May 20 EclipseOn May 20, 2012, there was an annular solar eclipse that stretched from Asia to the western United States. For those unfamiliar with eclipse terminology, the moon follows an elliptical orbit around the earth. When the sun, moon, and earth are in alignment it will cause an eclipse. When the moon is relatively far from the earth, it doesn't completely cover the sun, causing what looks like a ring of fire, and is known as an annular eclipse. By contrast, when the moon is closer, it does completely cover the sun, resulting in the much-better total eclipse.
I saw a total eclipse in China on July 22, 2009 and wrote all about it in my Wizard of Odds blog. Although annular eclipses don't compare total eclipses, I have never seen an annular eclipse before, and I had to drive only about two hours to Utah to do so, so I figured I would make a short trip out of it with my son.
We left the day before in the afternoon and visited Valley of Fire state park on our way to Utah. This is only my second time there. My son went there on a field trip and has been asking to return ever since. First we did the petroglyph (note to Bill Gates: Add this word to your spell-checker)/mouse's tank trail. This is the actually the same trail, and the park map and signage do not make this clear. This is a short and easy trail with more petroglyphs than I've ever seen in one place, by far. Here are just a few pictures I took of them.
At the end of the trail is a small natural hole in the rock where water tends to fill in wetter months. On this hot May day it was dry. Maybe they call it mouse's tank because when mice try to drink from it they can't get out and drown in it. I recall when I was a camping trip as a kid my mother left a bucket of water out and in the morning a dead mouse was floating in it.
The Petroglyph trail was too short and easy so we added on the White Dome trail. This was a nice but short hike through some of the oddly shaped sandstone features that the Valley of Fire is famous for. We still felt unsatisfied after that, so we decided to climb this short but sweet little peak by the White Dome parking lot. We called it "mini red cap," named after a similar climb at Red Rock, which I write about in my article on Red Cap.
The climbing on of this was surprisingly challenging in spots. Places that made me feel a little uncomfortable my son climbed up, down, or across as he were a mountain goat. Here are some pictures.
After that I felt a got a workout just from just the fear factor and was ready to hit the road. We ate at the Casablanca buffet in Mesquite, which was not bad. It was seafood night and we both enjoyed the crab legs. Then it was to our hotel in Saint George. I would have preferred Springdale, or even Hurricane, but both places were booked solid. I tend to think I may have been lucky to even get a room in Saint George, as the front desk clerk said he was getting a lot of eclipse business.
The next day we got up early to climb Observation Point in Zion National Park. This area gets HOT this time of year, so I wanted to climb in as much comfort as possible. This is an 8-mile round trip hike, from the canyon floor to the rim. We've done most of the other hikes there before, and I wanted to do something fairly hard, because we need to train for Mount Whitney in July.
Observation Point is a great climb. Not as famous or rewarding as Angel's Landing, but still very worth doing. If you still have energy, add on Hidden Canyon as a side trip. Here is a picture from the top.
We finished with Observation Point about 12:30 and still had about five hours to kill before the eclipse started. So we hung out by the river for a while and poked around Springdale. I highly recommend the Bumbleberry milkshakes, which are made with real pie. They are available in a gift ship by the Bubbleberry Inn, adjacent to Wildcat Willies.
So, I'm finally ready to talk about the eclipse. Sorry it took so long. I overheard a lot of people were going to watch the eclipse from Zion or Bryce National Parks. However, my son had school the next day, so we watched it from Saint George, to hit the road immediately afterward.
You would think for all my enthusiasm for eclipses I would have a telescope with all the necessary eclipse accoutrements to watch it. Nope. I just had two pieces of glass that are used in a welder's mask. One is not enough and you can't see anything with three. These are easily available in a large hardware store, but don't wait until the last minute. I wanted to buy more a few days before the eclipse and the local home depot was sold out. The ones I did have I purchased about two months before, in preparation.
I knew from a previous visit there is a very nice park next to the Saint George Tabernacle. This park doesn't seem to have a name, and isn't on the maps, which is strange for such a nice park. It has lots of water features for kids to play in and art sculptures.
