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    Google Homepage ~ May 17, 2017

    Antikythera mechanism
    Generally referred to as the first known analogue computer,[26] the quality and complexity of the mechanism's manufacture suggests it has undiscovered predecessors made during the Hellenistic period. Its construction relied upon theories of astronomy and mathematics developed by Greek astronomers, and is estimated to have been created around the late second century BCE. In 1974, Derek de Solla Price concluded from gear settings and inscriptions on the mechanism's faces that it was made about 87 BC and lost only a few years later. Jacques Cousteau and associates visited the wreck in 1976 and recovered coins dated to between 76 and 67 BC.

    A schematic representation of the gearing of the Antikythera Mechanism, including the 2012 published interpretation of existing gearing, gearing added to complete known functions, and proposed gearing to accomplish additional functions, namely true sun pointer and pointers for the five then-known planets, as proposed by Freeth and Jones, 2012. Based also upon similar drawing in the Freeth 2006 Supplement and Wright 2005, Epicycles Part 2. Proposed (as opposed to known from the artefact) gearing crosshatched.

    This reminds me of bicycle gearing, both internal planetary hubs and external derailleurs and gears. You can see were I might get my celestial mechanical fascination from, in relation to bicycles. Fascinating in deed!

    The waning crescent Moon hangs low with Venus and Mercury at dawn.
    (The visibility of Mercury is exaggerated here; binoculars will help.)

    Monday, May 22,2017

    Look east in early dawn Tuesday morning for Venus with the waning crescent Moon, as shown above. And can you make out Mercury yet? (In these scenes, the Moon is always shown three times its actual apparent size.)
    New Moon is on Thursday, May 25th, 2017. This is another lunar cycle closer to the Great Solar Eclipse of August 21st, 2017. The alignment between Sun and New Moon is getting tighter and tighter with each successive cycle, with three cycles to go. Let's hope for clear skies. (see above posting of April 2nd, 2017)
    The sky has cleared and we may get a nice sunset this evening. Hopefully the low clouds don't roll in over night.


    Friday, June 9
    This evening, look for Saturn a few degrees to the right of the just-past-full Moon. They rise, together with Scorpius, in the southeast, just after sunset, and then transit from east to west over the course of the night. Watch the Moon pull a bit farther away (eastward) from Saturn as they cross the sky together through the night, setting in the west as the Sun rises in the east.
    The full Moon of June is traditionally called the Strawberry Moon or . . . (wait for it . . .) the Honey Moon. Perhaps because it rides low across the sky, where summer haze may turn it honey-yellow all night.
    Wednesday, June 14
    Saturn is at opposition tonight. For just a few days around opposition, Saturn's rings turn a little brighter than usual with respect to Saturn's globe, a phenomenon called the Seeliger effect. It's caused by ring particles backscattering sunlight toward the Sun (and, right now, Earth).

    Cassini’s Grand Finale Orbits Set to Begin

    I remember the planing, building and then 20 years ago, the launch of Cassini. What a trip and talk about a Viking Funeral!
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2017
    WANTED: For the downtube on my Stumpy and in the style likeness of the "StumpJumper" logo below, a "TrumpDumper" decal set.

    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2017
    Shady John:For everyone who has climbed Nate Harrison Grade:

    A friend of ours did some archaeological excavations of Nate's home in grad school.
    • CommentAuthorShady John
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2017
    Why we shouldn't complain about having to fix a flat:


    The Tea Pursuit, which aimed to test one’s mettle while holding a cup and saucer on a moving bicycle…
    (Ah, the places you'll go with a bike share!)
    The Chap Olympiad

    Splendid group of eccentric Brits, the world’s best dressed, descend on Bedford Square Gardens for Britain’s most eccentric sporting event. A midsummer ceremony, celebrating the weird, wonderful and wacky. A day-long celebration of diversity, set to the backdrop of a traditional summer garden party with a roster of live entertainment including eleven Olympiad games. The Chap Olympiad is designed to reward panache rather than sporting prowess and the games require the minimum amount of physical exertion. Not since the days of Bee versus Pigeon Racing during the Victorian times have so many befuddled anarcho-dandies and gin-addled punks been gathered together under one parasol.

