Archive for November 2006

The Leonid Meteor shower peaks this Sunday; looks to be the best of the year

November 15, 2006

Universe Today is reporting that the Leonids will peak between 11:45PM EST on 11/18 and 1:30AM 11/19. The Earth’s position favors Western Europe and the Eastern US, but it’s definitely worth a check, even on evenings of the 17th and 19th. Look toward Leo for the point of origin of the shower, but the meteors could appear anywhere in the sky. I’ve already seen a few!

A modern miracle: the Amazing Grace of the Amish.

November 11, 2006

The Amish community suffered a horrific loss last month, when a non-Amish neighbor, a 32-year-old milkman named Charles Carl Roberts IV, seemed to snap, and shot ten Amish school girls, three of whom died immediately, and two more died within days. The rest were left in critical condition. Roberts killed himself before police could reach and detain him.

In American society today, the usual result is hate, death threats, legal suits, and the perpetrator’s family is ostracized and their lives are ruined. For instance the families of the two Columbine High School killers were sued, hated, and the graves of their sons were vandalized.

In contrast, shortly after the Amish murders, as two young Amish boys stood by the body a victim, their grandfather said, “We must not think evil of this man.” The Amish community did not. They reached out to the crazed killer’s widow and three children. They started a fund to support them. Half of the 75 people who attended Roberts’ funeral were his Amish neighbors, and they responded with love and forgiveness in abundance.

I feel blessed that such Grace is still in the world, to inspire those who hear.

CNN announced the fifth victim’s death
“We must not think evil of this man.”
Amish mourn gunman in school rampage, offer heartfelt
forgiveness at Roberts funeral

Amid the babble, Amish lesson heard
Roberts’ widow to Amish: ‘Thank you.’

For DirecTV subscribers- Total Choice Plus™ Free Preview, November 10-12 2006

November 11, 2006

Here’s a link to the channels provided by TCP. There are 30 more channels than the standard Total Choice™. Non XM channels include BET-J, Biography, Boomerang, Discovery Home, Discovery Times, DIY Network, Fox Movie Channel, Golf Channel, Great American Country, History International, Lifetime Real Women, Logo, Military Channel, Nicktoons, PBS Kids Sprout, Science Channel, and VH1 Classic. The easiest way to find these and their channel numbers is to download the PDF channel guide.

Also, if you don’t already have your local channels on DirecTV, this preview includes them.

Link- Picture of Mercury Transit

November 10, 2006

Well, here in the Northeast US, we had overcast skies for several days, and I didn’t have a chance at seeing the Mercury transit. I’m disappointed, but New England is like that. I’m still looking forward to enjoying my new Coronado Personal Solar Telescope and its great Hydrogen Alpha views.

Speaking of which, here is today’s Astronomy Picture Of The Day, which is a Hydrogen Alpha image of the Mercury transit!

Donald Rumsfeld, and the infamous “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns” quotation

November 9, 2006

Yes, there are three kinds of knowledge. Is there a good way to explain the concept? How do you convince a roomful of White House journalists they need to look it up?


Links- more info on the Mercury Transit, November 8 2006!

November 3, 2006

Internet astronomy news sites are publishing more articles and how-tos for the Mercury Transit, now just days away. Astronomy Magazine has a good, short article, which includes links to watch the transit on the web. has a good article, safety tips, and a nice graphic or two. And has a downloadable guide to the transit, in .pdf format. NASA has a fact-filled article and an animation of what the transit should look like. Here’s another NASA article and maps. Here, on, is a long list of sites with information about the 2006 Mercury Transit. Finally, the Kitt Peak Observatory and Exploratorium will host a full-length webcast with commentary.

This 2006 Mercury transit is the second of fourteen in the 21st century. If you miss this one, you’ll have to wait until May 2016. Clear skies!

Always use safe solar view habits when observing the sun! Blindness can result from staring at the sun without using a proper solar filter. Viewing the sun through an unfiltered telescope will likely cause instant blindness. Protect your eyes—read here to learn important safety information.