Tuesday, April 23

3 Years Of The Sun In 3 Minutes

 photo sun.gif

If the earth is important to us for our survival just think what we’d do without the sun. The sun is our daily source of daylight. Sunlight keeps many plants alive by supporting the photosynthesis process and is a major source of Vitamin D for humans.

The sun is the most important object to Earth. Without the sun, life could not exist. There would be no heat, and all of the oceans would be frozen. There would be no light, and all plants would die. There is almost nothing more important to Earth than the sun.

The sun is an averaged-sized type G star and is middle-aged at about five billion years. Yet within our home solar system, the sun contains more than 99% of all matter. As for its size, about 915 Jupiter's could fit in side of it, as could about 1,206,885 earths.

Now NASA is giving us a chance to view something we can’t see for ourselves, our sun in all it’s glory. The Solar Dynamics Observatory has been watching the sun for three years now and this is truly an amazing view.

In the three years since it first provided images of the sun in the spring of 2010, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has had virtually unbroken coverage of the sun's rise toward solar maximum, the peak of solar activity in its regular 11-year cycle.

SDO's Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) captures a shot of the sun every 12 seconds in 10 different wavelengths. The images shown here are based on a wavelength of 171 Angstroms, which is in the extreme ultraviolet range and shows solar material at around 600,000 Kelvin. In this wavelength it is easy to see the sun's 25-day rotation as well as how solar activity has increased over three years.

During the course of the video, the sun subtly increases and decreases in apparent size. This is because the distance between the SDO spacecraft and the sun varies over time. The image is, however, remarkably consistent and stable despite the fact that SDO orbits the Earth at 6,876 miles per hour and the Earth orbits the sun at 67,062 miles per hour.

Such stability is crucial for scientists, who use SDO to learn more about our closest star. These images have regularly caught solar flares and coronal mass ejections in the act, types of space weather that can send radiation and solar material toward Earth and interfere with satellites in space. SDO's glimpses into the violent dance on the sun help scientists understand what causes these giant explosions -- with the hopes of some day improving our ability to predict this space weather.

There are several noteworthy events that appear briefly in this video. They include the two partial eclipses of the sun by the moon, two roll maneuvers, the largest flare of this solar cycle, comet Lovejoy, and the transit of Venus. I included the times below.

This video shows three years of the sun at a pace of two images per day.

00:30;24 Partial eclipse by the moon

00:31;16 Roll maneuver

01:11;02 August 9, 2011, X6.9 Flare, currently the largest of this solar cycle

01:28;07 Comet Lovejoy, December 15, 2011

01:42;29 Roll Maneuver

01:51;07 Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012

02:28;13 Partial eclipse by the moon

More information about this video, as well as full HD version of all four wavelengths and print-resolution stills are public domain and can be viewed and downloaded at:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/...
Sources: YouTube and Internet

Sun photo sol09_small.gif

Saturday, April 20

Earth Day 2013



Earth Day is celebrated just once every year but that doesn’t mean on that day you decide to pick up a piece of trash, say Happy Earth Day and it’s over. That’s the problem with people’s attitudes about the Earth. However immediate action is not always the answer because before action must come understanding.

From space, the astronauts tell us, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide us become less important and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this "pale blue dot" becomes both obvious and imperative.

While there are some groups like “The Overview Institute” spreading the astronauts word about the overview and this need to have a united planetary society I still feel like they are trying to sell space travel more than the ideas behind this exciting effect. Make no mistake they do have a lot of good information to read there.

The group I want to recommend are the “Planetary Collective” the people who brought us the short film “Overview.” They are in the process of making a full length film about the Overview Effect called “Continuum” and this is what they have to say about it.

“The planet is in crisis. The root of the environmental and social crises facing humanity is the misperception that we are separate-from each other, the planet, and the cosmos as a whole. The solution to this crisis can be found in an emerging worldview that points to our interdependence.

The CONTINUUM feature-length documentary will explore this worldview, weaving together perspectives and ideas from some of the key theorists and thinkers in the fields of cosmology, environmentalism, sustainability, social theory, anthropology, and systems dynamics, telling the story of where we have come from, where we are now, and the possibilities for our future.

