Watch This If You Are Still Here

   Well, assuming that the world has not ended you may be interested in watching a video produced by the Houston Museum of Natural Science. 2012: Mayan Prophecies discusses the Mayan calendar and the real reason we should learn from the Mayans.
   Click here to learn about other videos and educational products.

   
   
   
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

Saturn Rising

Saturn Meets Venus

   Following its solar conjunction during October the planet Saturn now moves into the pre-dawn morning skies on the western side of the Sun. As the Earth moves along its orbital path around the Sun, the Sun with its apparent motion along the ecliptic toward the east gives the appearance of moving away from Saturn. Gradually the distance between the Sun and Saturn increases resulting in Saturn rising earlier each day.
Try this: Observe Saturn at the same time each morning and you will notice that Saturn is appearing higher above the horizon at the same time.
   Venus is also on the move eastward and since its orbital speed is greater than the Earth and the Sun’s apparent speed it (Venus) will catch up with the Sun in the next month or so. Along the way Venus will pass by Saturn, coming within 1-degree, on the mornings of November 26th and 27th as this animated graphic shows. The graphic is set at 1 frame per day and shows the sky at 6:40 a.m. CST.

   The video below is a clip from a longer one I developed for a Planetarium performance last year. The longer video, Orbit, was part of a series of full-dome videos that were developed to be accompanied by original musical scores written by Daniel Eichenbaum, and performed live by Dark Matter under the 60-foot dome at the Arvin Gottleib Planetarium in Kansas City, MO.



Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.

STEMtech Conference

    At the end of this month the STEMtech Conference will be here in Kansas City. One of my ‘partners’ (Trevor Sutcliffe) and I will be doing a poster presentation about the Ascent high altitude balloon project at the conference. We have prepared a Powerpoint slide show about Ascent as part of our table display. The video below is the Powerpoint presentation set to the music written by Daniel Eichenbaum for the ‘teaser’ video we made prior to our performances last spring. If the video runs too quickly to read the text you could click here to download the PDF version of our presentation.

    What was Ascent? This was a project conceived by Dark Matter, a group of artists, musicians, scientists, and educators, and funded by a small grant written to support a community-involvement project. The Ascent project led to two successful flights of high altitude balloons carrying hi-def cameras and data loggers to altitudes of 16-20 miles. The video and images of the flights, were used to produce full-dome videos that we played on a 60-foot dome at the Arvin Gottleib Planetarium in Kansas City. An original music score was written by Daniel Eichenbaum and performed live during the videos.
    A fun follow-up was to fly another balloon from the Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City Royals) during a science show put on by one of the local TV stations. We broadcast live video from the balloon that was then shown on the jumbotron screen periodically during the program. That balloon and eqipment went missing however. The GPS signal stopped during descent so while we have an idea of the area where it landed we have not found it yet.

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.