February 2009 Archives

Victorian bushfires

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With the events of the last few days in Victoria, this is certainly a time to stop looking up for a while and look around us. There has been an unbelievable level of suffering caused by the loss of life and property, and even those of us not directly affected by the fires feel completely dazed by the magnitude of what happened. In fact, it would seem most Victorians know someone — friend, family, colleague, friend-of-friend etc. — who has been touched by the events.

If you are in any condition to help, Red Cross Australia has set up a fund to assist individuals and communities affected by the fires; you can donate at their website. The RSPCA is coordinating efforts to provide assistance to the animals — both pets and wildlife — affected, including reuniting lost pets with their families; they accept donations (money, supplies or pet food) and also volunteers, so head to their website if you can help. Also, Coles supermarkets will be donating all their proceedings next Friday to the relief efforts; I expect more companies will be announcing similar measures in the near future.

Any help will make a difference.

Penumbral eclipse of the moon, tonight

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Most people won't notice it, but we will have a lunar eclipse tonight, visible from anywhere in Australia (weather permitting, of course) — and also from New Zealand, most of the Pacific, Alaska, China, parts of India and most of Russia. The continental US sees only part of the eclipse, with the Moon setting before it ends.

A penumbral eclipse happens when the Moon goes through the penumbra of the Earth, the area of "partial shadow" around the main shadow of the planet. Viewed from the Moon, this appears as a partial solar eclipse (an umbral eclipse is seen from the Moon as a total solar eclipse).

In eastern Australia, the eclipse starts at 23:36 AEST AEDT (12:36 UTC), with the maximum eclipse at 01:38 tomorrow morning (14:38 UTC). Visually, you will see one "corner" of the full Moon clearly darker that the rest of the disk. More information and a visibility diagram can be seen at the HMNAO eclipse's website.

Carnivalia

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It's been a while since I remembered to link to the Carnival of Space... this week's edition, Carnival of Space #89, is now up at The Moon Society, and it's the special lunar edition! (with plenty of links about other celestial objects as well, including the Earth)

Last week's edition, #88, was at TheSpacewriter's Ramblings, and it's loaded with links — it seems to be a particularly long edition, so make sure you explore it adequately. It even dips into scepticism, with two entries helping fight the waves of woo that continuously hit our shores.

Good reading!

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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