September 24, 2020 Close Encounter


On September 24, 2020 tiny asteroid 2020 SW ( roughly 6 – 10 meter diameter ) will pass between Earth and the Moon at 7.7 Km per second ( that’s 27,900 km/h ). At closest approach 28,254 kilometers away, a mere 7% of distance to the Moon. Closer than communication and meteorological satellites locked in orbit at 38,000ish kilometers above our planet. Close enough for gravity to alter velocity and bend 2020 SW’s trajectory.

Astronomers confidently stress there’s nothing to fear, 2020 SW won’t unleash calamity. Not now or for the next fifty years of calculated orbit.

Infinitely more remarkable than online chatter surrounding a “near miss”, is the fact 2020 SW was discovered on September 18, 2020, completely unknown until a few days ago. It’s been orbiting Earth every 372 days for who knows how long, nobody noticed until now. Brings to mind Chelyabinsk, Russia on February 15, 2013 – global eyes fixated on known asteroid DA 14 making a close fly-by. Without warning, unidentified cosmic rubble struck our atmosphere from another direction. Exploding over Chelyabinsk, injuring over a thousand residents to the dismay of stunned astronomers.

Long green line swooping around and away from earth, and yellow arrow pointing out from Earth.

Small asteroid 2020 SW will pass so close to Earth on September 24, that our planet’s gravity will alter the space rock’s speed and bend its path through space. The green line indicates the asteroid’s trajectory, while the yellow line points to the sun. Gray line represents the Moon’s orbit, but not to scale. Illustration by the Minor Planet Center, with modifications by Eddie Irizarry.

2020 SW won’t be visible to the naked eye, but interested sky watchers can watch live online at Virtual Telescope Project in Rome. Linked below –

Poster advertising live event for viewing asteroid 2020 SW on September 23.

View larger. | The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome will be showing asteroid 2020 SW live a few hours its closest approach. The live feed is scheduled for September 23, 2020 starting at 22 UTC; translate UTC to your time. To join online, go to Virtual Telescope’s website.

Cosmic gak abounds, the universe undulates in incomprehensible maelstroms of its own design. For every identified potentially hazardous asteroid, countless more tiptoe in obscurity. Be it light pollution, sunward approaching objects, observational limitations, rogue insurgents ejected from the asteroid belt, there’s no end to reasons why near Earth objects catch us off guard.

Sky chart with constellations, Mars, and tick marks for location of asteroid.

Location of Asteroid 2020 SW on the night of Wednesday, September 23, at around 10:30 pm CDT (03:30 UTC on September 24). Facing east, as seen from U.S. The space rock will be located not too far from where we see the star Algenib (Gamma Pegasi), in the Great Square of Pegasus. Illustration by Eddie Irizarry using Stellarium.

600 Moons of Jupiter


Jupiter has 79 known moons, second only to 82 identified moons of Saturn. That’s a lot of moons, but what if Jupiter had 600 moons? How cool would that be? University of British Columbia researchers Edward Ashton, Matthew Beaudoin and Brett Gladman studied archival images of Jupiter taken over a 3 hour period on Sept. 8, 2020 at Canada, France, Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Factoring in variation of movement across the field of view, they digitally combined images from 126 different viewpoints. Voila – 52 possibly unknown Jovian moons appeared, Further analysis kicked 7 to the curb (known moons with irregular orbits), leaving 45 eager applicants vying for official Jovian moon status. Curiously, all in retrograde orbit. ( orbiting backward in relation to Jupiter’s orbit ).

So why 600 unidentified moons of Jupiter? Their search was limited to one square degree of view of space surrounding Jupiter. Extrapolation concluded as many as 600 or more unknown moons of Jupiter. Lead researchers will present their findings virtually on Sept. 25, 2020 at the Europlanet Science Congress 2020.

