Plateau Astro https://plateauastro.com/ News and thoughts about space and astronomy in Montréal and beyond. en Where to Watch the Solar Eclipse in Montréal https://plateauastro.com/blog/2024-04-01/where-watch-solar-eclipse-montreal <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2024-04/IMG_0017_0.jpeg?itok=ysr4gTvw" width="1650" height="1650" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> A few eclipse viewing spots I recommend <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>The eclipse is almost here! And a question I've been getting a lot is "where is the best spot to watch the eclipse in Montréal?"</p> <p>Most importantly: make sure you're in the blue part of the map below. And the further "in" to the blue you are, the longer totality time you'll get. So if you're in Old Port, you'll get more totality time than if you were in Parc Jarry, for instance.</p> <p><img alt="Solar Eclipse Totality Map Montréal 2024" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="06b951ab-7ab2-45b1-8a6f-256624f28bdf" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/eclipse-2024_0.png?itok=aWMJsCID" width="1650" height="1179" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>There's no real "best" spot and you don't need to overthink this. But below, I'll list off a few spots that might be a good for you, and the pros and cons of each.</p> <h2>Things to consider</h2> <ul><li>already have a good spot in your backyard or patio? No need to go anywhere!</li> <li> a wide open space like a park is ideal. This will give you a good view of the 360° sunset that happens at totality!</li> <li>try to avoid places with tall buildings so they don't risk blocking the view</li> <li>use the metro, as road traffic will be busy</li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Parc Jeanne-Mance</h2> <p><img alt="Parc Jeanne-Mance" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="82220505-34b1-43ac-86ec-d113b700b4c2" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_5173.jpeg?itok=sHbvgviv" width="1650" height="1237" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>This is my top recommended spot. My hunch is that this will be less busy than a lot of other places and has enough open space to accommodate lots of people.</p> <p>This will also provide a good open view of the horizon to see some of the 360° sunset. Also: how iconic to look at the eclipse and see the Mont Royal cross to your left?</p> <ul><li><strong>Totality time</strong>: 1 min, 15 sec</li> <li><strong>Nearest metro</strong>: Mont-Royal</li> <li><a href="https://maps.app.goo.gl/XhDD4q7wpx3nsGfk9">Google Map</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Parc Lafontaine</h2> <p><img alt="Parc Lafontaine" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0a69501e-568a-4418-abc1-4a26d6708e54" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_9471.jpeg?itok=0aDBONti" width="1650" height="1237" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>This is also another great centrally located spot. It lacks a bit of open space to see the 360° sunset and be sure to get a spot that isn't blocked by trees.</p> <p>The water won't be filled, so don't expect an idyllic scene. But come early enough and you might be able to grab a bench!</p> <ul><li><strong>Totality Time</strong>: 1 min, 14 sec</li> <li><strong>Nearest Metros</strong>: Sherbrooke, Mont-Royal</li> <li><a href="https://maps.app.goo.gl/y1Np5AqUZ9UjbHgx9">Google Map</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Beaver Lake / Lac au Castors</h2> <p><img alt="Beaver Lake" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3ae4fc07-c4bb-4920-9b54-afaf688db02a" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_0019.jpeg?itok=1_PNX1GP" width="1650" height="1652" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>This spot has a lot going for it, but will take about 30 minutes to walk to from the nearest metro. Seriously: don't even think about getting a parking spot nearby. There is a bus that goes directly here, but just assume traffic will be nuts.</p> <p>The eclipse will happen right above the St Joseph Oratory. You'll also have a solid view of the horizon to see part of the 360° sunset. You'll also have a clear view to see bright dots Jupiter and Venus at totality.</p> <ul><li><strong>Totality Time</strong>: 1 min, 24 sec</li> <li><strong>Nearest Metros</strong>: Guy Concordia (Green Line, 35 min walk), Côte-des-Neiges (Blue Line, 40 min walk)</li> <li><a href="https://maps.app.goo.gl/jVaQ7X2uxfFFxct96">Google Map</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Belvédère Outremont</h2> <p><img alt="Belvédère Outremont" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1edcecb2-7969-4295-947d-1db650d7667f" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_7879.jpeg?itok=tSgyFdWW" width="1650" height="1238" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>This is the best sunset spot in the city, and this will be a really killer view. But there's some downsides.</p> <p>The available space for this lookout point is small, so it could be very crowded. Honestly: arrive here at like 12:00 PM if you want to guarantee a spot.</p> <p>Depending on how many people decide to come here, the trail leading up might be horribly congested. Again, arrive early?</p> <p>But if you do get a good spot here, you'll have an amazing view of the 360° sunset overlooking the horizon looking west. The Sun will be more to the "left" compared to the photo above, so you'll be facing more towards the south than you would for a usual western sunset.</p> <ul><li><strong>Totality Time</strong>: 1 min 17 sec</li> <li><strong>Nearest Metro</strong>: Édouard-Montpetit (Blue Line + 25 minute walk)</li> <li><a href="https://maps.app.goo.gl/D13fTysvFwGFU4CB6">Google Map</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Parc Angrignon</h2> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Parc Angrignon: Google Maps" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="08248877-8fe0-48ad-9f65-d75c94259b61" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="720" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/parc%20angrignon.jpg?itok=gYygQIMb" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Credit: Vivek Jariya, Google Maps</figcaption></figure><p>If you're on the southwest part of the island, Parc Angrignon might be a solid spot! And of all my picks here, has the longest totality time. Also, the metro station is just a few minutes walk away.</p> <ul><li><strong>Totality Time</strong>: 1 min 50 sec</li> <li><strong>Nearest Metro</strong>: Angrignon</li> <li><a href="https://maps.app.goo.gl/oB4VwnCxWf76WhBy9">Google Map</a> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Parc Jarry</h2> <p><img alt="Parc Jarry" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ba58b1ae-c8a0-4867-ba39-40a928215201" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_7701.jpeg?itok=NOrr6OX6" width="1650" height="1238" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Although this has less than a minute of totality time, Parc Jarry will have lots of available space and have a good view of the 360° sunset. Perhaps the best of all the spots listed here.</p> <p>If you can snag that small hilltop by the pond? Good on ya.</p> <ul><li><strong>Totality Time</strong>: 50 sec</li> <li><strong>Nearest Metros</strong>: De Castelneau, Parc (Blue Line)</li> <li><a href="https://maps.app.goo.gl/bcyaXmaCkQsV7eBE8">Google Map</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>St Joseph's Oratory</h2> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="St Joseph Oratory" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="de67006b-2881-42da-9852-6044c76bab00" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1699" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/st-joseph-oratory-sunset.JPG?itok=GckbReg0" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Credit, Instagram: <a href="http://instagram.com/shirinanja/">@shirinanja</a></figcaption></figure><p>I imagine the Oratory will be packed. People flock here to watch the sunset and I can only imagine what it'll be like on April 8th.</p> <p>The stairs looking West provide great seating and you'll have an excellent view to see the 360° horizon. Also, if you feel you need to repent at the sight of totality, this might be your spot. But arrive earlier than you think. Like, church on Christmas Eve early.</p> <ul><li><strong>Totality Time</strong>: 1 min 22 sec</li> <li><strong>Nearest Metro</strong>: Côte-des-Neiges</li> <li><a href="https://maps.app.goo.gl/wJgQg14acJMjsvSh8">Google Map</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Other Free Events</h2> <p>Although it'll be packed, you might enjoy the feeling of being around tens of thousand of other people during the eclipse. Some of these events might have a limited amount of free solar eclipse glasses. Again, don't count on getting glasses and be sure to arrive early:</p> <ul><li><a href="https://www.parcjeandrapeau.com/en/total-solar-eclipse-april-8-2024-parc-jean-drapeau-montreal/">Eclipse of the Century: Parc Jean Drapeau</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.montrealsciencecentre.com/special-event/total-solar-eclipse-at-the-montreal-science-centre">Total Solar Eclipse: Montréal Science Center, Old Port</a></li> <li><a href="https://tsi.mcgill.ca/index.php?page=eclipse-2024">Eclipse Fair &amp; Viewing Party: McGill Downtown Campus, Lower Field</a></li> <li><a href="https://allevents.in/beaconsfield/experience-the-total-solar-eclipse-april-8th-2024/200026049483111">Total Solar Eclipse: John Abbott College</a></li> </ul><p>If you don't need to drive, please don't. Use public transportation (metro will be easier). Arrive early. And be kind to the people around you.