Astronomy

Solar Ephemeris Back On-Line

Solar Ephemeris from the Wandering Minstrel Sidebar — March 24, 2018

Remember the Solar Ephemeris sidebar widget from the old Wandering Minstrel blog theme? The widget gave daily information about the sun cycle: you know, daybreak, sunrise, sunset and so forth. Well, I have it back on-line in the form of a sidebar link to a dedicated page that has the old widget code embedded in it.

I had some problems with making it work with the newer versions of the PHP server-side software that the ISP uses. There were some minor, but show-stopping changes to the software that killed the Ephemeris code that ran on the old Minstrel site. I spent a couple of hours debugging the code yesterday and now have the prototype running again in the “Solar Ephemeris” page. Click on the link or select the page from the sidebar. Disclaimer: it’s still a work in progress and is subject to formatting changes.

One of these days, I might start on an interactive widget where users can put in their own geographical coordinates to see the sun’s daily times for their location.

Eclipse Countdown Update

In anticipation of a second solar eclipse that we may travel to observe, I updated the Eclipse Countdown item in the Featured Pages in the right sidebar (or below on your smartphone) to include a countdown to the next American total solar eclipse. The previous counter for the Albuquerque Annular Eclipse next October is still there.

Newly added to the Eclipse Countdown page:


The next North American total solar eclipse event will take place on April 08, 2024. We’re planning to be in Kerrville, TX to view this event.

Damsel took the (clickable) image on the right during a previous eclipse seen from Casper, WY on August 21, 2017. At that time, we witnessed our first total solar eclipse and are eagerly anticipating seeing another in April 2024.

Time left until the Total eclipse begins in Kerrville:

Blogiversary #17 and
Autumnal Equinox

Blogging

Even though this is the “official” 17th Blogiversary of CB&D, we have a history of on-line presence several years prior to having a weblog. I started with an online webpage repository with photos of my grandchildren, some of our friends and radio/flying club activities a couple of years before we started to blog. I had an account at “Keyway” network with those items I mentioned. That was about in 1995 when Keyway was just getting started. Then, just about the time that Damsel and I were getting married in 1998, I found an Internet Service Provider where I could get my own website domain. I started up a family website which eventually became our family blog, the now defunct Wandering Minstrel and Cap’n Bob & the Damsel. I even had a Neighborhood Watch blog (also now defunct) to report on and deal with problems in our neck of the woods at the time.

Before blogging, I was already a software professional, but didn’t have many internet-specific code skills. I spent a lot of time learning commonly-used web languages: JavaScript, PHP, HTML, CSS, W3C Standards and much more. It was all fun and interesting. Then, by that time, blogging struck me as something we might like to get into. I started with BBLOG, a simple interface for on-line posting and after a while I discovered WordPress which resulted in our launching of the blog platform we now employ.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, now that we have upgraded the WordPress Theme to Blogstream, we’ve become inclined to post more regularly. Maybe we’ll be here for the NEXT* seventeen years?

* I should be well into nonagenarian territory by then.

First Day of Autumn

We learned from our landscape crew foreman when we first moved here that Arizona (our part of it, at least) has five seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer and Second Spring. The latter starts up around the September Equinox and lasts several weeks until the first autumn-like days show up in late October. The (clickable) image of the “Devil’s Tongue” cactus shows how it looked last year at the beginning of “Second Spring,” with one open flower and several buds around the crown of this barrel cactus.

In closing, we wish for you all to have mild weather, blue skies and green lights this fall season. We’re going to gird our loins for the return of the “snowbirds” that typically increase our local population from around 7K summertime heads to more than 25K during the late fall, winter and early spring months.

Eclipse Excursion Planning

There will be an annular eclipse of the sun on October 14, 2023. We have begun the planning for a trip in order to be where we can see the ring of fire. The path forecast favors places like Monument Valley, UT and Albuquerque, NM, both of which are just a few hours from home. We will be taking the Class A Motorhome to see this eclipse, just as we did the last time on August 21, 2017.

Damsel and I are both familiar with camping in both Goulding’s RV Campground in Monument Valley and American RV Resort in Albuquerque, so we were quickly able to choose the latter, given it’s convenient location to I-40 and the amenities there with which we’re familiar. So American RV it is — on condition we can get reservations there on the dates of the event.

In the image above, we were getting set up in Casper, WY for the August 21, 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Damsel is by the open side door with Tom and Amber (our friends) in the foreground. Cabela and Beethoven, our Min Pins look on as we go through our antics. Looking at these old pictures gives us the wanderlust to get this next event planned as well as getting our shakedown cruise going.

I refurbished the old countdown timer that we used to count the time left until the August 2017 eclipse to now count the time until the eclipse starts in Albuquerque in 2023. See the sidebar for Eclipse Countdown.

Five Years Ago – Total Solar Eclipse

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 took place on this date five years ago. Damsel and I (and some friends) watched the spectacle from Casper, Wyoming. We were in an RV park, along with several hundreds of other campers and spectators. Casper, a town of less than 60,000 people had grown to an estimated population of over a quarter million, not counting those outside of town limits watching the eclipse from campsites on the Platte River and elsewhere. Our campground definitely had a party atmosphere before, during and after totality.

Image above: Damsel’s capture of mid-totality – click to enlarge.

At our location, totality lasted about 2 minutes and 26 seconds. The crowd noise in the campground dropped to murmurs during totality with a collective “oooooh” sounding as the “diamond ring” appeared at the end of totality. The whole effect was phenomenal – a memory that should last until we’re gone.

There will be another total solar event during the Great American Eclipse of 2024. We sort of have a plan to be in Kerrville Texas vicinity at that time, The Good Lord willing. There will also be an annular eclipse in October next year; we have not made plans for that one yet, but we may do so after our “shakedown” cruise in the motorhome coming up soon. We’re thinking of going to the “Four Corners” area for that eclipse if we go. If we do go, maybe we’ll organize a meetup with family and friends for that event.

Summer Solstice And Fathers’ Day June 20, 2021

Father’s Day GrillingIn 2021, Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 20. This happens to be the same day as the summer solstice (June 20 at 11:32 P.M. Eastern Time), which makes it the perfect time to kick-off the summer season with grilling a couple of steaks. We’re in the middle of a heat-wave but we’re prepared to go outdoors and cook over the grill by virtue of having plenty of water and perhaps an adult beverage or two.

Image: Ready at the Outdoor Grill – Click on the image to enlarge.

The local sunrise for today is at 5:20 AM and the sunset will take place at 7:45 PM. The longest day at our latitude is 14 Hours and 25 Minutes. The forecast temperature at grilling time is 112° F. As I said before, we’re prepared – the summer heat is one of the reasons we moved here.

The menu today is for Beef; tenderloin steaks for today and a tri-tip roast for later in the week. The side dishes are baked beans and potato salad, both of the KETO variety, i.e. low-carb soy beans and cauliflower instead of potatoes in the salad – both taste the same as the high carb dishes they replace.

Finally, today we salute all the Dads out there and wish them a good day. We also salute our Dads again as we did last year.