I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

This image isn't as jaw-dropping as some of those big, flashy nebulae that I post, but it's actually quite interesting.

This is known as Einstein's Cross; it is a galaxy, or at least the effect caused by one. I've posted a few pictures of the Abell 370 gravitational lens, where the cumulative gravity of the galaxy cluster acts as a giant lens magnifying and distorting the light that passes through it. This invisible galaxy is doing something similar. It sits between us and a distant quasar, and its gravity distort's the quasar's light into that cloverleaf shape.

Image Credit and License: J. Rhoads (Arizona State U.) et al., WIYN, AURA, NOIRLab, NSF

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

A tufted titmouse ponders the change of seasons.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saturday reflections

The reflections are minimal in this one, but I like it anyway: the last store window in Asbury Park.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Urban poetry

Street signs in Asbury Park. The past few years have been hard on all of us.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

NGC 6559 is a nebula cluster in Sagittarius, about 5000 light years from Earth.

The stars in this image are so dazzling; I keep thinking I'm actually looking at a painting, a woman by Klimt maybe, draped in a cloak of stars.

Image Credit and Copyright: Roberto Sartori

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Bonus bird blogging

The beach at Point Pleasant, full of black-backed gulls.

Sunday bird blogging

This downy woodpecker in Central Park Friday had obviously found an avian buffet in that tree. He was digging away when I arrived, and was still going at it when I passed by again on my way out.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Bonus reflections

Beach house facing the sunrise.

Comic Con is taking place this weekend, and remembering how much fun I had taking pictures of attendees a few years ago, I was very tempted to abandon my homework and go looking for photo opportunities.

But I didn't, mostly because I still have such a huge backlog of photos to process from my recent ventures outside the city. (And homework.) But also because it doesn't yet feel like a world where something like Comic Con is possible—or desirable. Not yet.

Saturday reflections

Another store window in Asbury Park.

Friday, October 8, 2021


The colors and detail in these images of waves fascinate me. This is one way photography has a definite advantage—freezing the moment so you can look at it without the distraction of motion.

It makes me think of Sylvia Plath: the freakish Atlantic/Where it pours bean green over blue. I do see what she meant.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

End of the season, part 2

The beaches are actually closed only to swimmers—no lifeguards on duty—so walking and wading and watching the sunrise are acceptable year round.

End of the season

I am fairly confident that palm trees are not indigenous to New Jersey, but they do give a festive (and only a little tacky) air to this restaurant on the boardwalk.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Sunrise in the temperate zone


Astronomy Tuesday

A slightly different sunrise than the ones I saw a few days ago.

At the South Pole, the sun should make its first appearance after the long winter at the equinox, but because of the lensing effect of the Earth's atmosphere, the first sliver appears a few weeks early. And once it finally emerges, it takes its time -- the sunrise can take up to two weeks.

Image Credit and Copyright: Martin Wolf (U. Wisconsin), IceCube Neutrino Obs., NSF; ht: Alice Allen

Monday, October 4, 2021

Days of Heaven

There's kind of an Andrew Wyeth feel to this landscape that I love. It makes me think of prairies and pioneers, not dunes at the Jersey Shore.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

Cookman Avenue in downtown Asbury Park on a perfect afternoon in early fall.

Sunday bird blogging

A pair of great black-backed gulls guarding their section of the beach at Point Pleasant.

This is the largest species of gull in the world. When a flock of them swoops towards you on the sand, they are quite intimidating, and they owned this beach.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Bonus reflections

The AirBnB was a block from the beach, so there were sunrises. And photographs of sunrises.

I love the way the sun reflects as three bright spots on the water.

Saturday reflections

These reflections in a store window look very strange and mysterious to me, like something I might have seen in Tehran or Istanbul, but this was in the rather prosaic downtown in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

We stopped for lunch on our way to Point Pleasant, and I had maybe the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life at Talula's (cheddar cheese with caramelized onions and apple slices on sourdough -- yum -- also something I was not likely to find in Istanbul or Tehran) and it was all charming, but definitely not exotic.

