Happy 91st Pluto


Once a planet Pluto marks its 91st anniversary of discovery on February 18, 2021. Take a moment to ponder 91 years of Pluto from discovery to New Horizons mission majesty. Kudos Pluto, your presence is a source of infinite wonder. It’s remarkable to consider Pluto, a solar system constant, has only been known for 91 years. Arizona’s Lowell Observatory is recognized as the birthplace of Pluto. From – Celebrate the 91st anniversary of Pluto’s discovery | Human World | EarthSky

“Lowell Observatory bills itself as the the “Home of Pluto.” Percival Lowell, a wealthy American businessman with a passion for astronomy, postulated the existence of a “trans-Neptunian object” and searched for it until his death in 1916. His estate, managed by Lowell’s brother, Harvard University president A. Lawrence Lovell, donated money for a new telescope that still stands at the current Lowell Observatory. Using this telescope, Clyde Tombaugh continued Lowell’s search. On February 18, 1930, he detected movements on photographic plates taken in late January. The discovery was announced on March 13, 1930, on what would have been Lowell’s 75th birthday.”

Poster with drawing of Pluto and telescope over forest and mountains with text annotations.

The I Heart Pluto Festival for 2021 runs virtually February 13-18, 2021. Image via IHeartPluto.Org.

A beige and black planet in space with large heart-shaped lighter area over third of surface.

Does Pluto love us back? It almost seems to, with this giant heart on the surface! This image was taken by the New Horizons mission on July 13, 2015. Here are 10 cool things about Pluto you might not know. Image via NASA/ APL/ SwRI.

John Dillermand


Meet John Dillermand, claymation cartoon hero of Danish public television network DR. He’s an average man who enjoys BBQ, ice cream and going for walks, despite his anything but average protracted “diller” (Danish slang for penis). Aimed at 4-8 year old children, producers think kids will get a kick out of watching a man with the world’s longest schlong tackling adversity. Show creator Jacob Ley, father of two young children, believes John Dillermand eradicates body shame and embarrassment without sexualization. From Denmark airs kids cartoon about man with super long penis (nypost.com)

“Family psychologist Erla Heinesen Højsted disagreed with the outcry: “John Dillermand talks to children and shares their way of thinking — and kids do find genitals funny,” she told the Guardian.

“The show depicts a man who is impulsive and not always in control, who makes mistakes — like kids do, but crucially, Dillermand always makes it right,” Højsted continued. “He takes responsibility for his actions. When a woman in the show tells him that he should keep his penis in his pants, for instance, he listens. Which is nice. He is accountable.”

He’s nice and accountable when a woman asks him to keep his penis in his pants? WTF?

John Dillermand: Intro – YouTube

john-dillermand-penis-01

john dillermand episode 1 w subtitles – YouTube Enjoy.

Wish Upon A Bright Winter Star


It’s a fact, Northern Hemisphere stars appear brighter in winter than summer. Why? Our infinitesimally small solar system resides within the Milky Way galaxy, roughly 100,000 light years across with its centre 25-28 thousand light years away from plucky planet Earth. During December, January and February Northern Hemisphere night skies face away from the centre toward outskirts less muddied by cosmic dust. There are fewer stars between us and extragalactic space at this time of year. We’re gazing toward the Orion Arm, a minor spiraling tendril of the Milky Way housing our solar system. At this time of year large stars within the Orion Arm appear closer and brighter courtesy less galactic dust.

Why are the stars so bright tonight? | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

Bright winter stars have nothing to do with cold nights, everything to do with orbital alignment in relation to the heart of our galaxy. Don’t be shy, when night skies clear look up and wish upon a bright winter star.

See the source image

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Spiders Rule


Forget cute baby kittens, look beyond conventional fluffiness and embrace the Peacock Spider. Look at this guy, he’s delightful. Yes, that’s a spider! A jumping spider native to Australia. Jumpers have excellent vision and stalk rather than trap prey in webs.

Cute soft-furred spider with vivid blue, red and yellow pattern on abdomen.

Delightful knows no bounds. Watch his courtship dance –

Considerably less fluffy, but equally remarkable are Diving Bell Spiders. In ponds across Europe and Asia, these wily arachnids spend their entire life underwater. They breathe air trapped in bubbles that are held in place by webs. Divers leave their bubble to hunt prey, surfacing only to gather fresh oxygen for their bubble.

