From the East Wing

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.

As some may remember ‘bout six months or so I said my star gazing friends tended to get on my case if, from time to time, I didn’t have something to say about the stars. I’ve not had anything to say about the stars for a long while, and guess what?  Yep, they’re on my case. Sometimes I think these stargazing friends are a pain in the you know what, but I love ‘em all. Especially when I’m accused of not using appropriate technical terminology to describe events within the heavens.

An example of such abuse of the technical language on my part, is one time, several years ago, I used the term “star stuff”. No less than 50 friends wanted to know what in the H*&% is star stuff. Told ‘em the stuff you’re made of, it’s just star stuff.

Now to my stargazing friends today, “The stargazing time in the sunshine of the EastWing this year is still coming.” And so it is coming. Later on in the year we may very well have a most spectacular light show in the sky. It’s not yet a definite given, just a real strong maybe. It’s a  we’ll see. One of the really cool things about stargazing is when things come along that have never come along before in the recorded history of Earth. It’s never a given. It’s always a maybe. Sometimes it’s a strong maybe and a we’ll see.

For these guys wanting to talk about it before it’s time, we’ll see. With that being said, if the “we’ll see” comes to pass, the whole world will know that the we’ll see becomes the WOW!  And then we all knew for a long time it was coming by. It’s only then that we can relish in the knowledge of “we knew a long time  ago it was coming our way”. Until such time, it’s a we’ll see.

After all the to-do concerning last month’s super moon has gone away, I should correct a couple of points that were being printed about all over the internet as well as all the mainstream media, both TV and print. The first being “The Super Moon appeared 14 percent larger than normal.” This statement is just plain wrong. It did not.  Who ever first wrote that statement either did not know, or did not explain the basis of the 14%… The 14%  really referred to the difference between the moon’s closest point to Earth (perigee) versus its farthest point (apogee). The absolute closest that the moon can come to Earth is 221,439 miles and the absolute farthest distance is 252,724 miles. That’s a difference amounts to 12.38 %.  It’s not 14%. The June 2013 Full Moon was toward the closest point (perigee).

There were also lots of images published on the Internet as well as other news sources in advance of the June super moon depicting extraordinarily large full moons implying that the moon was going to look amazingly large in the sky. But unless you caught the moon when it was either rising or setting — and appearing briefly larger than normal because of the “moon illusion” then  June’s full moon looked pretty much like any other full moon. He joys of Photoshop.

“The Super Moon appeared 30 percent brighter than normal” Once again, this statement was incorrect. While the full moon’s distance from Earth is one factor in determining its brightness, a more  important factor is the sun. When the Earth is near perihelion (the closest point to the sun), the moon receives more sunlight than under average circumstances. Conversely, when the Earth is near aphelion (farthest point from the sun) the moon receives less sunlight than average.  Aphelion occurred less than two weeks after the June super moon.

After all is said and done, about the Super Moon of June, 2013, Looking at the Full Moon of July, 2013 is so close to the Full Moon of June that very, very few people can tell any difference. Yes the July Full Moon has moved a little farther away from Earth. That distance being kinda like the from the EastWing to Salyersville KY and then back to the EastWing.  When you keep in mind that from where we stand looking up, at any given time the moon is going to be somewhere between 222,000 and 252,000 miles away. Then it’s hard to see a difference of only 950 miles. Some may think the Full Moon looks bigger at Salyersville KY ‘cause you’re on top on the mountain, but I don’t think that makes a whole lot of difference.

In relationship to the 30%, what was not said was that the super moon was 30 percent brighter than when the moon is at apogee (farthest from the Earth).  But was that 30 percent value valid?  The full moon of January 16, 2014 will be at apogee; so how much brighter is this past June’s full moon compared to next January? 

I’ve done the math and found that it was 25.9 percent brighter.  Not quite 30 percent. That, incidentally, corresponds to a ridiculously small increase of just  ¼ of one magnitude. And while I’m here, may just as well talk a little bit about magnitude, and do a little mathematical example of relative brightness of things in the night sky. I’ll use the  Sun and Moon, but this same math works for everything in the universe.   It just shows one against the other, when viewed from the Earth looking up.

As the amount of light received actually depends on the thickness of the Earth’s atmosphere in the line of sight to the object, the apparent magnitudes are adjusted to the value they would have in the absence of the atmosphere. The dimmer an object appears, the higher the numerical value given to its apparent magnitude. Note that brightness varies with distance; an extremely bright object may appear quite dim, if it is far away. Brightness varies inversely with the square of the distance.

The absolute magnitude, M, of a celestial body (outside the Solar System) is the apparent magnitude it would have if it were at 10 parsecs (~32.6 light years); that of a planet (or other Solar System body) is the apparent magnitude it would have if it were 1 astronomical unit from both the Sun and Earth. The absolute magnitude of the Sun is 4.83 in the V band (yellow) and 5.48 in the B band (blue).

The apparent magnitude, m, in the band, x, can be defined as,

where is the observed flux in the band x, and and are a reference magnitude, and reference flux in the same band x, such as that of Vega. An increase of 1 in the magnitude scale corresponds to a decrease in brightness by a factor of . Based on the properties of logarithms, a difference in magnitudes, , can be converted to a variation in brightness as .