</p> <p>Have a great eclipse!</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Do you now know where you're gonna see the eclipse because of this article? Buy me a coffee or become a monthly supporter!</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 01 Apr 2024 13:10:26 -0400 Trevor Kjorlien 84a4001d-7570-47c0-ad1b-2cc145d8fa2d Why is 2024 a Leap Year? https://plateauastro.com/blog/2024-01-09/why-2024-leap-year <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2024-01/IMG_5827_1.jpeg?itok=z5k1etAO" width="1650" height="1166" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> And why do we do this every four years? <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>Every four years, we add an extra day to our calendar. The elusive February 29.</p> <p>Why do we do this every four years? Why do we do it at all?</p> <h2>How long is a year, really?</h2> <p>It’s common to say that it takes the Earth 365 days to go around the Sun. In everyday life, this is a pretty good number to use.</p> <p>But the Earth actually takes about 365 days<strong> </strong>and<strong> </strong>6 hours to go around the Sun once. Or, as shown in the diagram below, 365.25 days. </p> <p>That extra 6 hours is critical to why we have leap years.</p> <p><img alt="The Earth going around the Sun in 365.25 days" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="01592ecb-f7af-4ec9-aadc-8a94375dcdb6" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/leap%20year%20diagram.png?itok=6oOfgq-6" width="1650" height="1650" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Example</h2> <p>Let's pretend we have a calendar with only 365 days in it. No leap years.</p> <h3>Year 1</h3> <p>The Earth goes around the Sun once. And we’ve found that it’s 6 hours out of sync. But who cares? It’s just 6 hours, and compared to 365 days, that’s basically nothing.</p> <h3>Year 2</h3> <p>The Earth goes around the Sun again. At the end of the year, the Earth is now 12 hours out of sync. Again, is this really a big deal?</p> <h3>Year 3</h3> <p>The Earth goes around the Sun again. Now it’s 18 hours out of sync. Big whoop.</p> <h3>Year 4</h3> <p>The Earth goes around the Sun again. Now it's out of sync by 24 hours, an entire day. Now it starts to hit us...</p> <p><img alt="Sunset on Belvédère Outremont" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="8268b09b-8cf8-4be1-8684-24772207c357" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_5842_0.jpeg?itok=mwPYprkH" width="1650" height="1100" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <h2>No Leap Year = Out of Sync</h2> <p>If we continued this example for 8 years, we'd be 2 days out of sync. 12 years, 3 days out of sync. And so on...</p> <p>After 100 years of using a 365 day calendar, it would be 25 days out of sync.</p> <p>Eventually, we would be looking at our calendars and the date wouldn't match what we would expect to see outside. The calendar would say something like July 1st and there would be two feet of snow on the ground.</p> <p>This is what adding a day every 4 years avoids. It keeps our calendars in sync.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Imagine a Different Planet</h2> <p>It might be good to hammer this home in your brain by imagining how often a Leap Year would happen on a different planet:</p> <h3>Questions</h3> <p>How often would a Leap Years happen if the planet took...</p> <ol><li>365 days and 12 hours to go around the Sun</li> <li>365 days and 4 hours to go around the Sun </li> <li>365 days and 1 hour to go around the Sun</li> </ol><p><img alt="Sunset on Belvédère Outremont" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="473b4244-a35b-43c2-89fb-06c2a7702929" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_5819.jpeg?itok=vIbEriNb" width="1650" height="1100" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <h3>Answers</h3> <ol><li>Every 2 years</li> <li>Every 6 years </li> <li>Every 24 years</li> </ol><p>Basically, we find how much "extra time" it takes the planet to go around the Sun. Then we divide 24 hours by that number.</p> <p>This assumes the planet also has a 24 hour day, but try and think about a planet that spins more slowly or quickly. What might their calendar look like?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Not exactly 365.25 days</h2> <p>The Earth's orbit around the Sun is actually a little bit more than 365 days and 6 hours. It's more like 365 days, 6 hours, and 9 minutes (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_orbit">Wikipedia Page all about Earth's orbit</a>).</p> <p>To compensate for that little bit of difference, some years which would normally be a Leap Year do not. <a href="https://www.rmg.co.uk/stories/topics/which-years-are-leap-years-can-you-have-leap-seconds#:~:text=What%20is%20a%20leap%20year,year%2C%20although%201900%20was%20not.">To quote this website</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>"After 1752 we adopted the system still in use today where an additional day is inserted in February in years wholly divisible by four, other than years ending in 00 with the exception of those divisible by 400 which are still leap years (like 2000)."</em></p> </blockquote> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2><img alt="Sun setting on the horizon on Belvédère Outremont" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a978b41b-e489-4de3-9def-ea07a380af89" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_5852.jpeg?itok=R9PNhry6" width="1650" height="1100" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></h2> <h2>Nature is Imperfect</h2> <p>Before I was old enough to know better, I assumed that the calendar had 365 days because we humans willed it that way. It just sounded like a cool number that was close to 360 (also a very useful number, I'd been told). And we did Leap Years just to keep things interesting.</p> <p>But as I got older, it became clear that some of our human-made systems arise from nature. But nature can be imperfect, and so we need to conform our systems to natural reality.</p> <p>It would be easier if Earth took <em>exactly</em> 365 days to go around the Sun. We wouldn't need Leap Years. </p> <p>But here we are: making the best use of the natural world around us, and compensating when we need to.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Do you know why we have Leap Years now? Support my work!</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 09 Jan 2024 18:00:00 -0500 Trevor Kjorlien 87e8cd70-28fb-4753-8334-a16e91b2d682 Take me to Null Island https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-12-20/take-me-null-island <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2023-12/kramer-nexus-of-earth.jpg?itok=M0xUffKX" width="1650" height="1104" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> The little spot on Earth where zero meets zero <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>There's a scene in Seinfeld that I've loved since I was a kid, and now I finally get to use it as an astronomy teaching tool.</p> <p>Kramer's lost. He calls Jerry on a payphone. Jerry asks where he is:</p> <p>Kramer: <em>“I’m on 1st and 1st. How can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the Nexus of the Universe!”</em></p> <p>Roll the clip...</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--video paragraph--view-mode--default container mt-4 mb-5"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <div class="media media--type-remote-video media--view-mode-default embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>Kramer may have found it weird to be at the corner of 1st and 1st, but what if you found yourself at the corner of 0 and 0?</p> <h2>No Location = A Location</h2> <p>My friend Jonah posted a story on Instagram a few days ago. From what I gather, he was on a plane to Los Angeles and looked at the location on his phone.</p> <p>What did the map show? Something like this:</p> <p><img alt="Jonah's Errant Location" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="249a66e2-d9c2-40d4-998b-36f99236a9fe" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/null-island-location.jpeg?itok=ztFddJmk" width="1650" height="1313" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Did the pilot take a wrong turn? Were they actually at the South Atlantic Ocean, below Ghana?</p> <p>No. But why did it show his location here in the middle of the ocean?</p> <h2>My web design past roars back</h2> <p>I'm super familiar with this exact spot as I've seen it over and over in my web design career.</p> <p>Many times, I've had to build sites with locations on a map. If you have no location coordinates – NULL coordinates – this is often where the default pin is set. </p> <p>But why here?</p> <p>This spot on Earth is where the latitude is 0° and the longitude is 0°.  "<em>How can the same map lines intersect with itself? I must be at the Nexus of the Planet!"</em></p> <p>You can find the position of any place on Earth with these two numbers.</p> <h3>Latitude</h3> <p>Latitude measures how far north-south you are.