The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Welcome back Atlantis, a Lunar Eclipse and... the satellite is falling...?

(NASA Photo, which links to the source) Well, I was hoping I would have another shot at seeing the shuttle fly over, but I was quite dismayed to arrive at the office and see that the Space Shuttle Atlantis was not flying over me during its descent. No, no, this time the shuttle flew in from the south. I was ready though. The shuttle safely landed at Kennedy Space Center this morning shortly after 9AM. I hope to see a shuttle launch in April, but we shall see.

Tonight, we will have a special treat when a lunar eclipse occurs that we should have a good view of... I have been watching the forecast of cloud cover, to see how the clouds may or may not impede the view... It appears that a partly cloudy sky will turn to a mostly cloudy sky during the course of the night, so timing is of the essence. The total eclipse over the east coast region of the United States will be visible beginning at 10:01PM. I would like to set up my tripod and try to photograph it. According to NASA, who supplied this map of the country and associated viewing times:

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth lines up directly between the sun and the moon, casting a shadow over the moon's surface. The February 20, 2008 eclipse will last for nearly 3 and a half hours. For a full 50 minutes of that time the moon will be in totality - the period when the lunar surface is completely covered by the Earth's shadow.

During an eclipse the moon changes color, going from a light gray color to an orange or deep red shade. This is totality. The moon takes on this new color because indirect sunlight is still able to pass through the Earth's atmosphere and cast a glow on the moon.
Make sure and catch this one, because the next one won't occur until December 2010. No, this is not the type of eclipse that you have to view with special viewing contraption, that's a solar eclipse (The next total solar eclipse visible from the United States won’t happen until August 21, 2017. NEVER view the sun with the naked eye or with any optical device, such as binoculars or a telescope!). You can safely look at this one. Mike Hollingshead has some great photographs of last year's lunar eclipse. Brian Emfinger also has a great display of the phases.

With the Space Shuttle Atlantis safely landed at Kennedy Space Center, that opens the door for the Navy to shoot down a decaying out-of-control US spy satellite, which is literally ready to fall out of the sky. They are preparing to possibly do this as soon as today before it "tumbles into the Earth's atmosphere", sort of reminiscent of that childhood tale of "Chicken Little"... the sky is falling, the sky is falling! Yes, the plan is to shoot a missile (an SM3 Inteceptor Missile) into the sky and take out the satellite causing it to fall into the Pacific Ocean where Navy ships will be standing by. If they miss, they will have to wait a day for it to be over the Pacific again.
The plan is to hit a tank on the satellite carrying the toxic propellant hydrazine, which officials say could pose a threat to humans if it survives re-entry.
Are they serious?! Holy cow. Here is a link to my source article for this information.

Well, it's been cool and dry here. In fact, it's to the point where we have red flag warnings in the area. We have been experiencing cold mornings and mild afternoons after the cold front that came through. Tomorrow, we are looking forward to some thunderstorms, approaching as, yet another, cold front approaches from west, which should last through early Saturday. There isn't any severe wording with this one, but they are expecting several of them to be "on the strong side", according to the guys, but the Storm Prediction Center places us under a slight risk for Friday, so stay tuned.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee has offered its damage report from this past weekend's outbreak; Kelly did a great job... as usual. Looks like my CWA had EF-1 and an EF-0 damage as the tornadoes passed through during the February 17th tornado outbreak. Still nothing out of Peachtree City. Sigh. I have heard that there were 22 confirmed tornadoes, making a total of 104 tornadoes this month, which is a record. Unbelievable.



  1. Very cool ideas in this blog! I thought the same things about the satellite! I miss you already! It was great to see you! Scott has the bug now and can't wait to move to Georgia. Fingers crossed...maybe this summer!

  2. Thanks, Annie!!! I haven't heard what (if anything) they did with the satellite.

    I loved seeing y'all and eating with you. It would be terrific if y'all moved up here. We could definitely hang out and play games!!! I'm so glad Scott and Jarhett love it here. BONUS!


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