acrophilia

7/18/04

Just saw the documentary Outfoxed – I guess we could have attended any of the 3000+ screenings in America, but instead I just bought the damn thing so that me and mine could enjoy a little left-wing propaganda without having to talk to strangers. You know how us liberals hate strangers.

The biggest flaw with the movie is myself: I was chagrined, yet I wasn’t shocked and had a hard time caring. The stuff with Jeremy Glick (who was abused even though his own father perished in the World Trade Center) was pretty great, and there were some other theories that sent chills down the spine, but I guess I’m past thinking that there’s any sense to getting your news from any of the usual suspects anymore. Thank god the satellite radio gets the BBC; I’d rather have someone with bad teeth tell it to me straight, thanks.

So my thoughts turned more celestial, which brings me to the three pictures I’d like to share with you today. Click any of them for a bigger version.

IanFullMoon125(bl).jpg

This is a fortnight ago, at a gas station in Harlem. I had to make sure to wear an orange bandana, you know, you can never be too sure with those gangs running around. Especially with the full moon out. People commit crimes!

ChiPsiWithMustang2(bl).jpg

While surfing the TerraServer for aerial pictures of everywhere I’ve ever lived, I came across this 2002 shot of my fraternity at UNC where we shot several scenes of “The Pink House.” I looked closer, and saw my car (red arrow) – an egregiously shitty white Mustang convertible that finally died right there in that parking lot – is now enshrined forever via satellite.

BigDipper2(bl).jpg

The skies were so clear two nights ago that you could actually take pictures of the Milky Way with the digital camera. I thought this view of the Big Dipper on the horizon was even cooler. The green light in the foreground is the farm about a mile away, and the orange light is Albany in the distance.

12 thoughts on “acrophilia

  1. oliver

    The Milky Way? Then why doesn’t it span the sky/picture frame? (could you see more of it through your eye than your camera captured? Or maybe the center of your digital sensor is more light sensitive than the edges in a way that shows up only in very low light?) I suppose the center of the Milky Way disk might be brighter than the edges, but this 360-degree view makes me think the center isn’t so much brighter (although that’s kind of a manufactured photo and I have no idea whether it presents contrast naturally).

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  2. oliver

    Silly me. The position of the farm in the frame shows that the putative MW is low on the horizon, so the parts at the left and right of the frame could be blocked by distant clouds. Anyway, the real question to be asking (for a skeptic like me) is whether that band is running the right way across the sky for your latitude, not to mention this time of year…to the extent that matters. I suppose anyone who’s paid attention in school would know…. Not me.

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  3. oliver

    In particular where it says “The galactic equator is inclined by 60.2 degees to the ecliptic and by 62.6 degrees to the celestial equator. During our era it crosses the ecliptic very close to the solistial points (celestial longitudes 90 and 270).
    At 18:00 Sidereal Time (around 23:20 Local Daylight Time in mid-July) at mid-northern latitudes, the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius are seen in the southern sky. When looking in their direction you see the center of our galaxy. The richest portion of the Milky Way appears to be steam rising and drifting left from the spout of the Sagittarius teapot at about a 60 degree angle relative to the horizon. The Summer Milky Way then runs through the constellations Scutum, Aquila, Sagitta, Cygnus, Lacerta, Cepheus, Cassiopeia and Perseus”
    which makes me think that’s not the MW in your photo, Ian. Maybe a flying saucer?

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  4. cullen

    Brother, you might indeed fetch a beat-down or a Rover-jack in the wrong place, wrong time, and however orange wrong bandana, so watch yo back and don’t flip off anyone with a gangsta chip on they shoulder. You do do the rag dope doh and thanx for the nice aerial shots. I love that TerraServer. Peace.

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  5. Ian

    Oliver- My pictures were taken at 3:30am early Friday morning. Maybe I’m confused, but the picture of the Big Dipper is basically a picture of the horizon… the black bottom of the frame is a grass field.
    The MW was definitely striped across the top of the sky when I was out there – it was the brightest I’d ever seen it. I’d post a picture, but they look crappy on the Web unless I Photoshop the brightness all to hell.

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