Finding the Orionids Tonight

When I was a child, I was fascinated with a straight line of three stars that were evenly spaced. Whenever I looked up in the sky, I would be comforted by being able to find those stars, especially when I was about to embark on a long walk home at night. I later learned that they were actually known as Orion’s Belt, part of the constellation of Orion. So Orion remains my favourite constellation.

These nights, Orion takes centre stage in stargazing circles since the Orionid meteor shower will be originating from a point near the constellation. Of course, Orion has nothing to do with the shower. It merely marks the apparent direction that it comes from (see red dot in image below).

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(Above is the view of the sky looking Southsoutheast from mid northern latitudes at 3:00am today.) We will be traversing a debris field made of stuff left over from Halley’s comet’s tail. That stuff will rain down into our atmosphere, glowing brightly […] Click to continue reading this post

Field Trip, I

As part of the Freshman Seminar I told you about earlier (e.g., here, here and here), we went on a field trip to MOCA in nearby downtown LA.

We went to see the exhibition of drawings by Eva Hesse. Hesse is very well known for her sculpture, and among the things she did, I think that a rather splendid one in this context is the one below. It is an example of those that resemble three dimensional renderings of her interesting use of line on the paper.

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This one (not in the exhibition) is called “Metronomic Irregularity” (I think it has a number as well… there are several pieces of this title done by her).

The group is standing in front of the sculpture I posted about earlier. There’s Ashley and Adam, left and middle. Jeff (on the right in the picture) -who is not a freshman, but a senior who does physics research projects with me- came along as well. We had a rather good time, taking […] Click to continue reading this post