</p> <p>If you're at the Equator, we say you're at 0° latitude. If you go north 1°, we say your location is 1° N, and if you go south, you're at 1° S.</p> <p>So, this place is at the Equator (notice the dashed line in the map above indicating that).</p> <h3>Longitude</h3> <p>Longitude measures how far east-west you are. 0° is at a location called the Prime Meridian.</p> <p>It's not in the map above, so I've added here in the red dashed line:</p> <p><img alt="Null Island with Prime Meridian" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="45f6e661-efd4-45ab-a409-adfbc1286cd1" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/null-island-location-prime-meridian.jpeg?itok=5jyCMq1G" width="1650" height="1313" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>If you're on this line, we say you're at 0° longitude. If you go east 1°, we say your location is 1° E, and if you go west, you're at 1° W.</p> <p>Putting these two ideas together, we can pin down Montreal's location to 45°.5 N and 73.5° W.</p> <h2>Longitude is Arbitrary</h2> <p>There's no controversy in saying where the Equator is: it's at the halfway point between the North Pole and the South Pole. There's no debate to be had about where the halfway point is with latitude.</p> <p>Longitude is a different story. That vertical red line in the map above is a completely arbitrary line. For lack of a better term, it's not "naturally occurring".  </p> <p>We call this line the Prime Meridian.</p> <p>The Prime Meridian runs through the Greenwich Observatory, located in London, England. This location was <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Meridian_Conference">decided in October 1884</a> at the International Meridian Conference (yes, this sounds like a 99% Invisible or Radiolab episode just waiting to happen).</p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Tourists at the Prime Meridian" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5c1e8f73-f5b1-4d6e-ae83-80e9e4d2aaf4" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1084" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Tourists_taking_pictures_at_Prime_Meridian_monument%2C_Greenwich_Observatory%2C_London.jpg?itok=wDXFPVQx" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Daniel Case</figcaption></figure><p>It surprises me how recent this is! I seriously thought it would have been a date in the 1500s or something, but nope. Very recent.</p> <p>You can read the Wikipedia page for the full details, but other countries also suggested the line run through their cities, but lost the vote to England. </p> <p>So the coordinates 0° latitude and 0° longitude are only in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean because of a human decision.</p> <h3>Alternate Prime Meridian</h3> <p>Just imagine that instead of London being chosen as the Prime Meridian, it was Rome. Here is where the point 0° and 0° would be:</p> <p><img alt="Alternate Prime Meridian" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="59088a11-574d-4a1a-a607-e88db976847f" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Alternate%20Prime%20Meridian.jpeg?itok=zzF5k3zx" width="1650" height="1054" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>In one alternate timeline, the default spot for GPS coordinates could have been in the country of Gabon, nestled somewhere in Ivindo National Park:</p> <p><img alt="Alternate Prime Meridian in Rome, 0° and 0° location in Ivindo National Park" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="be5ecbb6-b08d-44a3-8b72-b9043c449c4b" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Ivindo%20National%20Park.jpeg?itok=dtpac83M" width="1650" height="1485" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>But nope: history went one way and the intersection of 0° and 0° is in the middle of the water. But that didn't stop us from giving this spot a name: Null Island.</p> <h2>Null Island</h2> <p>The nearest land to this spot is about 600 kilometres away.</p> <p>0° and 0° is pretty remote, however a weather buoy named "Soul" is permanently stationed there. It's part of a network of buoys used to track changing climate.</p> <p>Fun fact: each buoy is named after a musical genres and dances. Other names include "Reggae", "Samba", and "Waltz".</p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Buoys at Null Island" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9d499b84-a74a-4e7f-822e-184eb137bbd2" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1955" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Null_Island_2017.jpg?itok=I-eaOo4i" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Graham Curran</figcaption></figure><p>In conclusion: if you see your GPS coordinates somewhere off the coast Ghana and you didn't have plans to be there, fear not. Your map just has no location and has put NULL values in place there.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Did this article help you find your way back home? Become a supporter so I can help other lost Null Island souls.</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 20 Dec 2023 14:30:00 -0500 Trevor Kjorlien 459ca381-d544-4cca-92be-eb27080b6966 Why isn't the Winter Solstice the Earliest Sunset? https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-12-12/why-isnt-winter-solstice-earliest-sunset <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2023-12/IMG_2151_0.jpeg?itok=mECzdXnR" width="1650" height="1238" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> Why the earliest sunset of the year is a few days before you expect it should be <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>The earliest sunset of the year doesn’t happen on the Winter Solstice. This fact was a surprise to me when I first stumbled on it a few years ago. </p> <p>My intuition told me that because the Winter Solstice is the “darkest day of the year”, that would be the day of the earliest sunset. And from feedback I’ve gotten, most folks also think this.</p> <p>But no: the earliest sunset in Montréal is on December 10th each year. Why?</p> <p>I’ll admit: I’ve read about this for years and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I am going to do my best, but I am going to link to the resources that have helped me at the end and hopefully at least one of these will help you understand.</p> <p>OK, let’s get into it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>What is the Winter Solstice?</h2> <p>Let’s get this out of the way: what is the Winter Solstice? It is the day with the least amount of total daylight.</p> <p><img alt="Montréal December Daylength Sample" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="46736cc8-18d7-42c4-afc2-c4653baa03fd" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Montr%C3%A9al-december-daylength-sample.png?itok=AOu-YIZ1" width="1650" height="1038" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Above is a sample of dates for Montréal in December. You can <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/canada/montreal">visit this page</a> and look at the Daylength column for the full data.</p> <p>On December 21, we see the number 8:42:14 (8 hours, 42 minutes, and 14 seconds of daylight). All other days of the year have a higher number than this. This is why we call this the “darkest day of the year”.</p> <p>Everybody got that? Good.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>The Dates and Times</h2> <p>Next, let’s look at the actual date and times of the sunset in Montréal. Look again at the table above.</p> <p>If you <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/canada/montreal">visit this page</a>, look at the Sunset column. Here’s a few to illustrate the pattern:</p> <ul><li>Dec 1: 4:12 PM</li> <li>Dec 10: 4:10 PM</li> <li>Dec 21: 4:13 PM</li> <li>Dec 31: 4:20 PM</li> </ul><p>The takeaway: the date with the earliest sunset is December 10 at 4:10 PM.</p> <p>On the Winter Solstice on December 21, it’s at 4:13 PM. The earliest sunset is <strong>not</strong> on the Winter Solstice.</p> <p>Everybody got that? Good.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>The Length of a Day Changes Throughout the Year</h2> <p><img alt="Sunset over Montreal" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="26d11cb1-2508-4343-ad27-94fe9e312d09" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_3430.jpeg?itok=YW3fHk69" width="1650" height="1320" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>When trying to understand this entire concept, I stumbled over this particular part for a while. So hopefully I can help you avoid that.</p> <p>We have multiple ways of measuring how long a day is.</p> <ol><li>Using a clock. The length of it doesn’t change. It’s exactly 24 hours every single day. </li> <li>Using the Sun. The length of it varies throughout the year. Not much: only by a few seconds. Some days it’s 24 hours and 20 seconds long. Some days it’s 23 hours, 59 minutes and 40 seconds long.</li> </ol><p>How do we measure how long a day is using the Sun? Pretty simple:</p> <ul><li>When the Sun is exactly South in the sky, start a timer.</li> <li>The Earth will slowly rotate for about 24 hours, and the Sun will appear to move.</li> <li>Wait for the Sun to return again exactly South in the sky. Stop your timer.</li> </ul><p>You would think that this number would be the same every single day. But it’s not! How weird!</p> <p>How much does it vary?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Time for a Graph</h2> <p>OK, it’s graph time. Sorry if that scares you, but I promise this will help!