March 28, 2020

Event of the Week: A New England Occultation.

Lunar occultations are always cool events; now you see a star or planet, now you don’t. The way they “wink in” and “wink out” with an improbable abruptness reminds us of the colossal velocity of the Moon about our planet. But beyond being just plain cool, they also still have scientific value; close double stars have been discovered this way, as they “wink out” in a step wise fashion. If enough observers are placed along the graze line, an accurate profile of the limb of the Moon can even be ascertained.

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Make Your Workout Pay; Collecting Cans While You Run

This topic has nothing to do with astronomy, except for the fact that the idea may be considered as well, in outer space to some. I live in and grew up in the state of Maine. Maine has a long tradition as being one of the first states to offer a return deposit for cans going back to 1976. I vividly remember spending endless hours peddling rural back roads looking for discarded cans. Back then return rates were in .05, .10, .20, and .50 increments… now they’re .05 for cans and bottles and .15 for large liquor bottles (I wonder why the rate hasn’t increased with the price of soda and beer?) Still, in the 1970s a dollar could buy you a comic (50 cents… “Destroy the Justice League, Super-Villians!”) and an ice cream or soda (or pop, as we say in Maine…and the redemption cycle continues.) [Read more...]