See the source image

Flying spiders? Who knew threads of wind swept silk propelled spiders hundreds of miles? Known as parachuting or ballooning, countless small spiders raise their abdomen and cast silk to the wind. A phenonium which explains sudden appearance of spiders on ships at sea.

Long-legged spider, with back end pointing up.

Small spider raising its abdomen to balloon away. Image via Sarefo.

Your Sky Tonight


One of humanity’s greatest challenges is ambivalence toward night skies. Technology and light pollution erode inclination to gaze upward after sunset. Astronomical observations are the fabric of humanity, defining ancient monoliths, pyramids, temples and settlements. The cosmos gave us navigation, seasons, moon phases, the calendar and inexplicable feats of ancient architecture. Today, GPS points North, few know that “star” is actually Mars and Betelgeuse might as well be Beetlejuice. Sigh.

Rudimentary sky basics needn’t be elusive – ponder Time and Date night sky map and planets. Linked below –

https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/night/

Enter your location, voila! An instant interactive sky map tracks anything you fancy. View live, adjusted for current weather conditions. Scroll left or right to adjust time of day. Click on the Sun, Moon or planets, follow their path in relation to location and time of day. Curious about meteor showers like the Leonids peaking in a few days? Click on https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/meteor-shower/leonids.html

Time and Date is a valuable, uncomplicated resource. Give their night sky map a try.

See the source image

Planet Patrol Wants You


Calling all citizen scientists, Planet Patrol wants you. NASA, SETI, the Space Science Telescope Institute and Zooniverse collaborated to launch Planet Patrol, a website urging citizen scientists to help find exoplanets. Planet Patrol site explains –

“NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission will take pictures of more than a million stars to search for planets orbiting them, called ‘transiting exoplanets.’ We expect this mission will see thousands of these transiting exoplanets when they pass in front of nearby stars and periodically block some of the starlight.

But sometimes when a star dims like that, it’s not because of a planet. Variable stars, eclipsing binary stars, blended stars, glitches in the data, etc., can cause a similar effect. We need your help to spot these imposters!

At Planet Patrol, you’ll help us check the data from the TESS mission, one image at a time, to make sure that objects we suspect are planets REALLY are planets.”

In a nutshell – anyone with a little spare time, set of fresh eyes and impetus to participate in cosmic discovery can be a citizen scientist. How cool would it be to identify a exoplanet? Check out the link below –

https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/marckuchner/planet-patrol/

Long curving line of varied planets with stars in background.
Scientists have discovered over 4,000 exoplanets so far, of many different kinds, as represented in this artist’s concept. With the public’s help, they should find many more as well. Image via NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech).

Read https://earthsky.org/space/exoplanets-nasas-planet-patrol-citizen-science?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=40df63514c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-40df63514c-393970565 for more details. To date 3,968 citizen scientists are on board. What are you waiting for?

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.

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.

Not Too Late to Ponder Comet NEOWISE


On March 27, 2020 C/2020 F3 was discovered by astronomers at WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), a NASA space telescope launched in 2009. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide-field_Infrared_Survey_Explorer . On March 31, 2020 it gained official comet status, April 1, 2020 saw it dubbed comet NEOWISE. In a nutshell comets are cosmic objects comprised of ice, dust and space gak presenting a observable tail courtesy close orbital proximity to the Sun. (hence, ice melt)  NEOWISE, current darling of space and common observers alike, made closest approach to the Sun on July 3, 2020. The rest is history, history which won’t be repeated until NEOWISE returns in 6,800 years.

Comet NEOWISE is a rare naked eye cosmic spectacle. A remarkably bright experience afforded Northern Hemisphere residents willing to find a dark place, look northwest after sunset toward the Big Dipper to catch a glimpse of NEOWISE.

https://www.space.com/comet-neowise-strange-facts.html?utm_source=Selligent&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9155&utm_content=SDC_Newsletter+&utm_term=3580249&m_i=dStOzCRRSVnQXbejZr4A4D0CjNmLoDniLEav%2BJqEI19uyt1Z%2BawSQE9xCCP7rAta4J4Z08SYh53ttnROnALyZpoYwJSMJNhcIVdLI_dddc

NEOWISE-F3-July-4-2020-Chris-Schur-S.jpg (1140×712)

 

See the source image

https://www.ibtimes.com/nasa-offers-tips-how-see-visible-comet-neowise-3012079