Total Solar Eclipse – TODAY (March 8th) and Aug. 21, 2017

Hey! Quick post here (as I have to get back to real work).

Did you know there’s a total eclipse of the sun today at 7:37pm EST. No, it’s not here in the U.S. (not yet -see below), but in southeast Asia. But you can view it live in a number of places on-line including here and here. And here’s the narrow path of today’s totality:

03-08-16-A

This map may not be that exciting as your location isn’t on it.

How about this map from a different site:

03-08-16-B

Yes, it’s the path of totality for the “Great American Eclipse” on August 21, 2017.

It’s been a long time since a total solar eclipse passed right over most of the U.S., so make your plans now and follow the new countdown clock on this blog!

UPDATE @ 8:20pm EST

Here’s the photos of the eclipse from the Slooh stream from Indonesia (in order from start to finish):

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Watching on NASA’s streaming channel and waiting for the eclipse from Micronesia….

 

 

 

 

On-Line Catholic Faith & Science Course Starts February 9th

A brief post to let you know about a unique on-line course starting next week. The website bills it as:

The first 100% online course of the Catholic Church on the dialogue between Science and Faith. Provided by specialists it is easy to follow and uses the latest e-learning methodology.

Under the Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture

It’s not free (like most MOOC’s), but there is a discount based upon country of residence. And I imagine most schools, churches, dioceses, etc have reimbursement plans for Continuing Education Units and similar.

 

Astronomy Treat This Week – 5 Planets & A Comet!

A quick post today about something exciting (and rare) happening in the sky this week.

As reported by CNN, early (45 min before sunrise) risers will be able to see 5 planets in the sky simultaneously. Here’s the overview:

From January 20 to February 20, you can see five planets spanning the sky together just before dawn: Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter will all be visible about 45 minutes before sunrise.

This is the first time all five of the so-called naked-eye planets have appeared together in the pre-dawn sky in more than a decade, according to Sky and Telescope.

The group got the name “naked-eye planets” because you can see each of them with your own eyes — you don’t need binoculars or a telescope.

I’ve blogged about astronomy and the cosmos previously. I strongly believe that the cosmological aspect of creation one of the most awesome revelations of God. As the popular song proclaims: “The Heavens are telling the glory of God…”

Merry Christmas – Fear Not! Peace! Hope! Joy!

Yes, this blog has been silent for quite a few days. I fell behind in assessing and publishing my sophomore students’ blog posts (for both their midterm and before it) and vowed to not post on my blog until I completed theirs. I tied the bow on their posts a few minutes ago, so it’s time for my Christmas wishes.

While it’s the season of peace, hope and joy, there’s been a lot of fear going around this year – even during the month of Advent. As a reminder about why a follower of Christ shouldn’t fear, here’s the beginning of Bishop Robert Barron’s reflection for today, Christmas Eve:

The first Christmas homily ever given was spoken on the Judean hills surrounding the little town of Bethlehem: the annunciation of the angel to the shepherds on Christmas night.
The first thing the angel said was “Fear not!” How that phrase echoes up and down the Scriptures! When a being from a higher dimension breaks into our world, he typically says, “Do not be afraid.” Paul Tillich, the great Protestant theologian, commented that fear is the fundamental problem, that fear undergirds most forms of human dysfunction. Because we are afraid, we crouch protectively around ourselves; because we’re afraid, we lash out at each other in violence. If Christmas means that God is with us, that God is one of us, that God has come close, then we no longer have to be afraid.
How can we experience peace during a time of conflict, strife and “terror?” Taking a different view of our home helps me to rest in faith about the peace of creation which was “In the beginning” and to which Christ is returning us.
I feel moved and inspired by the stunning image of the earth rising from the moon which NASA released today (pictured above). Please take a moment to visit the link as there’s more to the image than I could capture above.
As for hope, I’m inspired by this story which was making the rounds on the internet this week. I quote it here in full from Time:
A group of Kenyans traveling by bus refused Islamist terrorists demands that they identify themselves as either Christian or Muslim in an act of defiance that reportedly saved lives.

According to BBC, militants boarded a bus in a small border town and requested the passengers divide themselves up by religion. The passengers refused, the BBC reports eyewitnesses say, telling the terrorists to “kill them together or leave them alone.”

