Saturday, February 2, 2013

Birds in Dual-Pol, KMLB

We had a nice ascending bird flock over the St. Johns basin at sunrise. Look at the upper right frame where Dual Pol differential reflectivity (Zdr) shows strongly positive values (red/pink) indicating horizontally aligned reflectors. Birds with extended wings in flight. Correlation coefficient (CC) values showed larger variation supporting non-uniformity in the sampling, also reasonable with non-meteorological biological echoes.

Pyrocumulus near HGX Radar

Here is a view of a pyrocumulus cloud - formed when rising air warmed by a wildfire rises to the point where the water vapor in the air can condense out and produce clouds. This fire was located near our office Saturday afternoon and is shown on our local KHGX radar and GOES weather satellite imagery as well.

NGC 4372 and the Dark Doodad

The delightful Dark Doodad Nebula drifts through southern skies, a tantalizing target for binoculars in the constellation Musca, The Fly. The dusty cosmic cloud is seen against rich starfields just south of the prominent Coalsack Nebula and the Southern Cross. Stretching for about 3 degrees across this scene the Dark Doodad seems punctuated at its southern tip (lower left) by globular star cluster NGC 4372. Of course NGC 4372 roams the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy, a background object some 20,000 light-years away and only by chance along our line-of-sight to the Dark Doodad. The Dark Doodad's well defined silhouette belongs to the Musca molecular cloud, but its better known alliterative moniker was first coined by astro-imager and writer Dennis di Cicco in 1986 while observing comet Halley from the Australian outback. The Dark Doodad is around 700 light-years distant and over 30 light-years long.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Remembering Columbia

Photo of Ilan Ramon
10 years ago today I remember waking up early excited to catch another landing. I tuned in to NASA TV and started the VCR. Littler did I know that 26 minutes later the shuttle Columbia would break up over Texas. Even today I still can't believe it happened, let alone that it's been 10 years! The Columbia was my favorite shuttle as a kid. When it was destroyed and crew lost, I followed the investigation from day one. I will always remember that day and that crew. Never forget them.

Hail Columbia and her crew!

NASA and the world lost seven brave explorers on Feb. 1, 2003, when the shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry. In this photo from a roll of unprocessed film recovered by searchers, the STS-107 crew strikes a flying pose for their traditional in-flight crew portrait. Top row, from left: David M. Brown, mission specialist; William C. McCool, pilot; and Michael P. Anderson, payload commander. Bottom row, from left: Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist from the Israeli Space Agency. Image Credit: NASA + Flash Feature: Day of Remembrance

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Remembering Challenger

The NASA family lost seven of its own on the morning of January 28, 1986, when a booster failed, causing the Shuttle Challenger to break apart just 73 seconds after launch. The crew of STS-51-L: Front row from left, Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair. Back row from left, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

The Challenger 7
CNN was the only news network at the time broadcasting the launch of STS-51L. If you click the link you can watch the launch as it happened. Launch coverage begins about 1:15 into the video.

  Later that evening President Reagan addressed the nation regarding the loss of the Shuttle Challenger.

"We'vegrown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We'restill pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers..."
"...We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them,this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped thesurly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
                         -Ronald Reagan