My son and I found a spot by an open field with some good trees. Trees are important because as the sun shines through them during an eclipse you can see an outlines of the sun in the places the sunlight pokes through in the shadow. If there are no trees available, you can create the same effect by making a waffle pattern with your fingers.
As my son and I passed the glass back and forth we got the attention of a group of about a dozen people. They were curious about what we were doing so I explained it and let them borrow the glass. They were all very grateful and amazed. The effect of the light through trees was also of much interest on nearby steps.
I tried unsuccessfully to take a picture. This is what I saw through my normal camera with one piece of welders' glass. So, when the eclipse reached its pinnacle, where it appeared like a ring of fire, the entire park was noticeably not as hot and bright. I was quite the temporary celebrity for having the glass as everyone took a few seconds with it and passed it on. During this time you could see rings of sunlight on the steps.
After a couple minutes the ring of fire turned back to a crescent, and the show was pretty much over. So, now I can say I've seen both a total eclipse and an annular eclipse. Of course, I've seen lots of partial ones as well.
After doing the amateur thing for the last two, I'm ready to take it to the next step for the total eclipse of August' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_eclipse_of_August_21,_2017]August 21, 2017, which will cut from Oregon to South Carolina. I'm already after my father to sell me his telescope, which he used to watch the eclipse "partial style" from southern California.
Thanks for the photos and blog Wizard, I enjoyed them very much. Did your daughter not want to take the trip?
I am curious about the petroglyphs. Is the "black" a natural feature of the rock, or is it scorched? If it is scorched, it is surprising that it would last past the first rain. If it is natural, I don't see the same black face on many other rocks in the photos.
Something is not making sense. The idea seems to be that we got an annular eclipse because the moon is so far from earth, as you put it: "When the moon is relatively far from the earth, it doesn't completely cover the sun, causing what looks like a ring of fire, and is known as an annular eclipse"
But we just experienced a "Super Moon" on May 6th. This meant the moon was as close to earth as it ever gets. How is it possible that things could change that fast?
Wikipedia on the super moon. The super moon was also extensively covered in the newspaters.
PS: yes, great post, I didnt realize there was a place you could go to in the US that would have that many petrogyphs.
I love the steps photos!
Try to find a place with a pond for the next eclipse, or better yet with several small puddles. You can see a reflection of the event on the surface. This also sometimes happens on car windshields.
Photographing an eclipse is notoriously hard. For a total one, you may want to resurrect an old 35mm film camera and look for ultra-high ISO rating like 1,600 or more, and try to get a photo of the corona.
Odiousgambit, the Moon orbits the Earth in 28 days. For the 14 days between May 6th and the 20th, that's exactly half an orbit.
Yes, the black is a natural feature of the rock. You see it sometimes here at Red Rock, but it is more common at Valley of Fire. What causes it? I just assumed a higher iron content in the rock, but I've been wrong before. What makes me doubt that is it seems to be just on the surface.
That is indeed a good question about the Super Moon. You stumped me with that one. I think I'm going to have to use my lifeline and call Doc in here to help out.
1) Wizard: How/when did you steal all of my photos from Valley of Fire? Seriously, I think I have photos of the exact same petroglyphs.
2) My browser says that "petroglyphs" is incorrectly spelled, and it's Firefox, not a Micro$oft product.
3) I think Nareed has given the correct answer already. If the full moon occurred at the perigee of the moon's orbit, giving a super moon, then the preceding and following new moons (and the associated opportunities for solar eclipse) should occur very near to the apogee of the moon's orbit. For a really nice total eclipse, you would like to have a new moon, a perigee of the orbit, and alignment of the earth, moon, and sun.
4) I am not an astronomer, regardless of how much the Wizard would like for me to answer every science-oriented question, so don't wager your entire bankroll on that answer.
I had heard that an alternate way to 'view' the eclipse was to look at shadows. I never realized just what they meant. Thanks for that.
Regarding the "Super moon" and the eclipse.
The moon's orbit is elliptical. Only when it's close approach is during a full moon does the moon appear large enough to be called a "super moon". But this also means that for the new moon prior and following, it is nearly at the furthest points in it's orbit.
That super moon was about 2 weeks prior to the eclipse, and the moon's orbit is about 29 days......
Neat pic Mike!