Officials are looking into whether the militant group al-Shabab is responsible for the attack. Two people were reported to have been killed in the attack, but officials say the militants ultimately left after the passengers banded together.

Also today President Obama and Vice President Biden released on Spotify their “Holiday Playlists” While listening to President Obama’s, I discovered this wonderful song of hope by the legendary Stevie Wonder, which was originally released way back in 1967.

Here’s the lyrics, composed during another time of fear, anger and uncertainty:

Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys
Playing with bombs like kids play with toys
One warm December our hearts will see
A world where men are free

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars
When we have learned what Christmas is for
When we have found what life’s really worth
There’ll be peace on earth

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas we’ll see a Man
No hungry children, no empty hand
One happy morning people will share
Our world where people care

Someday at Christmas there’ll be no tears
All men are equal and no men have fears
One shinning moment my heart ran away
From our world today

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas man will not fail
Hate will be gone love will prevail
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart

And for the joy….so much to be joyful for today. But for me (huge listener of Spotify), here’s my top reason — I CAN FINALLY STREAM THE BEATLES!!!

I hope your Advent of waiting was fruitful and rich.

May your days of Christmas (the season continues until January 10th) be blessed and full of much faith, peace, hope and joy!

Friday FunLink – Images: Stars and Star Wars

It’s Friday again and most exciting event of the week was the release of the full Star Wars VII trailer:

As of this posting, it has only 38,331,374 views. And I’ve contributed at least ten of those!

Less noticed this week was the release of the biggest, widest, largest high-res photo of the universe ever taken. One of the 268 combined sections:

Star Image

The special on-line site to scroll through an interactive version of the full image can be found HERE.

Soon after I posted the Sun(Fun)day link on the new Star Wars poster, I discovered a great companion site. Here you can “watch Star Wars evolve through its spectacular history of posters” It’s worth a look. Aside from the original teaser poster (above) here’s a few of my favorites:

Star Wars Class - 9

Hey – I have a T-shirt with this on it!

Star Wars Class - 8

Ahh…so gloriously low tech. And check out those action figures!

Star Wars Classic - 5

I’ve always thought this was the most dramatic and gripping of the main three posters. And only 55 days until Star Wars VII hits the theaters!

 

 

 

The 30 Most Iconic Images in Space Travel History

Last Sunday was the Super Moon with the full lunar eclipse. Here, it was sadly too overcast to see it when it reached the peak at about 10:15 pm. It was a good occasion for me to post a video of the moon moving in front of the earth. 

This Sunday, in addition to being the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, is the anniversary of the first satellite launch in 1957. It was Sputnik, launched by the Soviets, and the opening salvo of the space race.

To remember that historic day, I share this eye-popping article from Time which displays the 30 most iconic images (in their opinion) in space travel history. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to enjoy some famous firsts as well as extraordinary views of the universe we call home.

My three favorites are:

The photo above – The First Photo of the Earth, 1966; On Aug. 23, 1966, the world received its first view of Earth taken by the Lunar Orbiter I from the vicinity of the Moon.

Space Photo 2

Saturn, 1973 Pioneer 11, launched by NASA on 6th April 1973, returned the first close-up pictures of the ringed planet Saturn.

Space Photo 3

Mars Rover Selfie, 2015; NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover captures a selfie to mark a full Martian year — 687 Earth days — spent exploring the Red Planet.

The Moon Passing in Front of the Earth (Taken from 1 million miles away!)

Tonight, Sunday, in about 25 minutes, the Moon will be in the Earth’s shadow.  If the clouds are parting here in Central Ohio (I need to go outside and see), we’ll witness a total lunar eclipse of a relatively rare Super Moon.

The live shot at Time’s website shows this image at about 9:32pm EDT:

Super Moon Eclipse

So, I thought this to be a good time to share an even rarer site – the moon passing in front of the Earth – as recorded from a million miles away! You can find the website with description of the special event over at PetaPixel. The video itself is here:

 

One of the really interesting things about this is that the view is of the rarely seen reverse or “dark side” of the moon.  Enjoy the lunar spectacle!