</p> <p>Here’s a graph you’ll see over and over again if you research this topic. I’ve modified it slightly from <a href="https://explainingscience.org/2015/08/24/september-18-the-shortest-day/">Explaining Science</a>.</p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Solar Daylength Graph" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="24e78848-933b-4e05-b85d-533d5832d61b" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="983" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/day-length-graph.jpg?itok=BHmTh1gz" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Credit: ExplainingScience.org</figcaption></figure><ul></ul><p>This shows how many seconds <em>plus</em> or <em>minus</em> 24 hours we get throughout the year. Here’s a few examples (note that I’m eyeballing these values from the graph):</p> <ul><li>Jan 1: +27 seconds</li> <li>Apr 1: -17 seconds</li> <li>Jun 1: +10 seconds</li> <li>Sep 15: -22 seconds</li> <li>Dec 1: +20 seconds</li> </ul><p>So on January 1, the day lasts: 24 hours and 27 seconds.</p> <p>And on April 1, the day lasts: 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 43 seconds. </p> <p>And so on.</p> <p>Honestly, this kinda blew me away. The length of a day changes?! Yes… if you were to measure the time just using the Sun.</p> <p>And this is the crux of why the earliest sunset is on December 10 instead of December 21. There is a discrepancy between how we humans measure time on our watches (24 hours) and the Solar Time (which varies).</p> <p>We don't need to know <em>why the solar day changes</em> to continue, but if you're interested, I <a href="https://explainingscience.org/2015/08/24/september-18-the-shortest-day/">highly recommend this blog post</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>When do sunsets start getting later?</h2> <p>What I found clicked for me when researching this was flipping the question on it's head:</p> <p>Instead of thinking <em>When is the earliest sunset and why is it not the Winter Solstice?</em>, I found it easier to think <em>When do sunsets start getting later?</em></p> <p>For me, this next graph made the concept finally sink in. I've recreated what <a href="https://explainingscience.org/2014/12/05/the-shortest-day/">ExplainingScience.org has done in their blog post</a>, but adapted it for Montreal.</p> <p><img alt="Montréal Daylength Graph" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6bb4c620-6ba7-4f8c-95f5-543772245364" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/earliest-daylength-graph.png?itok=Iwujvsts" width="1650" height="1100" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Each orange bar shows the date that the Sun rises and sets. For example, December 1st, the Sun rises at 7:13 AM and sets at 4:12 PM.</p> <p>It also shows the amount of daylength in hours, minutes, and seconds.</p> <p>Remember how at this time of year, the Solar Day lasts about 24 hours and 30 seconds long? This means that, on our standard 24 hours watches and clocks, the sunrise will be "pushed" about 30 seconds later the following day.</p> <p>The pink arrows illustrate this push.</p> <p>What this also means is that the sunset on the following day will be "pushed" later, too.</p> <h3>The Push vs The Shrink</h3> <p>Look closely at the daylength of December 9, 10, and 11. The days keep shrinking and shrinking, and you would expect then, the sunset to get earlier and earlier.</p> <p>But on December 11, the "push" has a greater effect than the "shrink". On December 11, the sunset happens about 1 second later than December 10.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Conclusion: This Isn't Easy</h2> <p>If you found yourself really scratching your head here, that's totally OK! As an amateur myself, this took a lot of blog post reading, video watching, and walks outside to have it wrap around my head.</p> <p>If I had to summarize this entire concept, it would be this:</p> <ul><li>the length of a day with our human-made clocks is 24 hours long</li> <li>the length of a day using the Sun varies through the year</li> <li>the length of a day with the Sun varies a few seconds above or under 24 hours</li> <li>because of this discrepancy in time keeping, the Sunrise can be "pushed" ahead of what our clocks say it should be</li> <li>this "push" causes our Sunsets to start later in Montréal on December 11</li> </ul><p>I'm purposely omitting some stuff here, as I found it's what I needed to grasp the concept. I hope that it works for you, too.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Further Reading</h2> <p>I have to say a huge thanks to <a href="https://explainingscience.org">ExplainingScience.org</a> for their videos and blog posts. If you want to fully understand the concept, start by watching their brief video:</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--video paragraph--view-mode--default container mt-4 mb-5"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <div class="media media--type-remote-video media--view-mode-default embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>Then, read their blog posts:</p> <ul><li><a href="https://explainingscience.org/2015/08/24/september-18-the-shortest-day/">How the length of a day changes over the year</a></li> <li><a href="https://explainingscience.org/2014/12/05/the-shortest-day/">The Shortest Day</a></li> </ul><p>You'll hear a term called "The Equation of Time" as you read about this topic. There's even a graph that repeatedly comes up. I had a draft of this post with that graph, but found that for myself, it was <em>too much information</em> and my brain was full even as I wrote this.</p> <p>I omitted it. I found the "push" concept was all that was needed for somebody totally fresh to this early sunset idea to get the basics.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Did this help you understand why the Winter Solstice doesn't have the earliest sunset? Support my work to help me explain more concepts like this!</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 12 Dec 2023 16:10:22 -0500 Trevor Kjorlien 5e7106c7-c88c-466c-9026-f2f538d42334 Joshua Kutryk heads to the International Space Station https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-12-04/joshua-kutryk-heads-international-space-station <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2023-12/joshua-kutryk-cover.jpg?itok=dNjyV6sU" width="1650" height="1100" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> Some thoughts on Joshua&#039;s 2025 flight to the ISS <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>Two weeks ago, the Canadian Space Agency announced flight assignments for two astronauts, Joshua Kutryk and Jenni Gibbons.</p> <p>Quick recap: we have four active Canadian astronauts. David-Saint Jacques, who did a six-month stay on the International Space Station in 2019, and Jeremy Hansen who is scheduled for the Artemis II mission around the Moon as early as November 2024. </p> <p>The last two remaining active astronauts just got their assignments.</p> <p><img alt="Four active Canadian astronauts: David Saint-Jacques, Jeremy Hansen, Jenni Gibbons, and Joshua Kutryk" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6fef0ef7-ca86-464d-a641-8411c73ea818" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Astronaut-team--2017_0.jpg?itok=Mb0qb9LD" width="1650" height="1320" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Jenni Gibbons has been assigned as backup to Jeremy Hansen, just in case something happens and he can't go. There's a lot to unpack there, so I'll save that for a separate post.</p> <p>Joshua Kutryk got assigned a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station. The mission could happen as soon as early 2025. Let's look at some of the interesting tidbits about it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Getting There: Boeing Starliner</h2> <p>When the Space Shuttle retired in 2011, the only way to get to the ISS was with the Russian Soyuz craft. This is how Chris Hadfield got there in 2013, and how David Saint-Jacques got there in 2019.</p> <p>In 2020, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon craft began operational flights to the ISS. Since then, the USA and other partner countries have sent <em>most</em> crews with this vehicle. It's had a great and reliable run so far.</p> <p>But Joshua won't be going up in this bird. Instead, he’ll be flying on the Boeing Starliner craft.</p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Boeing Starliner in orbit. Credit: NASA." data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="28cd3ddf-46b5-4065-a273-460265092249" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1100" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/52095126237_fbd29c54e7_k.jpeg?itok=KU2Bx-I7" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Credit: NASA</figcaption></figure><p>Starliner's development has been... interesting. Like most new space vehicles, it's been delayed for years, but has also been <a href="https://www.space.com/boeing-starliner-spacecraft-delay-april-2024">marred by issues in its two flight tests into space</a>.</p> <p>Those test flights had no crew aboard, but in April 2024, the first crewed test is planned.</p> <p>If all goes well, Joshua could be flying as early as January 2025 as the first official crew of Boeing Starliner.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Two Canadians in Space At Once?