We were on the 27th floor in Reno, which apparently Northern Nevada had the PERFECT view (KOLO-8 was asked by National News companies for their pics)
I actually have a couple nice welding hoods, so we took those and it was quite a sight...I was going to try taking a picture, but I was seriously afraid it would burn the lense out of the camera (LOL, I've never tried taking a picture directly into the sun; and I thought the welding shields would blur it completely)
Thank you for all the answers to the new moon question. Does anyone have anything about the black petroglyph rocks?
Based on the replacement glass I purchased at Lowes, I would think that a welder's mask would not be sufficient. Or can one put in two panes? I tried looking at the eclipse through one pane, which I could do, but it was too bright to look at for more than a second.
naturally a new moon is what you want for an eclipse, but my hat is off to those of you who realized the perigee full moon is immediately followed by an apogee new moon [right?]. That was not intuitive to me or the Wizard but I can kind of picture it.
oops, apogee full moon is immediately followed by an perigee new moon
altho both statements are evidently true
Yes, odiousgambit, both statements are true. In this particular case, it was a perigee full moon (super moon) followed by an apogee new moon (annular eclipse).
By the way, I'm sure most of you already know this, even if you didn't "know" it....
The moon's orbital plane is not the same as the earth's orbital plane. If it were the same, there would be an eclipse every month. Actually two each month - solar and lunar.
I'm not sure whether it's more useful to post here or in the eclipse discussion thread, but I though I would provide this link to an article about photographing a solar eclipse. I saved the article just in case I survive to 2017 and have an opportunity to attempt photographing the total eclipse that year.
Heart Attack Follow UpHere is a message from my father, directed towards the forum members following his heart attack story, including me.
Please tell your blog followers how much I appreciate and am inspired by their wishes for my recovery, and their anecdotes. I enjoyed them all. My recovery seems to be going well so far. I am pain free and able to do mild exercise again. Two doctors will give me an exam and appraisal late next week. I do take exception to your statement that I am "100 pounds overweight" but will confess to eighty. I have removed six of them and avoided all alcohol for eight days and counting. There is a stronger incentive to mend my ways now. I want to hang around a while and enjoy the grandchildren and my new iPad. :-)
Terrific. An Apple a day keeps the doctor at play...?
All kidding aside, it is great to hear that you are doing well, and recovering nicely.
I am glad to see that the order was grandchildren first... Then new iPad second... Stay well!
Is your alcohol avoidance doctor's orders or self imposed? It sounds like your counting the days until you can have a drink. :-)
The first year is actually pretty easy. It's down the road that you have to really pay attention. The weight comes back like a sneak thief, a little bit at a time. You gain a pound a month, and it's never really a big deal; what's the difference between 187 and 188, after all? And then one day your pants don't quite button, and you weigh 211.
Life is for living. Strike a balance, and keep it worth living.
I have 8 granddaughters. Thats why I live in this one horse town. Have no Ipad but bought a Nook from Barnes and noble. It readss books outloud to the kids, has color pix, turns the pages on the touch screen, etc. They love SponeBob SquarePants. I intend to down load some books for me, once a 5 or 6 year
old granddaughter explains to me how to do it. LOL
Glad to hear things are going well.
You know, there's no reason you can't be a member here. There's lots of interesting topics, both gambling and non-gambling related.
And I'm pretty sure the user name "Wizard's Dad" hasn't been taken yet...
C'mon in. The water's fine.
New iPad but no drinking... Not a fair trade off.
Have they discussed the results of a CPK test with you yet? That seems to be crucial in assessing amount of muscle damage. Good luck.
Dick Cheney just got a heart transplant. Shame he didn't have a heart as the VP.
What it's like to have a heart attack, ride an ambulance and live to tell about it.The following is my father's heart attack story. You may wish to read this before eating at the Heart Attack Grill.
At about 4 AM on March 14, 2012, I awoke with a feeling of heavy pressure on my left side, and numbness extending from my waist to my cheek and along my arm on that side. My wife Christa, a former RN, recognized possible heart attack symptoms and persuaded me to call let her call 911. After about ten minutes, with the pain not going away and feeling rather faint, I said OK and she made the call. They arrived in ten minutes, and in ten more minutes (or less) I was whisked away.