Featuring TALKING HEAD INTERVIEWS with key experts, stylish and clear MOTIONGRAPHICS, and an innovative VISUAL NARRATIVE the film frames our planetary crisis in a unique way, at the same time showing how awesome our planet is.

Using cutting-edge cinematography and techniques like time lapse, slow motion, and macro- photography, we will build a visual narrative that emphasizes the beauty and complexity of the natural world, the relationship between humanity and the environment, and the inspiring organizations and projects appearing around the world to confront and transform our current planetary crises.”

My hope is when this comes out and people see it at the movies that we will finally have the full awareness it will take for us to bring this new united planetary society to a global reality. 

When I discovered The Overview Effect it was like a door opened in my mind that had previously only been opened a crack and with it came a flood of realization that the Earth was much more than I ever imagined it was. It gave me a new understanding and feeling about the ground I walk on and the world I live in that I’m anxious to share with everyone.

“On the outside, in-between all of us and everything else.” Chris Hadfield

You can start as I did by learning about it. Watching just two videos completely changed my way of thinking about how I look at everything and one of those was “Overview.” Still, the Overview Effect is all fine and well for the astronauts that have experienced it but what about us Earth bound terrestrials?

“We may not be astronauts, and have not yet experienced our planet from space but we are human beings and as such can relate to each other all the experiences that man finds there.” Bekkie Sanchez

The great thing is that anyone can learn about The Overview Effect and once enough people do perhaps we can then demand that the government stop it’s control when it comes to the environment and we can start in earnest to do what really needs to be done to rejuvenate our planet and it’s resources.

I don’t have all the answers to tell you how to start an international planetary society to protect the Earth but it’s imperative that we start to try. I urge you to take the time to learn more about the astronauts point of view and each other. I feel that if more people could find the “Overview” within themselves, then together we can start to create a cleaner and healthier world for everyone.

Earth becomes what it has been since the beginning of time, a small planet with it’s own atmosphere hanging in space with a star warming it’s surface. A planet subject to meteors, the sun dying or even a catastrophe on the surface of the planet like a super volcano. Not to mention climate changes or acid rain.

Mother Earth isn’t called “mother” because she gave birth to us, she’s called that because without her we would all perish.


Thursday, April 18

Earth Day Approaches

 photo original-1.gif

As Earth Day approaches I cringe because I feel we are failing to comprehend the Overview of our planet’s real problems. Yet I have hope that united we can and will work to eradicate those problems.

We must adopt an International effort like we have in space and practice it here on the surface. I feel it could bring about real change that could shape our lives in a positive way.

Without the Overview Effect we do not experience what the astronauts feel. The camaraderie of being in cramped quarters in space is certainly not the same here on Earth. But we can learn from sharing those experiences with the astronauts as they relate them to us.

Never before have we lived in such an age of information with the Internet and Google. Using these tools like a sharp knife one can find such wonders as views of Earth from the ISS, videos of celestial delights from YouTube, 3D digital reconstructions from NASA, Gifs of space and the descriptions of the astronauts themselves that have experienced the Overview Effect.

With so much information at our finger tips we find ourselves making smarter choices about the kinds of things that impact our lives and in doing so live better lives. Unfortunately better lives are not going to save us if we insist on using up everything on Earth.

Living better lives for us should mean we have more time and money to help other’s who don’t or to recycle. That we are out doing what we can to help save animals and teach right from wrong to our children. Unfortunately the people fighting “the good fight” are few and far between. There’s a lot of tongue wagging going around but there are too many people not doing enough.

Take the case of animals in 2013 and this is just the tip of the iceberg.


Unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species-ours-appears to be almost wholly responsible.

So animal’s surely aren’t benefiting from us being smarter and having more technology. And animal cruelty is on the rise. With cutbacks to services emergency support for all animal’s in 2013 is nil. People committing crimes against animals aren’t being prosecuted because there’s no animal officers to even deal with them to get them to court.