Admittedly these moons are small, 800 meters or so, struggling or barely within reach of IAU (International Astronomical Union ) rules requiring one kilometer in diameter to qualify as moons. Stark contrast to Ganymede – Jupiter’s largest moon, largest moon in our solar system, a moon larger than planets Mercury and Mars.

See the source image

https://www.sott.net/article/441048-New-detections-suggests-Jupiter-could-have-600-moons

Not a day goes by without science learning more about the cosmos, 600 possible moons of Jupiter is remarkable. Hats off to science.

Global Air Quality Index – Vancouver B.C. Worst In the World


A closed Canada/U.S. border is no match for invasive plumes of wildfire smoke blanketing the West Coast. For days, stinging brown haze has beset Vancouver, obliterating sunlight, vying with Seattle and Portland for worst air quality in the world. This morning Vancouverites woke to a staggering reality – official ranking as most hazardous air to breathe in the world. Link to worldwide air quality – https://aqicn.org/here/

See the source image
See the source image

I’m not crying in my maple syrup or diminishing the plight of countless thousand American lives impacted by the inferno. What I am is alarmed by unprecedented voracity of this disaster. Wildfire season is a fact of life, periodic stretches of regional forest fire smoke settle over Vancouver every few years. What I can’t recall is Vancouver ever having the worst air quality in the world. Nor air so hazardous Canada Post suspends mail delivery, If this is the face of climate disruption, we need to take notice.

See the source image

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/vancouver-worst-air-quality-world-september-14-2020

No Loud Music


A comment from Peter at https://ppazucha.wordpress.com/ dropped my jaw. He lives in Wisconsin, read an article by a local food critic attributing one third of all COVID outbreaks to restaurants. He thought of me, knowing hospitality pays my bills in Vancouver B.C. Peter kindly reached out with heart warming concern. I doubt he knew that 1/3 of outbreaks linked to restaurants would blow my mind.

No wonder the U.S./Canada border remains closed. In all of Canada 9,170 COVID deaths are attributed to 136,141 confirmed infections. British Columbia has 6,162 infections, 211 deaths. Across the border in Washington State 82,645 cases account for 2.080 deaths. ( All figures accurate today )

Offhand I can’t think of a single outbreak linked to Canadian restaurants. Almost all outbreaks in Canada were traced to senior care facilities or food processing plants. Certainly not food service, emphatically not restaurants. If a third of U.S. infections stem from restaurant visits, what does that say about America’s mindset?

In British Columbia bars and restaurants were closed from late March to end of May. Re-opening guidelines were strict – 50% capacity, 6 metres between tables, maximum 6 guests per table, mandatory masks for staff, mandatory contact tracing info collected from all patrons. To create higher capacity, restaurants are allowed to block off street parking, fence in additional outdoor seating. Meticulous regard for legislation, the only thing standing between economic survival and bankruptcy. Trust me, local businesses know what’s at stake. By no stretch of imagination are restaurants in Canada contributing to COVID infection.

All good until daily infection rates started to climb. (From single digits to 100 or so a day) Despite no correlation between restaurants and rising daily infections, restaurants, bars and banquet halls took it on the chin. This week nightclubs and banquet halls were ordered to close effective immediately. Liquor sales must cease at 10 pm, alcohol can only be served with food, all bars and restaurants have to close by 11 pm. In addition, music can’t be louder than “conversation level” – loud music forces people closer to talk, facilitates shouting which spreads respiratory droplets.

See the source image

Silly as it sounds, absurd or ridiculous as it seems, Canadians will abide by the rules. In my mind that explains the staggering anomaly between U.S./Canada pandemic statistics.

Shame On Oscar


Earlier this week reigning bobbleheads at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka, the Oscars), puffed out ever so pleased with themselves chests to announce new inclusion and diversity guidelines. Ostensibly the first stage of a five year plan to promote diversity on and off the screen. Translation – Oscar consideration will be reserved for productions where people of colour, women, persons with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community are included in minimum percentage quotas. From actors, marketing, pre and post production, catering and internships to location scouts, camera operators, lighting techs and extra wranglers, every aspect of production just became a box to tick.

