Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Look At Predawn Venus

In hopes some might want to see what Venus looks like through a scope in the very early pre-dawn hours, this picture was taken by Sean Walker as the planet moved higher up and farther away from the rising sun, unseen.  From my vantage, it seemed thicker and more ghostly, but the crescent-shape is very obvious.  Mr. Walker used red, green, blue and ultraviolent video stacks to grab the most accurate clarity and form.  The surface temperature of Venus has been measured at over 1,000 degrees F due to the greenhouse effect. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Venus Morning Star, Harvest Evening Moon

How nice to see you again! I started at 2:20 a.m. EST and for a few hours now in this early pre-dawn I've been scoped on the new "morning star" Venus, which earlier in the year was our evening star, that job now taken in natural most perfect cosmic chaos by Jupiter. May I tell you what I'm seeing in my scope? You don't need one, not even bincos, Venus is so incredibly bright now you'll think you're looking at a small version of a bright moon. It's lighting up everything.

I'm noticing Venus appears very cresent-like close-up, as it has these past weeks, (though to the naked eye it appears as a very large bright sphere) and the Venusian rings look sparse and clustered tightly, in a bluish-gray. I can make out what look to be the usual space dust and miscellaneous orbiting ice and rock debris which make up the rings themselves. The rock looks very spherical and formed, which I imagine results from eons of continual orbit. Unlike Saturn, Venus's rings are less visible but nonetheless there. I see what my biased eye wants to call blue but I know that can't be - most likely it's a deeper gray. I can make out the brilliant orange-gold of the planet itself, far hotter than our sun. Even our own earth's core is hotter than sol.

Venus began the month very low on the eastern horizon about 1-1/2 hours before dawn, it's been easy pleasant viewing. All month it's been getting higher and higher, it's so high now my scope is tilted in a position where I have to sit very low down to watch it closely. If only you were awake right NOW! Well you are lol know, back then - which is actually now, for me. (Say what? I'm in the present, talking about it, but it's already in the past, which you'll be experiencing when you read this, in your present) Ok, anyway.. Venus has now reached it's maximum brilliance magnitude of 4.8, that's 12 times brighter than Jupiter! By the 30th, Omicron (o) Leonis at a magnitude of 3.5 intends to spill into the Venusian realm only 1/4 degree to its south. Imagine how bright that'll be! Watch for it on the 30th in the southeast, pre-dawn.

You'll recall Venus had been our evening star with Jupiter our morning star, having now switched places, and all this month I've been reporting Jupiter's nightly show, drawing the eye southwestward at twilight. It occurs I should've made more posts, with all the little nightly differings in the constellations and their stars. I've refocused from the south in Casseopeia to the east again to catch the Venusian activity and, of course, the harvest moon starting this afternoon at approximately 3:56 PM EST. The full moon of the autumnal equinox will be awesome and visible to all after dusk. But it's the incredibly dazzling, brilliant torch of Venus in the pre-dawn hours that blow you away.

So much has happened this month, still happening and yet to happen. I'm hopeful about our full moon, the aptly named "harvest moon" and what it'll bring to the eye. There are a small number of detractors who demand continual proofs and stats, but it's been long-known by the simple evidence of experience that all living creatures on the planet are effected by the full moon, as you know. The liquid in our bodies will be slightly "tugged" at like a tide (you won't feel it) and for some, cause odd behaviors, suprising mood changes, and a general feeling of being "out of step". Many report they have "astral" experiences, as if you're in the wrong body. Does this happen to you?

You can measure how affected you are by simply walking on a hard surface and try to concentrate on your body's central gravitational core. Just walk slowly in your most "balanced" and customary state. If your central core feels slightly higher or lower, you're one of those millions who are very effected by the moon's phases. (It's Luna's phases, not her brilliance, which cause these oddities). Cancerians are ruled by the moon and experience great physical changes. (I know one person who is reading this and thinking "So that's why I grown hair and nails and start howling". He knows I know he'll say something witty, hopefully! and I'm ready for ya, pal :-))

? ? ? ? ? O O O ? ? ? ? ?