I heard about animal’s like dogs and cats being rounded up and eaten in other counties but was shocked to see on the news that a Bay Area restaurant was serving lion meat in tacos and showed people eating it on TV smacking their lips. Another restaurant is serving lion steak and demand is growing.

Can’t anyone see that this demand for lion meat will fuel the lion farms and bring about the end of the lion more quickly? Do we really want to “eat” them into extinction or should we leave them languish in farms where they surely suffer before they die?

This is only one example of the situations we face in the upcoming years when it comes to the Overview of our planet. If we had the sense to not eat the lion in the first place we wouldn’t cause our own problems. This is where I salute the vegetarians of this world.

My thoughts are many and may be wandering around some, but all these things and weigh heavy on my mind as I helplessly watch what’s going on in the world before Earth Day. Sometimes ecologically I feel we have lost our minds as I take in some of the madness.

People are still starving, wars are still being fought, homeless people still sleep on the streets and the rest of us mostly work our butt’s off to survive but watch this video of the Overview from the ISS and tell me it doesn’t move you. That is doesn’t give you hope and make you feel good.

Despite everything I believe there are things we can do but we can’t do them alone. I have to wonder what could it really be like? Can we really do it?

We can sure keep trying!

Earth Day is Monday, April 22nd.

 photo theovervieweffectmascott.gif

Wednesday, April 10

Is Somebody Singing

Chris Hadfield is singing and playing his part of the song in the Copula. The Copula is the round viewing area you see (with the Earth as a backdrop) (above) and where a lot of pictures are taken for us to view.
 photo agbdmisc11.gif

Published on Feb 12, 2013

The Barenaked Ladies, a children's choir, and the commander of the International Space Station. Put them together and what do you get? The first space-to-earth musical collaboration.
The song, "I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) was commissioned by CBCMusic.ca and The Coalition for Music Education with the Canadian Space Agency to celebrate music education in schools across Canada.

 photo agbdmisc11.gif

The words to “ISS, Is Somebody Singing” 

On solid fuel and wires
Turn the key and the light the fires.
We’re leaving Earth today
The rockets burning bright
We’ll soon be out of sight
And orbiting in space
Pushed back in my seat
Look out my window
There goes home

That ball of shiny blue houses everybody anybody ever knew

So sing your song I’m listening out where stars are glistening
I can hear your voices bouncing off the moon
If you could see our Nation from the international space station
You’d know why I want to get back soon (get back soon)

Eighteen thousand miles an hour
Fueled by science and solar power
The oceans racing past
At half a thousand tons
Ninety minutes Moon to Sun
A bullet can’t go half this fast

Floating from my seat
Look out my window
There goes Home (There goes home)
That brilliant ball of blue
Is where I’m from, and also where I’m going to

So sing your song I’m listening out where stars are glistening
I can hear your voices bouncing off the moon
If you could see our Nation from the international space station
You’d know why I want to get back soon (get back soon)

All back and white just fades to grey
Where the sunrises sixteen times a day
You can’t make out borders from up here
Just a spinning ball within a tiny atmosphere (atmosphere)

Pushed back in the seat
Look out my window
Here comes home (ho-ho-home)
What once was fueled by fear
Now has fifteen Nation orbiting together here.

So sing your song I’m listening out where stars are glistening
I can hear your voices bouncing off the moon
If you could see our Nation from the international space station
You’d know why I want to get back soon (get back soon)

You’d know why I want to get back soon (getting back to you)
You’d know why I want to get back soon (getting back to you)
You’d know why I want to get back soon (getting back to you)
You’d know why I want to get back soon

 photo agbdmisc11.gif

This song can put me in a good mood as soon as I hear it, how can it not? This is the only song that describes this experience, The Overview Effect and what it means. Seeing the Earth from the ISS with no boundaries, hanging there so small and fragile in space must be highly emotional. Being on the ISS is an experience not many of us will ever have. It’s important that we have astronaut's like Chris Hadfield to illustrate and share these unknown experiences with us who are forever earthbound. 

“Nature lies deep within the Earth, and the Earth runs deep within our veins. It is the true nature of every atom of our existence.” Bekkie Sanchez

Heaven In A Window photo spacewindow.gif