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1 December 2022

Mask of the Sun, by John Dvorak

Inspired by How The Mountains Grew, I ordered the rest of John Dvorak’s oeuvre recently. I read the first over Thanksgiving break – a great nonfiction look at eclipses. The basics of lunar and solar eclipses are dispensed with early on, and Dvorak then spends his time on understanding of eclipses in antiquity, the gradual accumulation of insight into the causes and timing of eclipses – thus permitting them to …


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8 February 2018

A spectacular display of Earth science in the Alabama Hills

A detailed examination of an elegant photo of the eastern front of California’s Sierra Nevada, from the perspective of the Alabama Hills. How many different geologic phenomena can be packed into a single image? Let’s find out!


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25 April 2017

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly

I haven’t yet seen the blockbuster movie Hidden Figures, but I’ve heard great things about it. This post is about the book it’s based on, also called Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. It chronicles the work of numerous African-American women at NASA and its predecessor organization, NACA, through the middle of the last century. The book is a robust documentation of these women’s childhoods, educations, motivations, and lives. It …


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23 November 2015

Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

At first, I thought the titular Seveneves referred to fragments of the Moon. It blows up on the first page of the novel – or disaggregates anyhow, into seven big chunks. But these start knocking into one another, breaking off smaller pieces, and these bang into each other, making more pieces. Soon, there are a lot of pieces. Spoilers galore follow, as I feel obligated to outline the scope of …


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8 October 2014

Lunar eclipse images from the past 2 hours

A selection of “moon shots” from this morning’s lunar eclipse is presented.


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14 August 2013

What do you see here?

Any observations? Any subsequent interpretations?


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19 December 2012

The Planets, by Dava Sobel

I got The Planets from the Fort Valley library a few weeks ago, because Dava Sobel wrote it. She wrote the excellent Longitude, and that was enough for me. Also, I’ve been really into astronomy lately. Watching the meteor shower earlier this week was stunning, and I loved training my binoculars on nebulae and stars numerous beyond imagining, littering the dark sky. Plus, the book’s cover was beautiful, and enticing. …


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1 August 2012

Cottonwood trees being consumed by caterpillars

In Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, my students and I camped under the shade of cottonwood trees… But some of the cottonwoods’ branches were looking a little thin… Caterpillars were munching on their leaves. And some trees had been completely denuded by the voracious little larvae: All three photos are taken on roughly the same scale (note the Moon as a reference point in each!).


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12 March 2011

The morning after

A new resource for the Japanese earthquake is online this morning, a “supersite” similar to the ones that exist for other huge events. Checking it out this morning, I found some interesting stuff. Over night, there have been more aftershocks, and here’s the most recent 600 or so events in the area, taken from IRIS’s interactive map. You can see the big circle that represents yesterday’s main shock: Explore the …


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