Saturday, 24 August 2013

220 Flagstaff

Thursday 22nd August 2013
Miles Today 85  Total   18,776

We hired a car today and popped down to a local nature park, 'Bearizona'.

It sounds a bit corny but it was actually very nice. Here are some piccys:

This wolf was actually stalking a chipmunk

Does a bear .... in the woods he doesn't....  he sits on a log....

Porcupine up a tree !  I didn't know they did that

A Racoon

Baby love

Canadian Lynx

Just so cute
Never run up a tree to get away from bears.

After that park we went to the Flagstaff Lowell Observatory. This place has the credit for finding the planet Pluto, which sadly has now been downgraded to a dwarf planet as it has a elliptical orbit and has not collected all the asteroids in its path.

In 1930 an uneducated amateur astrologist named Clyde Tombaugh went to work at the observatory which was all but bankrupted from a legal ownership battle. Due to the bankruptcy, they had no funds to pay for him and he worked there for board and lodging only. He would spend most of the day doing janitorial chores and most evenings tasking photographs with the telescope. Each exposure took an hour and he would take up to 6 a night. This was done in an unheated observatory where winter temperatures were as low as minus 20F.

Once the plates were developed he would look at 2 photographs of the same part of space taken a week apart and look for differences in the exposures. Considering the size of the sky and the magnification of the telescope there were thousands of plates. Despite this he managed to identify Pluto as a small dot that moved between two plates over the course of a week.

This man had dedication above and beyond the call of duty and it paid off in the end. Once planet 'X' was announced to the world, they solicited a name for ther new planet and chose one from an eleven year old English girl who suggested Pluto as he was the God of cold and dark and Pluto was in a place with the same attributes.

The original telescope for the observatory. It is still working and is 117 years old. The roof doors are actually bomber aircraft bomb bay doors.

Third signature down. The late, great Neil Armstrong. The first man on the moon. One of my childhood heroes. A real one !
 NASA used this observatory to map the moon prior to the lunar landings, hence Neil Armstrong's visit. The moon mapping used by NASA that we see in pictures and posters was actually drawn by hand using airbrushing having been interpreted from the photographs.

This is the Pluto finding telescope. You cannot actually see through it. It only takes photographs using the bug grey plate at the base.

1 comment:

  1. Arr i love the racoon, its my sprite animal lol pic stolen x x