We’re off tomorrow morning to Dallas for a couple of days of sightseeing, then, Tuesday night, we see The Police. This is the second big reunion tour I’ve been excited about recently, the first being The Pixies a couple of years ago. We saw them twice. It’s only a matter of time before The Lovely Wife and I find ourselves at a bar inside a Red Lion or Holiday Inn, happily listening to a Cure/New Order cover band, reminiscing about how good music used to be while drinking well drinks and chain smoking. Oh yes – I will be smoking. I’ve only quit until my 60th birthday. After that I fully intend to smoke it up until something else kills me.
Archive for June 2007
Want to know when a spacecraft will be flying over your city?
Why, yes, of course I do.
Depending on your location on the Earth’s surface, the spacecraft’s position in orbit and the time of day, you may be able to see either the space shuttle or the International Space Station, or both, as they orbit about 386 kilometers (240 miles) above the planet.
Sold. Sign me up.
Select your country to find out: Link
And if, like me, you don’t really want to take the time to figure out the output, with all its talk of degrees and such, use the applet and it’ll make a little map for you. Like this:
Not sure where to find those constellations? Stellarium is…
…a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
It’s also awesome. Set your location and see the sky in realtime, or adjust the time to see where things were or will be – or just make things go fast to see ’em move. Click on any object in the sky, and it will tell you what it is and give you its location and distance. Zoom in on something like Jupiter and it’ll show you where its moons are, or zoom in on something like the “Wild Duck Cluster” to see if you can figure out why it’s called that. (I couldn’t, but it was still awesome.)
So now you’ve been looking up at the sky for awhile, and maybe you’d like to visit? Celestia lets you…
…travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy … across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across.
Still interested in the Space Station, I typed in ISS and flew to it. You can follow your selected object, zoom in and out, move around it, speed up time – you name it. I flew with the Space Station over Japan as the sun came up on Earth with the Milky Way in the background. I’ve used the word too much in this post already, but it was AWESOME.
Ten years ago I was downloading astronomy pictures from text links on the web, ten years before that I was looking through a card catalog to find books that had astronomy pictures in them, and ten years before that I was drawing pictures of the Death Star. (That last one, though, was probably more a function of being 7 years old than the result of limited technology.) Here’s to the next ten years.
I really haven’t been paying attention for quite a while, but, according to the widget on my computer, today makes 500 days of not smoking. With an average of 20 cigs a day at $5.50/pack, that’s a stunning $2750 that I haven’t spent on 10,000 cigarettes that I haven’t smoked. To commemorate the day, and really much more because of the new gallery integration, I give you the past.
Ok, I think this is it for now – if for no other reason than I’m tired of messing with it. Click on things, look around, tell me if anything doesn’t work…
Test image above.
I’ve finally gotten around to updating my WordPress and Gallery installations. Things will be changing quite a bit as I work out how everything will fit together, which means if everything looks like crap, give it a day or two…