Friday, March 18, 2011

Quick Midweek Oddments

I got my new binoculars a couple days ago.

I implore you not to pay any attention to the cluttered state of my living area/workspace. Please focus on the binoculars and how sexy they are.

For $150 or so (plus a tripod and free shipping!), this wasn't a half-bad expenditure. They're about as strong as a smallish telescope -- I definitely won't be able to make out anything too distant or dim, but they're real nice for a beginner who's still getting a handle on where everything is. It seemed best to play around with a relatively inexpensive pair of noks for the time being and invest in something bigger and better down the road. A telescope is not something I can half-ass; it's either a $900 piece of equipment that can resolve the gas planets' bands and brew hot cocoa (for those lonely winter nights) or nothing at all.

Sadly, because of a waxing moon and overcast skies, I haven't had a chance to see very much. Got a real nice look at the Orion Nebula, though. It'll be even better once there's less haze and background light.

Speaking of stars, I should correct something I mentioned in that last post. Since it's been persistently cloudy for the last week or so, I couldn't go outside and check my work on that last post -- I was pretty much going from memory, and the skies change quicker than you might think. A lot of it's accurate, but the father west the stars drift, the more they get skewed downward, toward the horizon. (Remember, they path they "travel" along through the sky is circular.) I had mentioned that you could find the Pleiades at about two o'clock of Aldebaran, but when I went outside this evening at around nine, they were more like three o' clock instead. (I just thought I would mention this in the extremely unlikely event that somebody went outside to look and cursed me for lying to them/not knowing what I was talking about).

Final tidbit: managed to dig up a few email addresses belonging to people in Sendai I met during that summer study abroad program I attended five (five!?!) years ago. Their replies to my "OH MY GOD ARE YOU OKAY?!" messages are so delightful and so endearingly, inimitably Japanese I almost want to share them here. Not to disparage them, of course -- reading them makes me feel a half-forgotten fondness and nostalgia, and reminds me how totally different our cultures are and how funny they both seem in the context of each other. Everyone everywhere is screwed up and hilarious and lovely.

I really hope everything works out over there.


  1. Of course while no culture is "perfect" I must say, the Japanese have handled this crisis with an unparalleled calm and grace. We all could learn a lot from their example.

  2. Just figured I should mention that the moon was the biggest in 20 years on March 19

    Also, did you read my last comment?

  3. ADAM: Yeah. It's hard not to be impressed by their discipline. It's also hard not to be a little concerned about the purported governmental whitewashes/doublespeak, but it's a topic I really can't say much about until I look further into it. So much has been happening all over the bloody planet that it's been hard keeping track of it all.

    TONY: I read every comment!