Initial coverage centred on warm fuzzy kudos for Academy acknowledgement of trending social issues. Were we supposed to gush praise for enlightenment of an old guard white establishment? Sleep tight knowing another behemoth influencer feigned understanding or compassion for systemic injustice? What a farce!

Lets talk fine print before weighing in on the absurdity of hollow, insulting percentage quotas. New rules don’t apply to films vying for 2021 Oscar nods. Not until Oscar 2024 will films have to meet quotas in two of four standards. The four standards cover “diversity representation among actors and subject matter; behind-the-camera staff, such as cinematographers and costume designers; paid apprenticeships and training opportunities; and marketing and publicity.” Take your pick, no pressure. Pad the crew with a sprinkling of trans black lesbians, contract first aid to a immigrant Iranian doctor formerly flipping burgers to support his family because his degree isn’t recognized in America, hire amputee survivors of Rwanda genocide to sew costumes, recruit unpaid interns at predominantly black colleges, take a page from Netflix and script obligatory same sex intimacy in every production. Mission accomplished, standards fulfilled, business as usual.

What’s wrong with these people? Do they actually think spotlight posturing makes a difference? Believe marginalized people seek validation based on arbitrary quotas? It’s SO PAINFUL! News flash -we’re all the same. Black skin the same as freckled white, same sex union no different than traditional marriage, nation of birth, faith or lack thereof – all irrelevant. Diversity quotas prevail for purposes of corporate optics. Look at us, click, like, follow and share our trending abundance of social awareness. Shame on Oscar.

https://nationalpost.com/entertainment/oscars-academy-sets-out-new-diversity-standards-for-best-picture-contenders

Official Trump 2020 vs Democrat Poll


Feast your eyes on the face of America. Process this image of irreverent hubris, self satisfaction, reckless indifference and why the f**k should I care. Still holding your lunch down? Click on the link below tRump’s repugnant image. A link to his majesty’s very own website donaldjtrump.com , a link to Trump 2020 vs Democrat poll. It’s up to you now, no spoiler alerts from Notes. Half the “fun” is reading Trump’s poll questions void of steely preparation for reality down this rabbit hole.

See the source image

https://www.donaldjtrump.com/landing/2020-trump-vs-dem-poll

Finding Polaris – Embrace the North Star


Ah Polaris, commonly known as the North Star – humanities guide since the dawn of time. Located directly above the north celestial pole, northern hemisphere skies rotate around this near constant pole star. Knowing where to find Polaris means you’ll always know which direction to travel. Face Polaris, stretch your arms out sideways – the right hand points due east, the left due west. About face and you’re pointed south.

Very many bright concentric circles in sky around a bright irregular dot, trees in foreground.

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star. He wrote, “For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference.”

To find Polaris locate the Big Dipper, focus on Dubhe and Merak, two stars forming the outermost edge of Big Dipper’s bowl. In your mind’s eye draw a straight line to the tip of Little Dipper’s handle – voila, that’s Polaris the North Star.

Think of northern hemisphere skies as a clock with Polaris at the centre, the line from Dubhe and Merak to Polaris as the hour hand. The Big Dipper rotates once around Polaris every 23 hours, 56 minutes. A few minutes short of a day, equivalent to 361 degrees in 24 hours. As such the North Star moves ever so slightly with each passing day. What never falters is the hour hand from the outermost bowl of Big Dipper to Polaris. Find the Big Dipper, you’ll locate the North Star. Do that and you’ll never be lost in the woods.

Diagram: White sky with four black Big Dippers in a circle around Polaris.

If you’re in the northern U.S., Canada or at a similar latitude, the Big Dipper is circumpolar for you, always above the horizon. Image via burro.astr.cwru.edu.

