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Day 54 - The Moon

The Super Harvest Moon

I am not going repeat what I already wrote here. A quick synopsis, starting August 1st, 2010 I will publish a picture I take that day everyday for a year (well to be exact I will do this everyday until July 31st, 2011). This is the 54th of those photographs. Also, there is a Flickr collection called “The Awesome Leftovers” where I put the daily shots (if any) that didn’t make the cut.

This year’s autumnal equinox occurred in close proximity with the full moon, resulting in what some call the “Super Harvest Moon.” During this awesome event in nature the moon appears to have a a golden ring around it. What’s more there’s a blazing star like light near the moon. It’s the solar system’s largest planet Jupiter, which just the day before reached its opposition, when Earth passed between Jupiter and the sun. The two are the most illuminated objects in the sky during this event.

The full moon won’t fall on the September equinox again until the year 2029. And Jupiter’s next comparably good appearance on the September equinox won’t happen for another 12 years.

By the way, the sun sets due west on the day of this equinox, the first day of autumn for North America.

I knew 2010 was going to be special.

You know when I took this picture of the moon I had no idea about any of this. I just looked out and there she was.

-Cara

The rest, Day 54 – Upper East Side.

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The Place

The Place

On our way to Connecticut’s Stonehenge, Marine and I passed an amazing solar powered house in the middle of a wildflower field, while in Sachem Head, CT.  One of the best parts of road trips I think is finding these types of hidden places. Marine threw the car into reverse, and I snapped some quick pics. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

The Studio

The Studio

Right Section

Right Section

Panels Close-Up Shot

Solar Panels Close-Up Shot

There were these cool bird houses that seemed to grow out of the flowers, one of the houses I saw had the word “VIEW” etched on it. It makes me wonder, with all this crazy art and such, maybe I have stumble upon an alien colony right here in Connecticut. Someone call Art Bell!

Bird Houses with the Sun Behind Them

Bird Houses with the Sun Behind Them

Bird Houses

Bird Houses in the Sun

View

View

It turns out that it is not a house, but an art studio and garage, built by Eileen Eder, a local artist, and her husband, Andrew, located in the back of their house (which I never noticed). The two completed this barn like studio in November of 2007. It looks like a crazy sort of dark, futuristic barn in the middle of a wild field.

The Field

Part of the Field

According to Solar Connecticut’s web site, the solar panels were installed on the studio’s 60-foot long roof by Aegis Electrical System of Branford. If you’d like to read more about the studio’s solar set-up click here.

It really is beautiful.

-Cara

Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge

In July I wrote an entry about Manhattanhenge. It is a time when the whole of Manhattan becomes its own Stonehenge. You can read more about it here. Marine and I went to check it out on July 11th and I took these pictures around 45th and 6th in Manhattan. A hundred years later, I have finally cleaned up the shots and put them up on my Flickr.  Enjoy the miracle of Manhattanhenge through my eyes.

Look to the sun.

-Cara

The World Wildlife Fund eco-ad thought up by Saatchi and Saatchi, Copenhagen, Denmark, utilizes the movement of shadows on a billboard to demonstrate how global warming will lead to rising water levels with a cut canopy and the movement of the sun.

I love when someone does something different.

-Cara

[Perched over 42nd Street, NOVA scienceNOW host Neil deGrasse Tyson is eager to show you his hometown’s own version of a Stonehenge magic moment.]

Manhattanhedge, why has a super nerd like me not heard about this occurrence till now (thank you Jorge Hernandez)? It happens twice a year over a course of 2 days. The setting sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s city grid of streets. A bit before 8PM on May 29th and 30th in 2008, a ray of sun shoots across the island along Manhattan’s east-west corridors. It lasts until the sun disappears from the sky over New Jersey.

The one we can still catch this year occurs on July 11th and 12th, around 8:25pm. If Manhattan’s grid had been built aligned on the geographic north-south line, then the days of Manhattanhenge would be the spring and fall equinoxes. It occurs on other dates because Manhattan’s street grid is rotated 30 degrees east from geographic north (This last bit of information I learned thanks to Channel 13/WNET).

A bit of trivia you may need in the future, Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson (host of Nova’s ScienceNow), the guy on the video above coined the term Manhattanhedge. You never know around here when that may come up in local bar trivia. :)

Look to the sun.

-Cara

The history of solar power is of interest to me, because again for some reason I have an innate interest in all things solar. In this entry I wrote about some of the forefathers of the solar power movement and in future entries I will bring us up to the present time.

Humans and the earth have used the sun as some sort of energy source since the beginning of time, but it was not until 1838 that Edmund Becquerel observed and published findings about the nature of certain materials to turn light into energy. This in itself did not really create much commotion, but it did bring the thought of harnessing the sun’s energy source to people’s mind.

Thirty years later between 1860 and 1881, Auguste Mouchout, a mathematics instructor at the Lyce de Tours, became the first man to patent a design for a motor running on solar energy. This invention was born out of his his concerns over his country’s dependence on coal. “It would be prudent and wise not to fall asleep regarding this quasi-security,” he wrote. “Eventually industry will no longer find in Europe the resources to satisfy its prodigious expansion. Coal will undoubtedly be used up. What will industry do then?” Well we know what they do, they discover other nonrenewable sources of energy like oil and natural gas to use up, and once that is gone then will we turn to sun and wind for our main source of energy? The issue “they” see with that is they have not figured out a way to turn an obscenely grandiose profit off the sun and air, but I would not worry too much as I am sure General Electric is working on buying the sun as we speak.

Anyway, Mouchout received funds from the French Emperor Napoleon III and with those funds he designed a device that turned solar energy into mechanical steam power and soon operated the first steam engine. He later connected the steam engine to a refrigeration device, illustrating that the sun’s rays can be utilized to make ice, for which he was awarded an awesome French Medal of Super Freshness [I tried to discover, briefly, what medal it was he won, but to no avail, so yes I did invent the French medal of Super Freshness incase you weren’t sure.]!

Unfortunately, his groundbreaking research was cut short. The French renegotiated a cheaper deal with England for the supply of coal and improved their transportation system for the delivery thereof. Mouchout’s work towards finding an alternative source of energy was not considered a priority anymore and he no longer received any funding from the Napoleon V3 [ah, isn’t that the way things go?].

I will end our solar history lesson there for today and hope you have enjoyed it so far, more to follow!

Let the sun shine in.

-Cara


Reason 80 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In the early twentieth century man learned how to extract nitrogen (fertilizer) from the air, cheaply and in large quantities. The discovery ultimately allowed 2 billion more people to inhabit the Earth and has given humans the luxury of feeding crops to livestock. Yet what gives the world abundance has, by way of nutrient runoff and acid rain, poisoned waterways from the Chinese countryside to the Ohio Valley. (Excess nitrogen promotes algae growth, robbing the water of oxygen.) In North America and Europe, lakes and rivers contain 20 times the nitrogen they did before the Industrial Revolution.

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