</h2> <p>Only once has there been two CSA astronauts in space: in 2009 when Julie Payette was on a 16 day Space Shuttle mission while Robert Thirsk was on a 6 month mission aboard the ISS.</p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Julie Payette and Robert Thirsk in space" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9c618a68-1ceb-4299-8658-79ee244a7eae" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1127" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/05c1586d-6c9f-49bf-b922-ed235823cfa0.jpg?itok=zOa1ExaD" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Credit: NASA</figcaption></figure><p>Just spitballing: let’s say Joshua’s mission goes up on time in January 2025. Then, the Artemis II mission with Jeremy Hansen is a few months delayed.</p> <p>That means that Joshua would be in orbit around Earth while Jeremy is on his way with his crew around the Moon.</p> <p>This is common for USA and Russia, but for Canada it's a rare moment.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Last Canadian Astronaut to ISS?</h2> <p>The ISS is set to be de-orbited in 2030. That’s a moving target and could be extended, but let’s assume that date.</p> <p>Chris Hadfield launched to the ISS in December 2012. Six years later, David Saint-Jacques headed to the ISS in December 2018.</p> <p>It’s not a big dataset, but there’s a pattern: a CSA astronaut goes to the ISS about every 6 years. If Joshua goes up in January 2025 and arrives home in July 2025, this means that he might be the last CSA astronaut to live long-term on the ISS.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Mission Patch</h2> <p>For some CSA missions, the tastes of the astronaut is imbued in their patch.</p> <p>A prime example is Robert Thirsk's patches for his two missions. Thirsk is an admirer of Pacific Northwest Indigenous art and each patch was designed by Tsimshian artist Bill Helin.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--slideshow paragraph--view-mode--default mt-4 mb-5 md-my-5"> <div id="carousel-id-1390376479" class="carousel slide" data-ride="carousel"> <ol class="carousel-indicators"> <li data-target="#carousel-id-1390376479" data-slide-to="0"></li> <li data-target="#carousel-id-1390376479" data-slide-to="1" class="active"></li> </ol> <div class="field field--name-field-slideshow-images field--type-image field--label-hidden mx-auto carousel-inner"> <div class="carousel-item active"> <img loading="lazy" class="d-block img-fluid mx-auto image-style-product-image" src="/sites/default/files/styles/product_image/public/slideshow-images/sts-078-ecusson.png?itok=m2Hp1S71" width="1200" height="1200" alt="" typeof="Image" /> </div> <div class="carousel-item"> <img loading="lazy" class="d-block img-fluid mx-auto image-style-product-image" src="/sites/default/files/styles/product_image/public/slideshow-images/expedition-20-21-ecusson_0.png?itok=uujgTq5s" width="1200" height="1200" alt="" typeof="Image" /> </div> </div> <a class="carousel-control-prev" href="#carousel-id-1390376479" role="button" data-slide="prev"> <span class="carousel-control-prev-icon" aria-hidden="true"></span> <span class="sr-only">Previous</span> </a> <a class="carousel-control-next" href="#carousel-id-1390376479" role="button" data-slide="next"> <span class="carousel-control-next-icon" aria-hidden="true"></span> <span class="sr-only">Next</span> </a> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>You can see <a href="https://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions/">every CSA astronaut's mission here</a>, along with each mission's patch. You can even buy each of these mission patches <a href="https://boutique.ingeniumcanada.org/en/crests/space/">from the Ingenium store</a>.</p> <p>I’m curious when Joshua’s mission patch will be released and what it will contain. I'll admit to not being as tuned in when David Saint-Jacques mission was in the works, so I'll be watching more closely this time around.</p> <p>In videos and presentations, Joshua has referenced his upbringing in rural Alberta as he watched the night sky. As a kid who also grew up in rural Alberta and did much the same, I can't help but wonder if that'll play in to the design.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>BONUS: Both crew are from Alberta</h2> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Jenni Gibbons and Joshua Kutryk" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7400f7c8-0923-421f-a223-86cb034779cf" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1100" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/New-assignments-for-CSA-astronauts-Joshua-Kutryk-and-Jenni-Gibbons-.jpg?itok=7Bhm8Zqi" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Credit: CSA</figcaption></figure><p>Alright, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it: both Joshua and Jenni are from Alberta.</p> <p>While I think my home province is in a political <em>what-the-hell?</em> moment right now, I can't help but feel pride in seeing people like Joshua and Jenni come from there.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Learned more about Canadian spaceflight? Help me continue by supporting my work.</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 04 Dec 2023 15:22:57 -0500 Trevor Kjorlien 709db9b2-5948-479e-9956-6fe72a7e138c Recommended Telescopes & Space Gifts for Christmas https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-11-29/recommended-telescopes-space-gifts-christmas <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2023-11/Christmas%20Gifts-teaser.jpg?itok=eydC06Io" width="1650" height="1100" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> Two telescopes and some solid space goods <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>Christmas is coming up, and each year I usually get a few messages asking about what telescope somebody should by for their kids and family.</p> <p>It’s nearly a tradition at this point: a parent buys a $100 cheap-o plastic telescope that has a lotta hype on the box, but in real-world use is a huge disappointment. Trust me: do not buy these.</p> <p>So, I’m here to help. Below, I’m going to list only two telescopes. One is if you already have a steady tripod and the other is if you do not.</p> <p>They’re both able to get clear views of the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. They’re both more expensive than the $100 cheap-o plastic telescope, but they’re not an insanely high cost, either.</p> <p>If they’re out of your price range, I’ve listed a few other space gifts that are more affordable.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Celestron C90 Mak</h2> <p><strong>$350 CAD</strong></p> <p><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="https://maisonastronomie.ca/en/product/c90-maksutov-cassegrain/">Buy at Maison d'Astronomie</a></p> <p><img alt="Celestron C90 Mak being used by Trevor" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f091410e-5d64-41ef-bec9-55cf3614c94b" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/c90.jpg?itok=zFPc99Rp" width="1650" height="1101" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>If you have a tripod for a camera, go with this one.</p> <p>This is the telescope that I use when I need to be portable for my workshops. It comes with eyepieces, a small backpack, and spotting scope.</p> <p>Setup takes just a few minutes and gives great views of the Moon. You can also see Jupiter and its moons, and Saturn and its rings.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Orion Starblast 4.5</h2> <p><strong>$350 CAD</strong></p> <p><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="https://maisonastronomie.ca/en/product/orion-starblast-4-5/">Buy at Maison d'Astronomie</a></p> <p><img alt="Orion Starblast 4.5" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="dec39bb1-1b64-40bb-b7a6-69f2593f660f" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/starblast.jpg?itok=_rQUTsFA" width="1650" height="1761" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>If you do not have a tripod, go with this one.</p> <p>A major complaint I see with telescopes is that they are not steady and are difficult to point at things in the sky. You get what you want to see in the eyepiece, but then it quickly gets rustled and you have to infuriatingly re-find it.</p> <p>That’s why for most beginners, I recommend a table-top design like this. It sits steady on a flat surface. Then, you point and it’ll stay in place. It makes the hobby much more enjoyable.</p> <p>Also: with this design, there’s very little setup time. Just pop in the eyepiece, take off the front cap, point it at the Moon, and you’re good to go! Other designs can take 15 minutes to get going, and by that time your kid would rather run around the park instead of watching you fiddle any longer with the damn thing.</p> <p>Although I haven’t tried this telescope specifically, this is highly recommended by many astronomy groups. It’s also the same telescope that is lended out by some Montréal libraries, if you want to give that a whirl ahead of time.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Solar Eclipse Glasses</h2> <p><strong>$6 CAD. Available in bulk orders.