, and last night's full moon near-perigee was impressively bright for those who could see it. But it's not astronomical spring until 7:44a EDT on 20 March (11:44 UT (USNO AA Earth's Season's). We switch to daylight time on the 8th, the second Sunday in March.

In the meantime, Venus dominates the evening twilight, we miss two eclipses (an annular eclipse on the 26 Jan and a penumbral on 6 Feb), and in February, we experience the first of the year's three Friday the 13ths.

We're in a comet-dry spell, but our observing luck may be improving. This winter's big event looks to be a relatively bright comet, denoted C/2007 N3 Lulin, which may be visible to the unaided eye around its closest approach to Earth on 24 Feb, well placed for viewing in Leo. ... Watch this space and hope the weather holds!

Leap-Second Update

One GPS (the least expensive unit as it turn out), showed 18:59:59 for two seconds. To be continued.

In any case, it's a lot more fun and far more useful to geotag photos with GPS tracks. Uncovering a workflow in OS X (a decided preference) has been a wild-goose chase, but the end is in sight. More track and photos this week.