Here's a few interesting lunar factoids more in keeping with astrology but nonetheless very true for many. The moon is in Aries which is very energetic, dynamic and urges you to move quickly because something is left undone which truly needs looking after. A family matter. A financial one. A doctor's appointment you keep putting off. This is the time to seize opportune moments, as it is also moving rapidly to its peak and you may have a real sense that the finish line is in sight, the best chance you're going to get is now, so many would advise that you put closure to unresolved situations, or just get out there and start/finish what you've put on the back burner. It matters not that such things have no basis in fact - people experience these feelings and situations which to me, makes it valid and worthy of research. Has anyone been feeling this way, "anxious" or that something's been left undone? Curious.

Several times during this month I've actually been able to make out surface features of Mars because of good atmospheric conditions during certain early pre-dawn hours. This is normal. I especially enjoy looking at the canali which once held flowing water, not stagnant.

Well, the sun has crested the horizon and is fast moving upward in the far eastern skies, moving northward. It's an extremely bright sunrise yet I can still clearly make out Venus with just the naked eye! Brilliant. I'm going to watch for awhile.


Back. It's 8 a.m. Venus is there but invisible now to the eye and impossible to make out even with my scope because of the atmosphere and sunrise. Yet the moon is high, and last I saw it was almost directly overhead.

* * * * * * * * * * O O O * * * * * * * *

Would you like to discuss this full moon we're about to experience? It is now in Aries, and begins a few minutes before 4 PM EST today. Our "Harvest Moon". You remember how it got that moniker from farmers who were able to bring in the crops faster as they could work during the night, using Luna's light. I've mentioned some odd occurrences during this time, and we have very clear explanations for many. For instance, the higher fertility rate amongst all life during this time has a basis in science. The photic or light signals sent by the retina and lens of the eye are converted into hormonal signals by the pineal gland. This gland signals the onset of puberty in humans and plays a large part in the fertility rhythmns of all species. In animals which reproduce seasonally it is the changing light patterns which trigger the fertility cycle.

Of course the human animal reproduces monthly, and the one natural light source which has a monthly periodicy is, of course, the moon. (An interesting note for the ladies: The mentrual cycle is actually a shedding process as you know. Just as the average cycle is 28 days in length, the human body sheds a layer of skin approximately every 28 days. Fascinating!)

It's not safe or accurate to invest in "lunar myths" but best to follow your own personal experiences during such times, in my opinion. If the moon "draws" you, makes you feel introspective and unusually creative, if your moods vary for no organic reason, we can postulate how the onset of additional photic or light sources can and do effect all life forms. Basically, it's life or death since nothing can exist without photo synthesis. Now, of course, thanks to the incredible discoveries 25 years ago of Dr. Bob Ballard, who found hot water volcanic vents spewing bateriaat the bottom of sea (where no light got through, yet life florished) we know that besides photo(light) synthesis, life also exists through "chemosynthesis" or simple chemical changes of bacterial life from those hot water vents into food for the giant tube worms, albino blind fish, etc., living without light at the sea's floor. This discovery changed every science textbok in the world.


Back to Venus, though I don't see it now, this incredible planet will continue to be our morning star for several months and if you're up before dawn, have a peek. And some coffee.

Well - on with the day. Have a heavenly one!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Basics courtesy of Mebb Tel, Sky & Tel, R&L, Gryphon, star charts

"Autumn Occurs To Me"

How can you but chose the explosion of color

at the beginning of the end of summer?

Nothing could be duller

than a season with no change,

and as the Good God does arrange,

all aglow and seeming without reason,

is this verge we are on, of the merging of

brown and red and gold, yellow from green

mellowing from the unseen cold.

