Frost Flowers

Our temperature dropped down into the low 20′s last night so I thought our area would be ripe for frost flowers (first freeze of the season, after having had some rain this week. Sure enough there were a bunch of them – a few right in our back yard! They are very rare and short-lived and a real cool phenomenon of nature. Frost Flowers on Wikipedia The last time we saw frost flowers around here was in December 2004: Christmas Eve 2004 Frost Flowers.

Gravity Waves – LIGO Gallery

I had previously written on “The Nature of Gravity”. The National Science Foundation is building actual devices to measure gravity waves using laser interferometry which can be viewed in this slide show. Although they haven’t detected the gravity waves yet they have made a discovery about the Crab Nebula.

“The Big Picture” Features Martian Photos

The Boston Globe online runs an excellent photo blog called “The Big Picture”. It features amazing photographs of various subjects. This particular photo essay features a series of photos about Mars and its atmosphere: Click Here to See Martian Skies The photo of the earth and moon from Mars is particularly good. You can see all of the photo essays from this link: The Big Picture One thought on ““The Big Picture” Features Martian Photos”

Cool Illusion

The following link shows a cool visual illusion involving the shading of squares A and B that appear to the mind to be a much different shade. It’s hard to believe but they are exactly the same shade of gray. Checker Shadow Illusion

The Nature of Gravity

The Mice - Intersecting Galaxies Gravity has been one of the bigger mysteries to man. Isaac Newton’s attempts to understand it spawned a new branch of mathematics and a better understanding of mechanics. Einstein explored it in his unified field theory and warned others to stay away from such a tough problem. One concept that is interesting is “What is the speed of gravity?”. In a thought experiment, if something very massive suddenly appeared in the vicinity of Pluto’s orbit, would it take four hours for the Sun’s gravity to have an effect on its motion (four hours is the amount of time light takes to get to Pluto from the Sun) or would it be near instantaneous?

NASA WorldWind

NASA is providing a free and interesting computer program called the WorldWind. It allows easy viewing and zooming in on satellite images. It also has features to show effects of climate and humans on the earth as well as allowing some 3D rendering. The effect is kind of like flying around the earth and zooming in on things. Some of the fun is seeing how your town looks from space.

Frost Flowers on Christmas Eve

We were taking a drive around the neighborhood today and noticed a strange phenomena in a field under an oak tree. There were a lot of white something-or-others attached to the plant stalks. Cheryl thought it looked like a bunch of styrofoam in the field. I got out of the car and walked up to one of the plants and realized it was ice attached to the plant stalks!

Cloned Cat Running Around Big D

From the we need this like a hole in the head department, a service that used to offer commercial pet cloning: Genetic Savings and Clone. The first taker was a lady in Dallas that paid $50,000 for a clone of her cat. It makes perfect sense that the first case was from Dallas. I can picture her at the Junior League meeting, telling her colleague, “Well Buffy, I guess your cat will have to be content with being stuffed.

Buzzard Tower

This tower is about four miles from our house and is the favored roosting place for the neigborhood buzzards. They fly over to the tower just before dark and settle in for the night. There were at least 100 of them on the tower when this picture was taken and probably more by dark. They got a little startled when I walked over to the fence to take this picture and some of them flew off and landed back on the tower, as shown in the picture.

Geminids Meteor Shower Peaks Monday Night

The Geminids meteor shower should put on a good show Monday night (12/13/04), so check it out if you can. It will appear to emanate from the Gemini constellation which is to the left of the familiar Orion constellation. Around 10:00 pm CST Gemini will be to the east-northeast, about 30 degrees up in the sky. See the star map below as a guide to viewing. Saturn is also visible just below Gemini.