</strong></p> <p><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="http://plateauastro.com/shop/solar-eclipse-glasses">Buy at Plateau Astro Shop</a></p> <p><img alt="Solar eclipse glasses" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c73305fe-fdcd-485d-a07b-3bd303d4a3bb" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_9447_0.jpg?itok=vh2TEJZy" width="1650" height="1650" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>On April 8, 2024, day will turn into night over Montréal during the total solar eclipse. To see it, you’ll need eclipse glasses.</p> <p>I sell these myself, either individually or in 5, 10, and 25 packs (so you could prep your entire visiting relatives, if you wanted!)</p> <p>Buying these really helps support me and my business. It’s much appreciated!</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Glow in the Dark Stars</h2> <p><strong>$15 CAD</strong></p> <p><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="https://www.amazon.ca/Kangaroos-Ultra-Stars-Count-Bonus/dp/B0711T1VHS/ref=sr_1_30?crid=17EGUQZCJ1QDI&amp;keywords=glow+in+the+dark+stars&amp;qid=1701282755&amp;sprefix=glow+in+the+dark+st%2Caps%2C729&amp;sr=8-30">Buy on Amazon</a></p> <p><img alt="Glow in the dark stars" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6d227987-fcbb-4911-a5e3-2ca7a88bd980" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/glow-stars.jpg?itok=keGzWjzV" width="1650" height="1622" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Telescope out of your budget? Get some glow in the dark stars for your kid’s room.</p> <p>I remember getting these as a kid and loving them. Legit: I was excited to head to bed and wait for the moment the lights turned off.</p> <p>You can also use this as an activity to teach about some of the constellations.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Canadian Space Agency Patch</h2> <p><strong>$10 CAD</strong></p> <p><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="https://boutique.ingeniumcanada.org/en/csa-asc-silicone-crest.html">Buy at Ingenium</a></p> <p><strong><img alt="Canadian Space Agency Patch" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="99eed66e-99d1-4fcf-a903-d7648902b2ae" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/patch.jpg?itok=Nex4a05s" width="1650" height="1650" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></strong></p> <p>NASA patches are cool. But if you want your kid to stand out, get them the recently redesigned Canadian Space Agency logo patch.</p> <p>Caveat: I thought they were going to be made out of thread, but instead it’s silicone. Hoping the CSA eventually gets these in higher quality material. Now, you’d think that Canada’s astronauts would have a higher quality patch? Nope! They wear this exact patch on their suits (at least from what I’ve seen in autumn 2023). Take a close look at the patch the next time you see Jeremy Hansen in his space suit.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>RTL SDR Radio Receiver</h2> <p><strong>$105 CAD</strong></p> <p><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="https://www.amazon.ca/RTL-SDR-Blog-RTL2832U-Software-Defined/dp/B0BMKB3L47/ref=sr_1_7?crid=1TTWUPXV2XGUR&amp;keywords=rtl%2Bsdr%2Bv3&amp;qid=1701282388&amp;sprefix=rtl%2Bsdr%2Caps%2C521&amp;sr=8-7&amp;ufe=app_do%3Aamzn1.fos.71722c10-739d-471b-befb-3e4b9bf7d0d6&amp;th=1">Buy on Amazon</a></p> <p><strong><img alt="RTL SDR Radio Kit" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f7df5558-e26f-49f2-a565-3230b02fe2c5" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/rtl-sdr.jpg?itok=7_P3myYd" width="1650" height="1564" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></strong></p> <p>This is more fitting for a teenager who has an interest in electronics and physics. This kit will them to “tune in” to a wide variety of radio channels, including spacecraft that transmit back down to Earth.</p> <p>I’ve used this kit myself to download weather imagery from NOAA satellites. It takes a bit of practice, but this is an insanely gratifying exercise which teaches your kid many skills.</p> <p>The kid includes the USB dongle, wires, antenna, and little tripod. All you’ll need is a laptop and download the free SDR++ software to get going.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Plateau Astro Prints</h2> <p><img alt="Plateau Astro Print" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="210133dc-5f79-4871-834f-10dbb0d8a747" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/plateau-astro-tam-tams-moon.jpg?itok=DTojYcJW" width="1650" height="1650" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>OK, one more. If you want to support Plateau Astro further, I sell prints of photos I’ve taken. <a href="https://plateauastro.com/shop">Take a browse on my shop</a>.</p> <p>Thank you! Happy holidays!</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Found this useful? Consider buying me a coffee or becoming a monthly Patreon supporter.</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 29 Nov 2023 13:43:01 -0500 Trevor Kjorlien dffd232b-0734-4a8d-9b94-ec9bc085e85b How to see the Partial Solar Eclipse in Montréal on October 14, 2023 https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-09-27/how-see-partial-solar-eclipse-montreal-october-14-2023 <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2023-09/eclipse-1_2.jpg?itok=uX_hR0xx" width="1650" height="1650" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> Watch the Moon cover part of the Sun on a Saturday afternoon <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>Montréal will be treated to a solar eclipse this autumn. This is when the Moon appears to go in front of the Sun, blocking some portion of it.</p> <p>For this eclipse, we'll see about 20% of the Sun get blocked in Montréal. These are quite a rare event, so if it's clear and you have the right equipment, you should definitely make time to watch this.</p> <p>I've created a quick video on how to see it. Below, I'll go in further detail:</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--video paragraph--view-mode--default container mt-4 mb-5"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <div class="media media--type-remote-video media--view-mode-default embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>When?</h2> <p>The solar eclipse will be visible on Saturday, October 14. Here are the most important times:</p> <ul><li><strong>12:11 PM</strong>: start of the eclipse. The Moon will begin blocking the Sun on the right-hand side.</li> <li><strong>1:17 PM</strong>: maximum eclipse. This is the most the Sun will be blocked.</li> <li><strong>2:23 PM</strong>: end of the eclipse. The Moon will stop blocking the Sun on the bottom-left.</li> </ul><p>For complete info and animation of the eclipse from Montréal, <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/canada/montreal?iso=20231014">TimeAndDate.com</a>.</p> <h2>Where?</h2> <p>This will be visible over most of North and South America. So if you have friends in these continents, let them know!</p> <p>The times and view will be different depending on where you are on Earth. <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/solar/2023-october-14">Use this page to find the full info for locations</a>.</p> <h2>Where in Montréal?</h2> <p>The eclipse will be high in the sky during the eclipse. So long as you have a clear view of the sky, you should be all set!</p> <p>In 2021, it was a different scenario: the eclipse happened early in the morning as the Sun was rising. For that, we needed a clear view of the eastern horizon.</p> <p>But for the October 14, 2023 eclipse, anywhere in the city is a good spot.</p> <h2>How to see it?</h2> <p>This is important: to see it you, you'll need a pair of eclipse glasses. Never look at the Sun without proper eye protection.</p> <p>If you don't have a pair yet, I have them for sale! They ship quickly and they're a great way to help support Plateau Astro.</p> <p class="text-align-center"><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="https://plateauastro.com/shop/solar-eclipse-glasses">Buy Eclipse Glasses</a></p> <ul><li>$6.00: 1-pack</li> <li>$27.50: 5-pack</li> <li>$50.00 10-pack</li> <li>also available in bulk orders</li> </ul><p><a href="https://plateauastro.com/shop/solar-eclipse-glasses"><img alt="Eclipse Glasses" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7c76b334-027d-4b31-a7ac-64b671192a7b" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/sun-spotters-youtube_3.jpg?itok=fTLC3jDH" width="1650" height="928" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></a></p> <p>These glasses are ISO 12312-2 certified and are safe for looking at the Sun.</p> <h2>Take part in the eclipse experiment</h2> <p>An experiment I'm doing: trying to get people all over the country to take a photo at the same time to show how different it will appear. You can use your eclipses and your phone to do it.</p> <p>I've created a dedicated page with all the details on how to do it that you can send to other around Canada.</p> <p class="text-align-center"><a class="btn btn-secondary" href="https://plateauastro.com/missions/2023-10-14/oct-14-2023-solar-eclipse">Take part in the experiment</a></p> <h2>Why you should care about the eclipse</h2> <p>Solar eclipses are a near-spiritual event for me. Here's why:</p> <p>The Sun is enormous. The Moon is a lot smaller than it.</p> <p>Yet, when we see the Sun and the Moon in the sky, they appear nearly the exact same size. How can this be if they're vastly different?</p> <p>The reason is that the Moon <em>just so happens</em> to be the correct distance from the Earth that it <em>appears</em> the exact same size that the Sun does. Isn't that wild?