I decided to avoid the nearest hospital with emergency capability (Los Alamitos), and having to deal with later transfer and paperwork, and asked instead to be taken to the nearest hospital of my HMO provider, Kaiser Permanente, about 12 miles away in Downey. During the ambulance ride to that hospital, they contacted the hospital by radio, followed instructions, gave me aspirin to chew, nitroglycerine drops on the tongue to relieve pain, EKG tests, blood oxygen level measurement and a blood test for troponin. At the two different hospitals, I had what seemed like twenty tubes and wires connected to me to monitor vital signs, as well as to drip in IV fluids like saline, sedative and "Integrilin", a blood thinner. There were frequent blood withdrawals for troponin. Troponin is produced by the body when heart attack damage is being repaired. The level peaks a day or more after the attack and somehow tells how much heart damage occurred. There was apparently a lot of damage in my case, but I have not seen the numbers.
After about 28 hours at Kaiser/Downey hospital for observation, and being given the bad news and a stern temperance lecture by cardiologists, I was transferred to another new, large, Kaiser hospital in Hollywood for the actual operation and recovery. I spend a total of only two nights in hospitals.
Automated testing included blood pressure, O2 level in the blood, blood sugar and EKG. It seemed I was being poked several times an hour, day and night for additional blood tests. Those levels seemed rather nominal. There was a tangled mess of wires and tubes hanging from a "tree" on wheels that had to be unplugged, and taken from the bed to the bathroom when going to the toilet. Half the time, I was not allowed to go there and I had to pee in a weird shaped jar while lying horizontal. Sometimes I needed assistance for that, and that was not fun at all. There were many interruptions to take pills.
The actual angiogram and stent installation was the easy part, except for the last six hours after I was unhooked from the monitors and IV. The operation took just one hour, performed by two surgeons and an assistant, during which time I was fully conscious.
The worst part was having to lie almost motionless on an uncomfortable horizontal bed, without a pillow, in a chilly room during a pre-op and post-op period that lasted about ten hours. Blankets were provided on demand (preheated!), but there was a shortage of them. They said it was important that there be no body motion while the thinned blood resealed the femoral artery, where the catheter and the stent were inserted. A pressure pad with belt wrapped about the hips sealed the wound, after a skilled female technician withdrew the catheter and applied manual pressure to the groin area. I referred to this period and "being water boarded without the water". She was not amused. When I was finally allowed to eat, after 24 hours of fasting, I still had to remain horizontal for the first "meal" (apple juice through a straw and a small turkey sandwich). It tasted good.
Following discharge, I now have to take about ten kinds of pills per day (previously about six) , including Plavix,which (without medical insurance coverage) would cost $7 per pill. Fortunately, my retiree-benefit Medicare-plus insurance covers the lion's share of that, and all hospital charges. The Plavix is supposed to keep the stented artery area clear, and will have to be taken for six months. I will also need to take a larger daily dose of Lipitor and aspirin daily.
After the operation, for six hours, they would not let me use a pillow until after midnight. I could not sleep without a sleeping pill, so one was brought in a matter of minutes. Then, after midnight, I had a half-awake panic attack and tore off my wires and tubes to escape the bed. The on-duty male nurse thought I had gone crazy, and started asking me from a list of sanity/senility questions. He seemed to take it in stride however, made the bed, and hooked me up again, and let me sleep in a more comfortable position. I slept well after that.
The whole process was not fun, but the people were very courteous, professional and my life was probably saved and extended as a result. When I needed nurse assistance, which was often, I never had to wait more than one minute. I am indebted to both Kaiser and the 911 ambulance crew for the excellent care I was given. (This was my first time in an ambulance.) My wonderful wife Christa comforted me, dialed 911 and visited me often during this ordeal, fighting horrible LA County traffic. William Jr. also took time off work to visit.
I expect to get much more serious about weight reduction and limiting alcohol consumption to less than 1/3 the previous level. I now have a strong incentive to do so. Perhaps the attack was a "blessing in disguise". After about two weeks there will be followup visits to a cardiologist who was part of the Kaiser team, and to my "regular" Kaiser personal physician.
