Polar bear swimming
Hogle Zoo - Salt Lake City, Utah
Clark Planetarium - Salt Lake City, Utah
Yesterday I went to the barber shop to have my hair cut. The awkward silence coming from the barber was finally broken when he asked if I was going to school. I replied in the affirmative. He wanted to know what for. I told him, “I’m a biology major.”
"Oh…. [long, clearly confused pause] So, what do they teach you in biology?"
He changed his question, basically asking why I was going/what I was going for but in a less than concise manner.
Not a word after that. I was too amused to respond after that. If you don’t even know what biology is, I am not going to waste my time telling you what paleontology is.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you: THE FUTURE!
A buoyant plume of smoke rises from a stick of incense. At first the plume is smooth and laminar, but even in quiescent air, tiny perturbations can sneak into the flow, causing the periodic vortical whorls seen near the top of the photo. Were the frame even taller, we would see this transitional flow become completely chaotic and turbulent. Despite having known the governing equations for such flow for over 150 years, it remains almost impossible to predict the point where flow will transition for any practical problem, largely because the equations are so sensitive to initial conditions. In fact, some of the fundamental mathematical properties of those equations remain unproven. (Photo credit: M. Rosic)
I will never look at the smoke from my constant incense-burning the same way.
“Gateway to the Stars” Dec. 7 – The Andromeda Galaxy
Last month we saw how The Great Square of Pegasus can serve as an ideal guidepost to finding other bright stars and deep sky objects in the Autumn sky. This great reference pattern is now high in the south soon after twilight, making it prominent and even more useful. It can even help us find some new objects in the east that signal the beginning of Winter. But before we go there, let’s stay high in the sky where objects look best to the eye and through binoculars and telescopes!
One of the nice features of the Great Square of Pegasus is that one of its stars is shared with another famous constellation, Andromeda the Chained Maiden. If you’re facing south, this star is in the upper left (northeast) corner of the Square, called Alpheratz. Andromeda and Pegasus are both key characters in the Perseus Legend, and recently made even more popular with the Hollywood films “Clash of the Titans.”
Starting from Alpheratz, we’ll follow some relatively bright stars that curve even more northeast to locate a “fuzzy patch” of light known as The Andromeda Galaxy. Sometimes called our “sister spiral,” it is very similar in structure to our own Milky Way Galaxy and represents the closest spiral galaxy to our own. Even at 2.5 million light years away, this galaxy is so huge that it can be seen to the unaided eye under dark skies and can be a memorable sight in binoculars.
The Great Square also makes for a convenient pointer to the east where we can get a preview of stars and special objects to come. The Pleiades are one of those special features. It is probably the most well known cluster in the entire sky because of its prominence in the celestial sphere and in sky lore. It can be found with the naked eye, even in moderately light-polluted skies.
December also marks one of the best known meteor showers next to the Perseids of August. The Geminids peak on December 13 and 14 but the bright moonlight will interfere with the show this year, washing out many of the fainter meteors. You’re best chance of seeing the maximum rate (about 80 meteors per hour) will be from moonset until dawn (3:30 to 6:00 am). We’ll use the Hansen Dome Theatre to show you exactly where to look!
Come and join us this Saturday, December 7 at 6:45 pm in the dome for a special look at the December sky wonders and the best techniques for viewing them! Tickets are $2. Members get in free.
I have a friend that I should get these for. Actually, a couple.
Maybe I’ll just buy a pack and give one to each of my friends. :P
I just saw these the other night. I covet them.