Mountains are dressed

in bursts of shimmering trees,

all ablaze in their best, meant for you,

meant to please - which they do - as they glimmer.

I have come to believe that too much Autumn

might put one in a craze, for you cannot leave;

Who, from the sight, would turn from it?

In a daze, you listen to silent thunder,

you stand in wonder as you gaze -

This is what God, for us, did commit.

I stand to offer highest praise.

Cathy Rapicano - posted 9/7/06 










Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday PhotoShoot - Something Personally Obsolete

John Scalzi's Monday Photoshoot asks we find something we ONCE used but hardly do at all now.  Something obsolete.  This was easy for me, I'm through with smoking dogs!! 

Okay, it's cigarettes I once used them, haven't in years.  It was odd how this happened as it wasn't a bit planned, even considered.  One day in 2002-3, while still having a small bit of trouble ambulating, I ran out of smokes and just couldn't muscle up the nerve (bad pun) to hop on that walker.  (Neuropathy sux)  So I let it go.  Next day I wanted my "coffee and..." but still couldn't get my legs to cooperate.  Since I'm a chicken when asking for help, I just went without for another day.  Which passed into a week then a month then a half year.  Before long I realized it was either my age (53 at the time with the Big M) or laziness working to my benefit.  So I didn't argue with what seemed to be fated.

When offered a smoke, I always decline with no explanation.  If asked, I simply say, "I can't, I'm not a smoker.  So how could I smoke?  Since I don't, I can't.  See?"  No preachy pontification and an answer which causes a knitted brow to appear.  (What did she just say...?)  

Anyway ~ works for me.   

Where I found it:  John Scalzi's Monday Photo Shoot: Personally Obsolete     


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Milky Way Mentality (And Other Human Oddities)

These human traits first came to me years ago having nothing to do with Milky Ways, but that seemed the best analogy. Goes something like this: If one Milky Way is good, then two must be better which makes three best and that's why I'm going to eat four.

Small Example: Two ladies shopping for hubby's new fancy handkerchief.

"Oh look Mildred, this one's nice. I'll get it."

"Yes, I agree Fran. But get two."


"Oh yes, Fran, one for show, one for blow."

Fran looks pensive. "Well..."

"You know, Fran? Just get three. One for show, one for blow and one for you-never-know. Best be sure!"

The Milky Way Mentality means: If a little is good, a little more must be better and the whole lot must be best.

There's another one, The Trump in a Teapot. Very common. A guy has exactly what he needs - not alot, not a little, just what he needs to live. Pay rent, food. His "oldish" clothes still look just fine and he has friends he can trust. Wants for nothing more.

Then he wins a million bucks. First thing he does is look for a way to MAKE MORE!! He's got more but somehow feels he now needs to increase it, now that he HAS more. Yeah! More than more! He can't even imagine spending a million bucks so he surrounds himself with "people who know" what? Why? Yet the human impulse says, "Make it work for you, invest, diversify, expand, etc."

The Trump in a Teapot means: You may think you're happy with "just enough" but what you really want is more more more.

Here's another: Porcupine Promises. At some time you find a need to elicit a favor from a friend, let's say a promise to help you move in two weeks time. "No problem!" you get. Two weeks go by, you call your friend. He starts:

"Oh no, you mean to DAY??"

"Well, I did say in two weeks, and its...."

"You meant this COMING two weeks?? Oh no I thought you meant, well I didn't think you meant two weeks from that exact DAY now, I mean...O dear..."

"I was counting on you, pal."

"Yes, but something sticky has come up, very prickly situation here, I misunderstood what you meant, oh this is really a mess, I have so much to DO!" (Here comes the transfer of guilt): "What am I going to do NOW?? O no, this is awful...." making you feel somehow it's your fault.

The Procupine Promise means: Always made with "barbs" attached, surely meant well at the time, but get too close and they start shooting darts..