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Big Man

Many of these benches along the boardwalk are dedicated to friends or family; this one is a memorial for all of us.

UPDATED: We walked the boardwalk one last time this morning before heading back to the city, and when we walked past this bench, I said, “Good morning, Big Man.”

As we passed, I turned back to see what it said on the other side, and it was, “Back at you.”

Jersey Shore

The (mostly) deserted boardwalk in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, early this morning.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Trees at Jamaica Bay

I don't know if these trees are dead, or just lost all their leaves in one of our recent hurricanes, but they were beautiful.

I've been inundated with schoolwork, including creating an educational game using Google Slides (which only took me about ten times as long as I had planned) but I'll be studying from the Jersey Shore for the next couple of days -- one of the advantages of life in the age of Zoom. I can go to school anywhere that has wi-fi.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

In Astronomy as in Real Estate, it's location, location, location.

In this image, the location that matters is our vantage point here on Earth, which puts these two very different objects into the same frame. M52, the star cluster on the left, is a mere 5000 light years away, while the Bubble Nebula, on the right, is more than twice as far. But seen from Earth, they look like neighbors.

Image Credit and Copyright: Lorand Fenyes

Monday, September 27, 2021

Jamaica Bay

Despite the exotic name, this Jamaica is in Queens. I drove past the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on the way back from the Rockaways a few weeks ago--one more place in New York I've never been despite having lived here for so long--so, finding myself with a free morning last week, I went back.

It's an easy enough drive from Manhattan, assuming that one has something to drive, of course. It turned out that there wasn't that much to see there; many of the trails were closed for maintenance, and none of the birds I saw let me get anywhere near them. Still, it was a pleasant place to walk for an hour or two instead of doing homework.

I am amazed to find myself with a huge backlog of unprocessed pictures again. It's been so long since I had so many new things to photograph.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

Back to the beach.

I remain terrible at telling one seagull from another, but since first-year herring gulls are the only brown gulls in this part of the world, I can at least be confident about this guy.

Once he grows up and turns white, that will be quite a different story.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Saturday reflections

Reflections times three, somewhere on the West Side of Manhattan.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Urban poetry

This is just a grocery store/deli in Rockaway Beach, but I was charmed by the name and the bright colors.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

It's baaaack!

When we last saw comet C67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko several years ago, the Rosetta probe had landed on it and managed to send back several images before self-destructing.

Its 6.4 year orbit takes it out beyond the orbit of Jupiter but it's approaching the sun again and will be visible through a telescope over the next few months.

Image Credit and Copyright: Rolando Ligustri (CARA Project, CAST)

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

A beautiful oystercatcher on the beach at Jacob Riis Park Wednesday.

I love that the bands on his legs coordinate so perfectly with his beak.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Saturday reflections

City windows, throwing the views right back at you. you can see something similar on every avenue in Manhattan; this particular example was in the West 30's.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Wise words

I loved this sign in the bathroom at Jacob Riis Park at the beach.

Please check the roll before you commit are definitely words to live by.

This is how I dress for the beach

Long sleeves, pants rolled up, hat, sunscreen.

(Thanks to Jayne for the picture.)

Thursday, September 16, 2021

More on the beach

I've lived on the East Coast for many decades now, and yet the idea of wearing bathing suits on the beach still seems so wrong to this San Francisco native.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

On the beach

I really wanted a beach to be the next stop on my Dipping a Toe Back Into Reality program, so I spent an afternoon in the Rockaways. (Technically I spent an afternoon in the car driving out to Queens and back again, with an hour walking barefoot on the sand and another spent eating lunch.)

It was glorious. And these guys made me smile.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

Nighttime on Saturn, as seen by Cassini two days before its long mission ended in 2017.

Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute, Mindaugas Macijauskas

Monday, September 13, 2021

It's Monday again

Readings and assignments are starting to pile up, and I have class tonight, so it is definitely a Monday, and unfortunately it feels like one.

Here's a magnificent tree in the morning fog near our place in Wallkill.

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