Thank you for the write up Bill (or is it better to call you Wizard's Dad?). You gave us quite a scare. We are all relieved that you are still here to tell the tale. I enjoyed your input on the board before, and look forward to more in the future.
Glad to hear that you are alright. To your continued good health and long life.
Glad to hear you're doing OK.
I sought no treatment for my first heart attack but I recently went to the local ER for what I thought was COPD exacerbation. I too had the angiogram and stent procedure but was knocked out on versed at the time and later the femoral artery was plugged by a bio-absorbable wedge. Ambulance ride was fun, I offered to drive but assured them I would stop at every donut and liquor store enroute. The medic was actually an air-evacuation medic and so we discussed some aviation issues. I had just come off a wide-open flow of heparin so my brain was having fun with images and associations. I hate that plastic jug too but sometimes they need to know the volume of urine output.
Nurses were generally nice in my situation but initially I was in a semi private room and the other guy was a lying jerk who made their jobs rough on them. I always pity the nurses who work night shifts, despite their differentials. Nurses didn't like my correcting their pronunciation of some of the drugs or asking how they calculated that dosage. One very young nurse asked why I used "medspeak" terms such as glucose, ambulatory, etc. I laughed at the low quantity and low quality meals, woke up just prior to 4am blood draw and snuck a smuggled tangerine or two and then they would get my glucose results and wonder about me. Protocols be damned!
I'm on various cardiac pills and get a lung function test soon. Generally pleasant memories, but I sure wish they wouldn't always give me a box of tissues. I happen to know its billed out at 1,200.00, even if its half empty.
And why do we need those wires hooked up ALL the time, can't we just unsnap them, have a shower, and then re-snap the wires?
Dr. Shackleford, from one ME+Physics guy to another, it's good to hear that you made it through and have a path to recovery. Mike needs you around not just as a father but as a resource for this site -- he has too many cases of geeks and making-it-up-as-they-go-along experts telling everyone what's up, but they seem to fall in line when he cites you as his reference/arbitrator on matters of physics. Best of luck (i.e., hi positive EV and low variance) for the future.
Math TutorLong before I became the Wizard I did math tutoring for extra money. I was just looking through my file cabinet for something and found this old flyer I used to put up at UMBC (Univ of Maryland, Baltimore County). The cartoon is one of my favorites from the Far Side. Click on the image for a larger version.
If I'm understanding the cartoon right, it's true, women LOVE a smart man!!
DYSLEXICS OF THE WORLD UNTIE!!!!!!!!!!!!
My father had a heart attack this morning.Pi day is off to a bad start. My mother told me my father suffered a pretty big heart attack this morning. He complained of chest pain, so my mother called 911 and the paramedics rushed him to the hospital. They gave him a lot of morphine to control the pain. I spoke to my father briefly and he is coherent. At this point I'm waiting to hear what happens next.
My father is 74 and about 100 pounds overweight, so I was already braced for something like this to happen. Still, I hope to have him around for a while longer. I keep telling him to hold out for the total eclipse through the US on August 21, 2017. We're both eclipse chasers, and was hoping to enjoy that one with him.
When I have more information I'll provide an update.
You will be in my thoughts, All the best Michael.
Sorry to hear that, Mike. Where does he live? No matter where
it is its a good idea to go and see him as soon as you can.
Hope your father makes a full recovery. Best wishes.
Very sorry to hear this news. Know that modern medicine is on his side.
We'll keep your family in our thoughts and pray for a speedy recovery.
I will add your father to my prayer list. The really bad things about dads are they one come one to a customer. SIGH
I'm praying for his full recovery. It was nice having his expert knowledge of astrophysics on the board, and I look forward to more of his input in the future.
Not that you asked, but I think it would probably be good for your mom (and you), if you took some time to visit with them both right away. I don't know about taking the kids right away though. Maybe wait until he is stronger. When my Grandfather was hospitalized, I think it was better for my kids to wait to visit him when he was better, than to see him still connected to all the machines in the hospital.
Michael, my prayers are with your father for a speedy recovery and a return to normal.
So sorry to hear this Michael - I'll be saying a prayer for him.