</p> <p>This wasn't always the case. Millions of years ago, the Moon was much closer to the Earth when it was forming. <a href="https://news.uchicago.edu/explainer/formation-earth-and-moon-explained#:~:text=Today%2C%20the%20moon%20is%20moving,250%2C000%20miles)%20when%20it%20formed.">Almost 17 times closer</a>! Back then, the Moon would have looked enormous in the sky, but eclipses wouldn't have the spectacular appeal they have now.</p> <p>Millions of year from now, the Moon will be slightly further away, and won't be able to block out the Sun fully. We won't have total solar eclipses then.</p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Photo of myself standing in Nunavut during the August 2008 solar eclipse" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="60cbc3f0-d28a-492c-99e4-33b2cd5eead9" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1238" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/file028610.jpg?itok=ggwEv5Vr" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Photo of myself standing in Nunavut during the August 2008 solar eclipse</figcaption></figure><h3>Special Time and a Special Place</h3> <p>Earth is the only planet in our Solar System where a Moon <em>perfectly</em> appears the same size as the Sun. What are the odds that it happens to be the one planet with creatures on it that have the mental capacity to appreciate that fact?</p> <p>And how lucky am I that I get to be in that special time and place.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Find this eclipse info useful? Consider buying me a coffee or becoming a monthly supporter!</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 27 Sep 2023 10:41:55 -0400 Trevor Kjorlien d6c7ef6f-fbb3-4cbc-82ee-fbdcb01be65d How to Know When an Amazing Sunset Will Happen https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-05-03/how-know-when-amazing-sunset-will-happen <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2023-04/IMG_8581_0.jpeg?itok=cv5zUn56" width="1650" height="1228" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> Learn to love partly cloudy skies <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>Why are some sunsets so fiery and spectacular, that they make us stop in our tracks, whip out our phone, and take a photo?</p> <p>And why are some sunsets just kinda... average?</p> <p>What makes the difference between the two?</p> <h2>Clouds Provide the Magic</h2> <p>If we watch a sunset on a clear evening, it can be a beautiful view:</p> <p><img alt="Sunset with no clouds" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9529f676-5b8c-499b-bf91-1a823f288534" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_5842.jpeg?itok=s3-RTmGm" width="1650" height="928" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>But this isn't the sky-on-fire type of sunset that I'm taking about.</p> <p>It might feel counter-intuitive, but the best sunsets happen on partly cloudy days. These fiery sunsets are caused by the Sun's light hitting the bottom of these clouds. Here's a few examples:</p> <h3>Just a few clouds</h3> <p>This can make for some nice cotton candy-looking clouds. Very aesthetic!</p> <p><img alt="Sunset with a few clouds above the horizon" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2d9c763c-317b-4285-8f11-ef0be9ddbb12" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_9309.jpeg?itok=2mQRhScP" width="1650" height="1238" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <h3>A few more clouds</h3> <p>Here, the sky is a reddish-orange buffet.</p> <p><img alt="Sunset with a few more clouds on the horizon" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="71c8c57d-9d6e-4a26-bd73-ee7c442e153f" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_8533.jpeg?itok=wjCCl0mv" width="1650" height="1238" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <h3>Let's go nuts</h3> <p>These are the show-stoppers.</p> <p><img alt="Sunset with many clouds" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3a6d53f4-60df-4cf9-8c44-4e0efddd44e8" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_8581.jpeg?itok=Zn0LIFns" width="1650" height="1228" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>The Sun Needs a Clear Path</h2> <p>Of course, too much clouds just make for a cloudy sky. Not cool.</p> <p>What we need is for the Sun to be setting on the horizon and have a clear path for its light to hit the bottom of the clouds above us. In fact, you could have a canopy of clouds above you covering most of the sky, but if there's <em>just enough</em> clearance on the horizon for the Sun to peak its head through and shine on the bottom of the clouds, you should be in for a good show.</p> <h2>Cloud Colours</h2> <p>Why do some clouds at sunset appear yellow and orange, and others appear red and pink?</p> <p>In short: when sunlight has to go through more air to reach the clouds, the more red it will appear.</p> <p>In my rough, not-to-scale diagram below, you can see the Sun setting below the horizon. Light is leaving the Sun, traveling through space, and going through Earth's atmosphere.</p> <p>Notice that the clouds closer to the horizon appear yellow. The light that hits them has to go through the least amount of atmosphere. The orange clouds are a bit further from the horizon and the light has to go through <em>even more</em> atmosphere. Finally, the red clouds are even further from the horizon, and light goes through a lot of atmosphere.</p> <p><img alt="Diagram showing Sunlight going through more atmosphere and making clouds different colours" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f5ebc0b3-2e95-48a7-9caa-0d0ea0d3cb2b" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/sunset-cloud-diagram-wide.jpg?itok=K4QymB5E" width="1650" height="1238" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Light is made up of all the colours of the rainbow. Remember ROYGBIV?</p> <p>Well, when light goes through just a bit of atmosphere, the red, orange, and yellow light wavelengths are all able to reach the first cloud. It appears yellow.</p> <p>When light goes through more atmosphere, those yellow wavelengths of light get scattered. We're left with just the orange and red wavelengths of light. The cloud appears orange.</p> <p>And when light goes through a lot of atmosophere, the orange wavelengths are scattered. So we're left with only the red wavelengths of light reaching the cloud and making it look a pretty pinkish-red.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h3>Spotting Pinkish-Red Clouds</h3> <p>These clouds are really gorgeous to me, and I keep my eyes open for them. One way is to the look in the opposite direction of the sunset to the East.</p> <p>Remember: the light has to go through more atmosphere to reach these clouds. Here's some pink clouds after a rain storm from 2020:</p> <p><img alt="Clouds in the east appearing red" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="770ee55b-be7f-49f1-9af2-0b950467eccc" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/IMG_8650.jpeg?itok=XA3Iwq_s" width="1650" height="1768" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Another way that light goes through more atmosphere is for high-altitude clouds. These would typically appear in the West, in the direction of the Sunset.</p> <p>High-altitude clouds are usually icy cirrus clouds, and can make an incredible effect:</p> <p><img alt="High-altitude reddish-pink clouds in the West" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0ddb424d-c4e2-40bb-a221-8be3119a098c" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/07E1DD8D-ABEB-4F3F-A89A-DE6F8A030E9B.jpg?itok=XtrHSuT5" width="1650" height="1650" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>How to Predict Fiery Sunsets</h2> <p>Now you know that sky-on-fire sunsets need:</p> <ul><li>some clouds</li> <li>a path for the Sun to reach those clouds in the western sky at sunset</li> </ul><p>This combo happens on partly cloudy days. My recommendation is to keep an eye on your weather apps for partly cloudy skies around sunset time.</p> <p>That's the recipe for these majestic views.</p> <p><img alt="Weather app showing partly cloudy skies at sunset time" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3a132147-e137-4b61-9383-69a2926d64b5" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/sunset-clouds-weather-app.jpg?itok=4RmqVXOM" width="1650" height="1238" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Know a bit more about how to see amazing sunsets?</p> <p>Support my work on Patreon or buy me a coffee!</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 03 May 2023 18:00:00 -0400 Trevor Kjorlien 626d3f4b-a380-4658-9555-81293fef63f2 The Solar Eclipse Comes to Montréal in April 2024 https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-04-08/solar-eclipse-comes-montreal-april-2024 <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2023-04/IMG_6202.JPG?itok=8kqa-7Ew" width="1650" height="1051" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> Most (but not all!) of the city will go dark on April 8th, 2024 for several minutes as the Moon blocks out the Sun <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>In the middle of the afternoon on April 8th, 2024, Montréal will go dark for several minutes. And this time, you won't have to check the <a href="https://poweroutages.hydroquebec.com/poweroutages/">Hydro Quebec outage map</a>.