Comfortable Independence Day! Tomorrow is Aphelion Day when Earth is farthest from the solar at barely over 94.5 million miles away.
The acute warmth wave within the Pacific Northwest a number of days in the past reveals fairly clearly that the gap between Earth and the solar shouldn’t be the explanation for the seasons. Sadly, it is rather seemingly that warmth waves like we had final week shall be taking place extra regularly.
We’re in a position to deal with very popular days right here within the Central Valley as a result of most of our properties and companies have air con (so long as electrical energy continues to be flowing by the grid) however most locations within the Pacific Northwest do not need AC.
Returning house late at evening from a visit again east, my spouse identified a vibrant star within the southeast and requested if it was Venus. Affordable guess as a result of the star could be very vibrant however Venus is now our “night star” seen low within the west shortly after sundown.
The intense star we noticed at virtually 1 a.m. is Jupiter, the most important planet within the photo voltaic system however resulting from its nice distance from us, seems fainter than Venus. Additionally arising simply above the horizon was a giant brown-yellow waning gibbous moon, in the future from third quarter.
Tonight’s moon shall be a waning crescent, so the moon will not wash out any of the fireworks. The moon shall be at new moon part on Friday and first quarter will occur on July 17. Which means subsequent week there shall be some good photographs of a waxing crescent moon subsequent to vibrant Venus within the night.
July 11 shall be particularly nice as a result of Venus shall be proper subsequent to Mars (a few thumb width at arm’s size to the best of Mars). A bit of farther to the best shall be a skinny waxing crescent moon. All three would possibly simply barely match throughout the similar area of view of your binoculars.
The next evening, July 12, Venus shall be only a pinky width from Mars however the moon will not match within the binoculars’ area of view.
My latest journey included one evening in Washington, D.C., and one place we visited there was the Worldwide Spy Museum. The assorted tour web sites say folks take one to 2 hours to undergo however my spouse and I took greater than 4 hours to just do the primary flooring and we needed to rush by the second flooring, so we might have time to catch a fast chew to eat earlier than heading out to the airport. We learn all of the indicators in museums.
One of many messages of the ISM was making affordable conclusions from incomplete knowledge and never realizing the complete context of the information you could have, context that may seriously change the which means of the information.
It made me consider all of the media buzz across the latest report from the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence on UFOs (aka “unidentified aerial phenomena” within the report). There are over 140 sightings since 2004 referenced within the report, all however one which the consultants known as upon by the U.S. authorities can’t clarify.
That media buzz is as a result of, in fact, many individuals are very keen to make a giant leap in logic from “unidentified flying object” to right away figuring out it as an extraterrestrial alien spacecraft with out contemplating extra prosaic explanations.
The saying “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof” means the burden of proof lies with these making the declare of extraterrestrial alien spacecraft. They must show that the UFO can’t be anything moreover an extraterrestrial alien spacecraft. (For extra about this burden of proof, do a Google search of “Sagan invisible dragon.”)
Folks from all demographic classes have seen UFOs however it’s folks from the U.S. who report the nice majority of the sightings. The explanation why many of the reported sightings are by these within the U.S. embody our very sturdy individualistic tradition, centered on particular person expertise and experience; our mistrust of the federal authorities (oftentimes for superb causes); and folks right here imagine we dwell in a rustic with expertise superior to some other nation’s. Folks in different nations seeing a UFO will extra seemingly chalk it as much as some new U.S. warfare expertise as a substitute of an alien spacecraft. Context makes a giant distinction within the interpretation of information.
Although I, as a skeptic of UFOs as extraterrestrial alien spacecraft, do not must disprove the speculation, I’ll level you to a pleasant one-page information to alien UFOs put out by Andrew Fraknoi at bit.ly/ufoskeptic and to Mick West’s examinations of the Navy movies of the unusual phenomena which have been proven a number of instances within the media (see Fraknoi’s record for the hyperlinks). Spoiler: The movies making the rounds within the media may be defined by issues undoubtedly terrestrial and boring, together with digicam optics artifacts.
Contributing columnist Nick Strobel is director of the William M. Thomas Planetarium at Bakersfield Faculty and creator of the award-winning web site AstronomyNotes.com.