Thanks for all the kind words and prayers everybody. You probably know I'm not a praying man, but I appreciate the sentiment. Who knows, you might even be right.
Nothing new to report at this time. I called my dad's cell phone, which my mom called me from, but it went to voice mail. This has me worried. Then again, maybe she was talking with one of my brothers.
Indeed, I should go down and visit with them both. However, I'm supposed to do my radio show tomorrow evening. On Friday afternoon we're going to prerecord the March 29 show, because Bob will be out of town. If I hear things are really serious I'll go down anyway. He lives in the Los Angeles, by the way, about 300 miles from here.
Sorry to hear that, Mike. You can take solace that the treatment for heart attacks is very advanced these days. My dad had a heart-valve replacement some years ago and everything turned out fine.
My thoughts are with you, Mike.
Thoughts and prayers to you and yours Wizard.
I echo what Nareed said. I've both lost relatives to heart attacks and had them see full recoveries. The most crucial time seems to be the first few minutes, so hopefully the fact that he was treated and stabilized means he'll make a full recovery.
I spoke with my mother this evening. They gave my dad a bunch of tests and are moving him to a hospital in Hollywood tomorrow. I'm don't know what happened or what will happen. Currently he is in one in Downey. My wife, who is a nurse, is not happy about the care he has received so far. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again for all the kind words.
I was a medic during Vietnam War and wife was a CNA for several years. Scary how incompetent and/or uncaring professionals can be in the medical profession.
Just wanted to add my prayers to the litany of concern and care for your dad, you, and your whole family. May the Holy Spirit guide the hands of his doctors and nurses.
I don't pray much either but my thoughts are definitely with you Mike. Hoping for the best.
My thoughts are with you, Wiz. Be glad your mother made the call. That is so important and the person having the attack is usually the last who wants to call. Both my dad and my best friend in college dad had heart attacks and just felt "tired." In both cases a family member with some medical training said it was serious and both forced them to go to the hospital--and both were told this action saved their lives!
Progress report: My father is on his way to a surgical hospital in Hollywood. It is my understanding they will do an angiogram at 2:00. If it looks bad, they will do whatever operation needs to be done on the spot. He seems to be taking it all in stride and looks forward to seeing me and the family over spring break.
Thanks for the progress reports. You and him are both in my thoughts.
I've been through this myself. The #1 best thing is that he's currently alive. Seriously, not meant as "so obvious". Most people who die from heart attacks just flat out die from them; most of the rest who die, don't die immediately, but also don't really recover to the point where they can be in any kind of spirits.
I had a heart attack and bypass surgery 20 years ago, and I'm still around (and about 100lbs overweight). My dad had bypass surgery in '08, when he was 80; he's still around, and he had a stent put in a couple months ago. People die from it, sure. But they also survive.
Thanks for keeping us updated Mike. Again we are all pulling for your dad to make a quick recovery. Say goodbye to pasta and fried anything at your folk's place, you won't be having it there anymore...
I sincerely hope this turns out well for you, your father and your entire family. My thoughts are with you.
Hoping all turns out well for your dad.
Hi there. Just read your blog here. Hopefully everything went well today. Let me know if you come down this way. I wish your dad all the best.
Progress report: My dad had a stent put in yesterday and it went normally from what I hear, and he should be released today or tomorrow. Thanks again for all the kind words.
Great news, Michael!
I'm glad to hear he's on the mend. My father had stents, bypass surgery, a pacemaker and a defibrillator starting at age 50 and he lived well into his 80's. He was a tough guy who never complained. When WWII started, he joined the Navy and severed on a UDT for the duration.
Great news! I'm encouraged to hear that just one stent was required. All our best to him and your mom on a smooth recovery.
Thanks again. Hopefully the doctor will give him a stern lecture about losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. He was a ticking time bomb.
I don't regularly read the blogs, so I am three days late noticing this topic. Sorry, to hear of your Dad's episode, and I hope he recovers quickly. I doubt my "prayers" would be very effective, but I am wishing the best for your entire family. Wishing, hoping, praying ... I'm not really sure of the differences, but maybe the united interest in your family's well being can sway the Jedi Force or whatever.
I - apparently - don't check the blog section often enough.
Glad to see that he's doing OK.