Cloud Streets


Cloud streets are long rows of cumulus cloud oriented parallel to the direction of wind. Cloud streets are a product of convection – rolling waves of rising warm air met by sinking layers of upper atmosphere cold air. Atmospheric science 101 – clouds form when water droplets contained in rising warm air condense on introduction to sinking cold air.

http://www.eumetrain.org/satmanu/CMs/ClStr/navmenu.php?page=2.0.0

Morning cloud streets over Vancouver Island. Image via CTV News Vancouver Island.

Thin parallel lines of clouds extending from ice shelf in black-and-white orbital photo.

The MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these cloud streets over the Bering Sea on January 20, 2006. Image via Jesse Allen/ NASARead more about this image.

Cloud streets are technically called horizontal convection rolls. Typically observed from satellite eyes above, cloud streets generally form over vast expanses of ocean water. Unique to cloud streets are cloud free zones on either side created by sinking cold air.

Every cloud has a story, explanation and reason for being there. Next time you look up, remind yourself of exquisitely balanced natural forces responsible for life as we know it.

Glory Holes


Oh Canada. I thought a closed U.S./Canada border and polite socially distanced mask respect for fellow citizens accounted for low COVID infection rates in Canada. Say what you will about Canada, but above all – we don’t shy away from open discussion of safe sex practices during pandemic times. Such is our nature, no stone left unturned. Seems we’re acutely aware of safe sex practices.

Ponder content of a recent brochure issued by the CDC in British Columbia. Fear not Canada, lest there be any doubt, government doesn’t shy away from straight answers. It recognizes our sexual nature with gloriously detailed recommendations.

In a perfect world government would have persons inclined to engage in sexual activity with another outside their immediate bubble – take matters in their own hands. It suggests masturbating in the same room as your partner, or engaging in virtual sex. Barring that, wear a mask, avoid kissing, choose a position conducive to least amount of face to face contact. Ever a wealth of practical solutions, government boldly advocated for physical barriers, specifically “glory holes”.

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/prevention-risks/covid-19-and-sex

A “glory hole” is a hole made in a wall or other type of partition where a man can insert his penis and receive sexual stimulation. They are usually used so the sex partners can’t see each other and are anonymous.

A hand gives a thumb's up out of a hole in the

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/glory-holes-coronavirus-sex-covid-19_ca_5f18bed5c5b6f2f6c9f10049

This satirical sign appeared on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. –

This Canadian appreciates the effort, recognizes creative impetus pegging the heartbeat of my home and native land. Lighten up people! It’s a public service announcement, not a manifesto promoting glory hole annihilation of western civilization.

Conservative American heads imploded when glory hole advice made headlines. One right wing site I refuse to dignify with a link said – “Soon enough the Canadian government will be putting out manuals on how to do anal sex. Soon enough the Canadian government will be putting out manuals on how to fist-fuck your own asshole while gay niggers rape a goat in front of you. Soon enough the Canadian government will legalize child rape so that Justin Trudeau and his tranny wife can abuse their own children. This is what Canada has become: an absolute cesspit of evil and cultural decay. The Canadian government is swimming with perverts, pedophiles and zoophiles.”

Hey America, don’t be mad. At least Canada isn’t afraid to speak frankly. Nor do we pretend sexual encounters are exclusive to same sex partners. I’ll take realistic practicality over preposterous family values ignorance any day.

Calming Adrien Mauduit Timelapse


Still reeling from forced WordPress block editor assault, I need to calm down. What better way than Milky Way timelapse by Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films?

Take a deep breath Notes, you’ll figure this out. So what if adding a “classic editor” plugin requires upgrading to a $33 monthly business plan? Nice try WordPress, who do you think you are? Has WordPress forgotten millions of users like myself? Think users thirst for layers of bloated navigation? Fancy itself a social media influencer? Is nothing sacred? Nothing spared pressure to monetarize, distribute click bait or promote private enterprise for personal gain?

Milky Way timelapse represents hope. Hope I figured out how to post a video using block editor, hope I’ll learn intricacies of WordPress Gutenberg block editor and hope WordPress doesn’t forget what made it special.