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

Monday, February 28, 2022

Slava Ukraini!

I have never been to Ukraine, but this morning I was remembering visiting the Ukrainian research facility, Vernadsky Station, in Antarctica in 2018. Other research stations scorned visitors, but the Ukrainians welcomed us, with the World's Southernmost Bar, and the World's Southernmost Gift Shop, and they stamped our passports from Antarctica. They were so funny and charming, and we were lucky to be able to visit them.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunday bird blogging


And here's a female cardinal in the snow.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Saturday reflections

Ninth Avenue seen in the reflective plastic sheeting outside a deli.

Слава Україні! 🇺🇦 We stand with you.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Deep breath

I woke up to the news that the long-anticipated attack on Ukraine has begun, and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything.

Here's a welcome reminder of a better morning: fishing on the Jersey Shore at sunrise.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

This lovely abstract is a closeup of storm clouds on Jupiter, taken by the Juno probe in November. Storms on Jupiter are on an appropriate scale for the largest planet in the solar system. They can last for many Earth years, and even those tiny white clouds floating above the larger storm cloud on the lower left are 50 kilometers across.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS; Processing and License: Kevin M. Gill

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Bonus bird blogging

I think cardinals must have some idea how beautiful they look in the snow, because there were dozens of them in the trees along the loch last Sunday.

Sunday bird blogging

This great horned owl has been hanging around the North Woods in Central Park for a few weeks now. He's not quite as famous as Rover the Bald Eagle, though I've seen many photos of him on bird Twitter. When I was walking through the snow by the loch last Sunday, I heard a group of crows complaining at high volume, and another birder told me that the owl was just on the other side of the water, and the crows were attacking and trying to drive him away. (Crows feel about owls the way small songbirds feel about crows: “Predator! Flee! Hide!”)

I found the owl easily—I just looked for a group of people with cameras and binoculars. This picture isn't the best; he was way up in the trees and there were a lot of branches in the way. But any day I see an owl is a good day, so I'm happy.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Saturday reflections

The last of the snow pictures that don't have birds in them.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Où sont les neiges du week-end passé?

I love that these pictures might as well be in black and white but aren't.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

I always love to see celestial objects that even vaguely resemble their nicknames and NGC 4651, also known as the Umbrella Galaxy, qualifies. The “umbrella” was cannibalized from a smaller galaxy that got too close; eventually the stars will get sucked into the main galaxy.

Image Credit and Copyright: CFHT, Coelum, MegaCam, J.-C. Cuillandre (CFHT) and G. A. Anselmi (Coelum)

Monday, February 14, 2022

Snow day

It snowed all Saturday night and most of yesterday morning, and I played hooky from studying long enough to make a quick trip to the park. It was magical.

Bird blogging, Valentine's Day edition

Here are a pair of Northern Shovelers and one of Hooded Mergansers from the Central Park reservoir for your Valentine's Day viewing pleasure.

In other bird romance news, the talk of the reservoir has been the unlikely pairing of the male wood duck whose picture I posted a few weeks ago with a female mallard. Are they just friends? Or will we see a new duck hybrid species later this spring? Inquiring minds (and bored birders waiting for the bald eagle to show up) want to know!

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

Here's a potential mate for the male hooded merganser I posted last week: a pretty female, swimming in the Central Park reservoir.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Saturday reflections

Even in dreary February, even on a muddy path in Central Park, beauty is there for the taking.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Friday architecture

The new entrance to Penn Station—not the Moynihan annex in the old post office building, but the underground station for commuter trains—on Seventh Avenue.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Urban poetry

I love the shadows on these benches in Central Park.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

(Okay, I know it's Wednesday, but I spent two days creating a quiz for my new students and got all mixed up. I honestly thought it was still Monday all day yesterday.)

After posting the radio wave image of the galaxy center last week, I thought this was an interesting followup. This featureless gray-white billiard ball is Venus, as photographed by the Messenger mission in 2007. This is very different from the golden brown images we usually see, but in fact this is what Venus would look like to humans who flew near the planet.

This article is an interesting explanation of why the colors we see in astronomical images aren't usually true color, human eye-perceiving, visual spectrum representations. Sometimes they've just enhanced the colors, like any amateur photographer with a copy of Photoshop does routinely (Is Neptune really blue? Yes, but not that blue) but sometimes it's because the most interesting look at a celestial object is in a spectrum like ultraviolet, or radio waves, that we can't see, so it has to be translated before we can look at it.

Image credit: NASA / JHUAPL / CIW / G. Ugarkovic

Sunday, February 6, 2022

The bird paparazzi


Waiting for a glimpse of Rover. I told you he was a celebrity.

Bonus bird blogging

A line of Canadian geese picking their way along the ice on the partially frozen reservoir.

Sunday bird blogging

I took a break from homework this afternoon and went up to the reservoir in Central Park to see if I could catch a glimpse of the new avian celebrity in town, a bald eagle that for some reason has been dubbed “Rover”, and who has been spending time by the reservoir.

Rover was not in residence, but I did see some lovely hooded mergansers. This handsome fellow's hood is wet from diving for his lunch, so doesn't stand up as much as they usually do.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Saturday reflections

Reflections in Spuyten Duyvil from Inwood Hill Park.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

I have posted many gorgeous images through the years, but this one may be my favorite; it looks like an abstract painting I would love to hang on my wall. It's one of a series of images taken by the MeerKAT telescope at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) and shows the center of our Milky Way galaxy, including the giant black hole at the core, in radio emissions.

Radio emissions are just another kind of electomagnetic radiation (EMR), like the visible spectrum, and light like infrared or ultraviolet that our eyes can't see. A lot of astronomical images use the non-visible types of EMR to show us different views of galaxies and nebulae and other objects, but I haven't seen that many radio images. Some of the MeerKAT pictures have been “translated” into color, and look more like the usual images I post, but this one is in grayscale, with color only for the strongest emissions. And it's beautiful.

Credit: I. Heywood, SARAO

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