50 First Posts

I saw 50 First Dates last night. It was much better than I though it would be. I like how they didn’t pull the romantic comedy formula out and have a predictable ending.

I’m making my quarterly pilgramage to the Minneapolis Institute of Art today. Hopefull I’ll have some photos.

This week I’ll be handing in my first College 2.0 paper. Its on asteroid impacts with earth.

My astronomy course has a project that you have to do over the course of a semester which involves tracking where the moon is. You have to do 15 observations. On my second observation I got the moon right at its transit (it was on the meridian that extends due south through the zenith). The way you are to measure the moon is by the number of fists from the meridian it is at any observation. By catching it at the transit, I had a very simple zero fists. (a fist is literally your fist).

It didn’t take me long to realize that this was the way to go. The ‘fist’ seemed (and is) a very inexact measurement. A little bit of math, and you can figure out that the transit time of the moon advances 48.8 minutes per day. (360 (degrees in a circle) /29.5 (days in a lunar month) /15 (degrees in an hour) * 60 (minutes in an hour)) So, the entire observation project comes down to an exercie of making sure you observe at the right time (transit) and at the right conditions (clear). Even if my observation time isn’t perfect, its still a margin of error much less than trying to measure the angular distance with your fist (especially over many fists). Today it was roughly at transit at 8:00am, and yesterday roughly at 7:00am. Clearly, one of the two (if not both) can’t be exactly correct, but the moon was a meaure of 0, or a fraction of a fist from the meridian at the time. Its also hard to eyeball the perfect transit of the moon.

I for about the last two weeks we’ve had overcast skys most of the time, and that was when the transit was really late at night, so I didn’t miss anything, nor did I want to wake up just to look at the moon when its -15.

So tomorrow, the transit should be at about 9:00am, give or take 10 minutes.

By Gary

3 dimples. 7 continents. 130 countries.