    The Chap Olympiad — A Very British Day Out

    (Seems quite the "tweedy" event!)
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2017
    Riding the Burke-Gilman trail today ...

    Burke-Gilman trail
    • CommentTimeOct 6th 2017
    I often travel by a combo of train+bike. Today Oceanside to UCLA. Two train trips, two bike rides to get there.

    Wish there was a navigation app that supported that sort of thing.
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2017 edited
    Shady John:Google Maps? Choose the "transit" option:,+South+Tremont+Street,+Oceanside,+CA/University+of+California,+Los+Angeles,+Los+Angeles,+CA+90095/@33.6452239,-118.4758115,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m18!4m17!1m5!1m1!1s0x80dc6e3a306243af:0x39d056e74bd8bf5!2m2!1d-117.3792197!2d33.1929342!1m5!1m1!1s0x80c2bc85f05c0f65:0x25a993585c134837!2m2!1d-118.4451811!2d34.068921!2m3!6e0!7e2!8j1507539600!3e3

    It doesn't support mixed mode.

    By mixed mode I mean this:

    Oceanside to UCLA.

    Amtrak->2 mile bike ride to the Metro Exposition Line->Metro to Westwood->3 mile bike ride to UCLA.

    It won't plan that route. You have to do it manually.

    Oh, FYI ... track incident on the LA->Orange County line. The train home was delayed by over 5 hours. I got home at 3:30AM.

    The waning Moon passes Mars, Spica, Jupiter and Venus during dawn these mornings.

    Venus (magnitude –3.9) and Jupiter (magnitude –1.7) rise in Virgo during dawn, with brighter Venus on top. Jupiter starts the week too low to see at all, but by the morning of November 11th it's just 2° below Venus.

    As dawn begins on Wednesday morning the 15th, the waning crescent Moon forms a triangle with Mars to its upper right and Venus to its lower right.

    As Thursday's dawn brightens, the very thin waning crescent Moon hangs about 6° above Jupiter (for North America) and 10° lower left of Spica, as shown here. Venus is 3° lower left of Jupiter. You'll find Mars 9° above Spica.

    As dawn brightens on Friday the 17th, a hair-thin Moon (only about 24 hours from new for North America) hides about 4° left or lower left of Venus, as shown here. Bring binoculars and sharp eyes! Upper right of Venus is Jupiter.

    Mars (magnitude +1.8, in Virgo) rises around 3 or 4 a.m. standard time and is moderately high in early dawn, well to the upper right of Venus. In a telescope Mars will be just a tiny, fuzzy dot for several months to come, but by summer it will have its closest opposition since 2003.

    VC celebrates return of historic “Stars” road sign
    Robert Lerner, VC Historian November 13, 2017
    Seventy years ago this month, in November 1947, crowds braved cold and rain as they stood in awe as a 40-ton tractor crawled through the streets of Valley Center hauling a 200-inch telescope mirror toward a new observatory atop Palomar Mountain.

    To mark the occasion, the street known today as Valley Center Road (originally Rincon Road) was renamed “Highway to the Stars via Valley Center” and signs with that name were posted from the Escondido city limit to the top of Palomar Mountain.
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    Valley Center looks to regain its star quality
    Logan Jenkins January 21, 2017
    In 1928, George Ellery Hale, the founder of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, secured funding for his visionary project from the Rockefeller Foundation: A 200-inch telescope that would dwarf any other in the world, an endeavor that many science historians refer to as the “moon shot” of the ‘30s and ‘40s.

    The problem of getting the $600,000 mirror from Caltech to its home atop Palomar was solved in the mid-1930s with the construction of a winding mountain road eventually dubbed the “Highway to the Stars.”
    “Safely completing a ticklish 160-mile trip by trailer from Pasadena, Palomar Observatory’s 200-inch mirror arrived here late this morning — inching over the last miles of twisting mountain road in heavy mist, bursts of hail and flurries of sleet.

    “Tonight, man’s most ambitious astronomical undertaking — to peer a billion light-years into space from this mile-high mountain 64 miles northeast of San Diego — is only a step from fulfillment.”
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    Smorg Cycle