Here's a good one: The Narcissistic Navigator. This is the guy who steers his life-ship through those rough seas we all do, meeting other "sailors" in this great and glorious adventure we're on, but whose basic philosophy is: If I don't agree with it, it can't be right. Smug sob.

This one is crafty, they disguise their words in platitudes of "That's a good point" or "Oh yes, I can see how that could happen" or "maybe so, maybe so..." but inside, silently, and with unattractive smugness, they are convinced the only answers that count are the ones they've arrived at, however the method.

The Narcissistic Navigator means: He will never learn anything of import in life, as he believes he already knows it all. And should he pick up a bit of sound wisdom, he can't digest it because he's too full of himself.

Now we have The "I Paid For It Anyway" Shoplifter. I'm shamefully familiar with this thinking. This is an adult who'll polish off a bag of candy while shopping, or pop in a few grapes (which ends up being a dozen) or eat something from a package already opened, etc. When they look at the bill they feel perfectly justified having that can of salmon in each pocket (or a few Milky Ways) Anyway it's pretty much the same mode of thought: I really paid for his over and over with these high prices, so I don't feel bad.

The "I Paid For It Anyway" Shoplifter means: It's a feeling of entitlement, since we all pay now for things that used to cost half as much. We're told we're making more, it should even out. "Trickle down" theory was a deceitful sham we all fell for. This type makes it seem fair.

Aren't we humans wonderful? We find ways to deal with life's incongruities, judgments, unfair tactics, and all the general everyday mess we're forced to confront. It's heartening to see how diverse our choices are in dealing with this, the Great Experiment of Life!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


On September 11, 2001, the planet earth was blessed with the birth of over 10,000 new lives. 

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scatter This LOL

"Scattegories" let's see, where HAVEN'T I seen this game?  I surrender, I wanna play too!  First letter of my name answers everything?  Okay:

What is your name?  Catherine

4-letter word:  Clue (haven't a...)

City:  Camden - NJ

Vehicle:  Cadillac, what else

TV Show:  CSI (for laughs)

Boy's Name:  Creighton

Girl's Name:  Celestine

Drink:  Coconut milk

Occupation:  Coroner

Something you wear:  Camisoles

Celebrity:  Carl Perkins (guitar player)

Food:  Coconut-flavored anything

Found in bathroom:  Curtains

Reason for being late:  Car (lack of..)

Cartoon character:  Cinderella ? 

Something you Shout:  Cabieeeeee!!!!

Thanks to Penny, Val, Chuck, Donna, Linda, et!!



Friday, September 7, 2007

Monday Photoshoot Expression

This is brother CHRIS losing his sanity.  That's an emotion, right?  Something like, "I always wanted to be a ballerina, so laugh if you dare!"  (I dared lol) 


Between me (Cathy) and my brother (Chris)

First posted April 26, 2007 - some of you will remember this - just for laughs.


Chris looked at me. "I just had a cup of that new decaffinated stuff." he said.

"No", I retorted, "that's the condition of a cow who just gave birth. De-CALF-inated. See?"


"What...?" Chris said. "And I suppose Russians get their milk from MosCOWS?! Loods, you're nuts."


Chris started walking away.

"Awwww, don't be so cow-towed, Chris!" I yelled. He walked faster.

"So where ya going, huh? The mooo-vies?"

Now he kicked into a full run, stiffling giggles. I couldn't resist.

"Gee Chris, you're so mooo-dy." I shouted. "Come on, wait up! I can't mooo-ve as fast as you!"

Distinct sounds of laughter coming from Chris now. He started to slow down, finally stopping with his hands on his knees, head bent down, trying to catch his breath.

"You're an idiot, Cath." he managed.

"Yeah, I know."

Chris looked pensive. "Hey, write those down, and any more you can think of, I have a friend who loves stuff like that."

I thought about it. "Is he a COWboy?" I asked?

Moans from Chris. "No, he's a park supervisor."

"Does he look for moose? You know, MOO-se?" I asked with the devil's own smirk.