</p> <p>On that Monday afternoon, if the weather is good, traffic will cease. Every building will be vacant of people. The streets and parks will be flooded with people wearing eclipse glasses looking upward.</p> <p>The sky will begin to darken, and the birds and animals might think it's nighttime and start their evening routine. The temperature will drop a few degrees. In each direction you look, a 360° sunset will begin taking place.</p> <p><img alt="People watching the partial solar eclipse over Montréal in June 2021" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7bd65780-21ee-4019-8f5a-061db87944c0" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/DSCF4824.jpg?itok=pC0zly4L" width="1650" height="997" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>And at exactly 3:26 PM, the moment we've been waiting years for will have arrived: the Moon will totally block out the Sun over Montréal.</p> <p>For just a few minutes, people will be able to take their eclipse glasses off and marvel at the sight. Crowds will shout with joy and some may even begin to cry.</p> <figure role="group" class="caption caption-img image-style-content-full-width"><img alt="Total Solar Eclipse by Luc Viatour" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="06506495-2570-4e34-98d0-f121a5d0bc1c" data-image-style="content_full_width" height="1625" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Solar_eclipse_1999_4.jpg?itok=L2KNr82q" typeof="Image" width="1650" /><figcaption>Credit: Luc Viatour </figcaption></figure><p>And then, the Moon will move and the Sun's light will return. Glasses back on, and slowly, the city will return to normal. People will return to their office desks, traffic will recommence, and countless thousands of eclipse glasses will be discarded in garbage cans and on the streets.</p> <p>It's gonna be magic. Here's how to see it:</p> <h2>When</h2> <ul><li>April 8th, 2024</li> <li>2:14 PM – Moon starts blocking the Sun</li> <li>3:26 PM – Moon fully blocks out the Sun</li> <li>3:28 PM – Moon ends fully blocking out the Sun</li> <li>4:36 PM – Moon ends blocking out the Sun</li> </ul><h2>Where</h2> <p>In order to see the Moon fully block out the Sun, you need to be in the path of totality. This is shown in the map below by the narrow band of dark red. <a href="https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2024-april-8?n=165">View the interactive map here</a>.</p> <p><img alt="Path of totality, April 8 2024 eclipse" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="edb4ecec-e448-4dd0-bf68-c120269d11d3" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/Screenshot%202023-04-08%20at%2010.46.53%20AM.png?itok=SM8AyYLU" width="1650" height="879" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>Montréal is <em>just barely</em> exists inside of the path of totality. And that's where it gets weird.</p> <h2>Where in Montréal</h2> <p>The path of totality cuts through the island of Montréal.</p> <p>Yes: only some of the island will be able to see the Moon totally block out the Sun. And if you're not in the right spot, you'll miss the climax of the eclipse, which you don't want to do.</p> <p>I've made this map to showcase roughly where totality will take place in Montréal. Sorry, Laval:</p> <p><img alt="Solar Eclipse Map of Montréal, April 8 2024" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="fb644fe0-6cde-4112-8b21-75b8eb76830b" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/eclipse-2024-Montr%C3%A9al-map-logo.jpg?itok=ci5GYGMX" width="1650" height="1179" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2>Challenges for Montréal</h2> <p>I'm preparing a video about the eclipse, but the city of Montréal needs to be prepared for the unique nature of this eclipse:</p> <ul><li>how will they handle traffic coming from Laval all at once to see the eclipse?</li> <li>how many tourists can the city handle?</li> <li>will the city shut down traffic for several minutes during totality?</li> <li>should they mandate the schools and businesses take the day off to celebrate?</li> <li>how will the city/province hand out eclipse glasses to everybody?</li> <li>what if another ice storm happens just days before the eclipse? it can happen!</li> </ul><p>If you work at the city and are reading this post, <a href="https://plateauastro.com/contact">get in touch</a> and I can help redirect your questions to people who can offer advice.</p> <h2>What if it's Cloudy?</h2> <p>I'm writing this on the morning of April 8, 2023. And it's sunny with clear skies! Let's hope it's the same for next year.</p> <p>It'll be unfortunate if it's cloudy, but even if it is, there's still magic to be had. For the 15 minutes before and after totality, the sky will go completely dark. It'll effectively turn into nighttime.</p> <p>Although not the ideal scenario, what an odd thing to witness and remember: the day Montréal went dark in the middle of the day.</p> <h2>Live Stream</h2> <p>I will be doing a live stream covering all you need to know about the eclipse on April 16th at 8:00 PM. YouTube embed below:</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--video paragraph--view-mode--default container mt-4 mb-5"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <div class="media media--type-remote-video media--view-mode-default embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--support paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-9 col-lg-7 col-xl-6"> <div class="text-align-center alert alert-warning my-5 py-4"> <p>Did this help you plan for the upcoming eclipse? Help me save your eyeballs and support my work!</p> <div class="d-flex flex-column flex-sm-row justify-content-center"> <a href="https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=6977025" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/patreon.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Become a Patreon"></a> <a href="https://www.buymeacoffee.com/plateauastro" class="p-3"><img src="/themes/armstrong/images/support/bmc.png" class="mx-auto d-block" width="210" height="60" alt="Buy Me a Coffee"></a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> Sat, 08 Apr 2023 10:12:35 -0400 Trevor Kjorlien f3f5b326-f64c-4040-9a93-49fedc6a4fcd The Moon is Going to Start to Look Different https://plateauastro.com/blog/2023-03-31/moon-going-start-look-different <img loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/2022-08/B50D6850-337F-453C-A017-CB863C674F65_1_201_a.jpeg?itok=OKqan64y" width="1650" height="1650" alt="" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /> How will we look at the Moon knowing there are humans upon it? <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <p>I'm writing this just three days before NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will announce which astronauts will fly to the Moon on Artemis II.</p> <p>Planned for late 2024, three Americans and one Canadian will be launched on the SLS rocket, fly around the Moon in the Orion capsule, and splash back to Earth 10 days later.</p> <p>The Moon is going to start to look different.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--text paragraph--view-mode--default container"> <div class="row justify-content-center"> <div class="col-md-10 col-lg-9"> <h2> </h2> <h2>50 Years</h2> <p>I've always been slightly jealous that my parents were alive during the Apollo era. What must it have been like to be there, in person, to witness Apollo 8's first orbit around the Moon? Apollo 11's first steps on the surface?</p> <p>Then, to walk outside, look up at the Moon and let the idea sink in: T<em>here are humans there. How can that be?</em></p> <p>The last time humans walked or orbited around the Moon was in December 1972. That's now over 50 years ago.</p> <p>Nobody under the age of 50 has ever had that moment to look up at the Moon and think that thought. For every four people alive, three of them haven't witnessed that.</p> <h2>Celestial Tight-Rope Walkers</h2> <p>In the film '<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_on_Wire">Man on Wire</a>', tight-rope walker Philippe Petit walks between the Twin Towers in 1974. The photos of him performing this are incredible.</p> <p><img alt="Man on Wire" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2f5fba49-42c0-45bb-ab9c-1abd1845bbcf" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/man-on-wire.jpg?itok=9uJrrxNC" width="1650" height="1238" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>But there's a photo from the film that strikes me: a canted angle shot of people looking up at the Twin Towers as he walks across. </p> <p>How could they not forget that moment? And how could they ever walk past the towers again without thinking of that moment?</p> <p><img alt="Man on Wire, people looking up at Twin Towers" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a5a61932-f119-4ea1-bcfa-1cc839c8090b" data-image-style="content_full_width" loading="lazy" src="/sites/default/files/styles/content_full_width/public/inline-images/man-on-wire-looking-up.jpg?itok=5BYXCbt_" width="1650" height="905" typeof="Image" class="image-style-content-full-width" /></p> <p>How will we look up at the Moon knowing there's celestial tight-rope walkers upon it?</p> <p>The Moon is going to start to look different.</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 31 Mar 2023 15:53:00 -0400 Trevor Kjorlien cf74e991-71ca-4d0d-9c15-8f52e851e8df