Example: Sun and Moon:   What is the ratio in brightness between the Sun and the full moon?

The apparent magnitude of the Sun is -26.74 (brighter), and the mean apparent magnitude of the full moon is -12.74 (dimmer).

Difference in magnitude :

Variation in Brightness :

And so it is that by using the above formula it illustrates that the Sun appears about 400,000 times brighter than the full moon.

For all my non stargazing friends who had to wade thru all the above technical and mathematical stuff just to find out that the Sun is 400,000 times brighter than the Moon, now ya know why they say “Don’t ever, ever  look directly into the face of the Sun. Looking directly into the Sun is much worse than a BB Gun. It’ll do more than shoot your eye out. The last thing you will ever see in your lifetime will be the surface of the Sun, the blinding surface of the Sun. The rest of your life, your world will be black.

Last week the baby beagle girls were three months old. Now that about two years old in dog talk. And we all know the terrible two’s. The pretty little things are anywhere and everywhere underfoot. Bless their little hearts. Wiggling their way into everyone’s life whoever  comes in contact with ‘em. It’s hard not to love Baby Beagle Girls named Sharolette and Barbara.

The Baby Beagles use Mr. Bentley as a bean bag. Get this picture, Bentley lays on his side, and the Beagles run the length of his body, north to south and east to west. The Beagles climb on Bentley as one would climb the sand dunes at the beach. When Mr. Bentley stands upright, the girls jump to try and reach his nose. They’re not yet there, but soon will be in the future. They’re close enough to grab Bentleys collar and hang on. Mr. Bentley walks with two Baby Beagle Girls swinging from his collar.

Did ya ever see a Pit Bull smile? Bentley smiles at the Baby Beagle Girls. It’s hard to tell  if it’s Bentley with two little sisters or two little Beagles with a really big brother. Either way they sure get along well. In addition to Mr. Bentley being in charge of Home Land Security, he’s taken on a completely new role. Yep, Mr. Bentley is now the official Nanny of the Baby Beagle Girls. And everybody knows that you just don’t mess with the Nanny’s Babies, especially when that same Nanny is in charge of Home Land Security.

The Gray Lady James and the Baby Beagle Girls, not so much so. But I guess at age 16, the Gray Lady can pick and choose what she likes. I’m just glad she likes me. “Course me and the Lady go back a ways, 15 of those 16. I can’t look at the Gray Lady and not miss the Pup Baby, my Mustina James. I miss her to this day, But I do know that  all good dogs do go to heaven.

A few weeks ago I was offered a contract to write a comparative examination of  today’s generation of teenagers to my teenage years.  WOW! Did I ever jump at that chance or what. I was to write 2500 words, more or less, for the article.  I had to agree not to reproduce the article over my signature, or that of BobbyRay, due to copyright laws and the fact that I was actually selling intellectual property. Now that was kinda cool,  ‘cause I didn’t even know I had intellectual property, always thought I just had stuff in my head.

And so it turns out that intellectual property is kinda like the things that you put in the ‘Yard Sale”. You know the old saying about “one persons junk is another person’s treasure”. Yep, my stuff just turned out to be intellectual property.

Technology is the perpetrator of society, a game changer. We played in the dirt, Not so now. We had, if we were lucky, three or four, good friends. Today 500 “friends on Face Book other social medias”. We saw ‘em every day of summer when we played in the dirt. Friends of Face Book are never seen.

Friends of today are only as close as WI-FI will allow. Lose your Wi-Fi, lose your friends. 500 faceless friends of Face Book who also tell the story of “I don’t know you and you don’t know me.  We’re not real friends, but we push the buttons, and we look good to each other”. And they’re  all made out of wicky wacky and they all look the same. Another name of “social media” could well be “I don’t know how to play in the dirt with real people”.

There was a time when we lived in the “warts and all” world of what God  gave us. We took it all in stride and never looked back. We made do. Now they, paint their own  self portrait, without the “warts and all”, of how they want the world to look and see ‘em.  Yet nobody sees anybody  except the mirror,  the camera, and WI-FI.

Sad to think the kids of  today don’t go out and play in the sunshine and the dirt. Playgrounds are the keyboards of technology. The dirt is way more fun. Dirt smells better, especially good dirt. The kind ya had to eat a peck of, before ya died, yeah that kinda dirt.

After all that, guess I  kinda got  close to the line of what I can and cannot say about the kids of today and those of 1962. But it sure was fun to describe the difference. And it was really cool to be paid to write the words about a time that I remembered when. Not paid a lot, by most standards,  but something is more than nothing when you get paid, and all ya have to do is remember. I would have written that story for free, but was never asked would I do it for free. They only offered to pay money for my thoughts. Sweet thoughts they were.

Stay safe in Afghanistan.

From the EastWing, Star Gazing, Big Moon Arising, Doing The Math On The Stars, Loving Baby Beagles,  Bentley Being  A  Bean Bag A Swing And A Nanny, Writing ‘Bout The Day & Getting Paid For Writing ‘Bout The Day.

I Wish You Well,