Chris turned from me, cupping his mouth.

"You think your COWboy friend herds MOO-se? What do they call guys like that, Mooseboys?" Chris's eyes were starting to water.

"Why would anyone need to herd Moose anyway? Why not owls? Say! If an owl got hit with an awl, would it hurt more?" I pondered. "What about a trowel?" I mused. "Why do owls hoot and wolves howl, do you think?" I looked straight at Chris.

He couldn't speak, his speech center was choked off by laughter.

"Howling owls, imagine ...." I said slowly, rubbing my chin.

Last I saw Chris, he was sitting at the table, writing something down.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Arrivederci il mio Maestro

       Vederli mel cielo, il mio caro Maestro - grazie mile !

                                LUCIANO PAVAROTTI

                                       1935 - 2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Week Of Cosmic Doings

Something I never thought to post, since its occurrence is so rare ... the "Aurigid" meteors, first born in about 82 B.C. from comet Keiss.  The comet orbits about every 2,000 years.  Aurigids are so brief, dim and rare and close to impossible to predict - at least up till now. 

Our Perseids were a wondrous sight, for those who got to watch them zoom straight down into your lens.  But Aurigids are not dependable, so I didn't bother to post about them.  Unpredictably, they made a showing in the Northwest on Saturday.  A brief shower.  Their name comes from the constellation Auriga, not far from Capella.  Enough about what I missed.  Here's a brief encapsulation of what to expect this week above our heads:

Tuesday 9/4:  Just as our Luna did, one of Jupiter's moons, tiny battered "Io", has made it's own eclipse and will reappear from out of the planet's shadow (penumbra stage) around 10 P.M. EDT.  Binocs a must.

Wednesday, 9/5:  This is a treat for anyone mezmerized by very bright stars, like our sun.  "Chi Cygni" is one of the brightest, about to reach its maximum light.  Look for it anytime after dusk in the shaft area of the Northern Cross. 

Thursday, 9/6:  I've been trained mostly on Cassopeia during August, now becoming much higher in the northeast anytime after 9 p.m. EDT.  She'll be shaped like a "W" on its side.  Looking down and to the left, you'll see Capella, very brightly edging the horizon around 10 P.M. EDT, a double treat for scopers.

Friday, 9/7:  If you're up at dawn, watch for the waning crescent Moon to the upper left of bright Venus.  Binocs needed for this, but to the naked eye, Regulus will be so close to Saturn as to appear to be one great light. 

Saturday, 9/8 and Sunday, 9/9:  As the star-chart shows, gazing east at dawn is your best best.  Our "morning star" is now Venus and she'll be bright and beautiful. 

Happy gaze!


Basics courtesy of Sky & Telescope, R&L, Skywatcher, star charts.     





Monday, September 3, 2007

Here's The Untruth

So it's now Monday and I'm revealing the one untrue statement amongst the three:  It's the third.  I'm EXTREMELY easy to please!

l.  True, I've never been to a circus.

2.  True, I think pregnant woman should not wear tight, revealing clothing, it's just how I feel.  There's being "proud" of your condition, then there's not caring how it looks to others.  Maybe to a woman who can't have children.  Heck, it just looks bad.   

3.  False.  I'm so easy to please it frustrates my friends and family.

Mern says, "So Loodee, whaddya want for Christmas?"

"Anything, socks will do."

Moans from Mern.

Chris and Penny go:  "So Cath, how about a nice day at the spa for your birthday?  Like that?"

"Sure I guess"

No commitment - more moans.

Everybody:  "Loodee, what would YOU like for petes sake?!?" 

"Well....what's convenient?"

So, I'm easy to please to an annoying fault. 

Notes for the sake of noting them:  Trees and Pam got it right, how perceptive!  And Rosemary you speed-reader you,  it says "besides this game, did you lie today" so surely...?  I'm having a delightful time seeing how many people didn't fib because they didn't talk !  Yeah, that would work.