Tag: stars

Solar Eclipse Fever? Mark your calendar for 2024

Solar Eclipse Fever? Mark your calendar for 2024

Total Eclipse of Sun and Corona Photo by Fred Espenak, 1999

Once in a lifetime solar eclipse? Maybe not. 

Nature’s rarest celestial spectacle, a total solar eclipse. Now that you’ve seen it on television and heard the awe of the spectators, you wish you’d been able to work it out. For a variety of reasons I was content to see a 72% eclipse from my home in Las Vegas, alas, for the single hour that would have been needed to watch, it rained. And it really rained, like big, black, storm cloud rain.

Rain might not seem such a big deal to most, but we have sun about 350 days a year here. It’s why I have a 10.5K solar array on my roof, why my bath towels are kind of stiff from drying on the clothesline six months of the year, and why I expected that in this valley my odds (no obvious Vegas pun intended here) of visibility were about 34:1 in favor of sun.  In fact, even with rain, at some point the sun will appear even on those days. And, I was right. The clouds cleared around noon, well past the entire event in the southwest part of the country.

Solar eclipse of 1979

So the last chance I had was in 1979. I will tell you, without too many age revealing details, I happened to be on a school campus at the time, sometime around 8:15. I used the pinhole method, a hole in a paper cast upon another sheet of paper. My classmates thought I was nuts for even caring. I was probably the only person that day who bothered, or cared, that in the sky above us something extraordinary was occurring, in real time, and that tiny little grey crescent, as it changed from fat to thin to fat and whole again, in the past had confirmed Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, in 1919.

And as sad as that experience might sound, I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve been nerdy since before they invented the term, and I’m not surprised to find myself writing scientific fiction stories, hoping to instill the same feelings of amazement and cosmic unity in my readers as I embrace. I call this a natural worldview. Only a handful of humans have ventured beyond our stratosphere, and only as far as our moon.

The speed of light is 186,000+ miles per second (300,000 km/sec), or 6.71×108  per hour. I seared that number into my brain prepping for a science club contest between high schools. A photon of light can circle the Earth 7.5 times in one second. Light travels between the moon and Earth in less than two seconds. It takes light 8 minutes to get from our sun to Earth. My point is, space is big, and that’s an understatement.

Next total solar eclipse in United States
Texas to Maine 2024

April 8th, 2024, we have another coast to coast total eclipse, but instead of west to east, it will be south to north, more or less.

 

 

 

 

 

annular solar eclipse 2023
Oregon to Gulf of Mexico

An annular eclipse, where instead of the corona you see a ring of fire, will occur shortly before that, on October 14th, 2023.

 

It works like this: the Sun is 400 times +- larger than the moon. It is also 400 times farther away from the moon than the moon is to Earth. For a deeper explanation, go read this Popular Science blog. No sense in reinventing the wheel here. And since the moon moves away from Earth a few centimeters each year, before another billion years pass, a total solar eclipse will be a thing of the past. Of course, none of us will be here to lament the demise. We are on the planet, conscious, sentient, intelligent, at the best time since life began.

I wrote about humans on another planet experiencing a solar eclipse, not a total eclipse, but one in which three moons converge to cast their shadows and block out the star, Beta Hydri, and this defining moment in their lives brings a new beginning and hope as they patiently await rescue on a planet that, like Nature here, doesn’t care for the life forms; they simply must use their brains to stay alive, and the solar powered escape pods are pretty helpful, too. If you want to check that book out, just pop over here and you can find it on Smashwords or Amazon as an eBook, or in paperback if you prefer. Paradox: The Alien Genome, the first novel of the Captain Jackson Adventures series.

novel alien genome
Five Star Rated, Paradox: The Alien Genome

Until the next worthy news item, wear your sunscreen. Those UV rays are Naughty Nature at her most wicked!

A recent review

A recent review

Shameless plug: another 5 star review of Paradox. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for? Click the picture and get the e-version instantly! Read it? Rate it! Read more stories with many of the same characters: Jackson, Quixote, Rianya, Bala, Lee, Watson, Bailey, Dukvita, the Kiians, and a new species coming up – the Zlogers!

 

If you long for the days of Gene Roddenberry’s soulful Star Trek, or hope the Avatar movie might one day become a reality, then you are in for a treat with H.S. Rivney’s Paradox: The Alien Genome. The suggestion of a genetic cure from the world beyond captivated my imagination, as did the author’s writing style. For me, the vivid, unique descriptions illuminated this space odyssey to movie-screen proportions. A healthy dose of dialogue keeps the pace at warp speed with lots of techie jargon. But what really impressed me was the author’s sophisticated scientific knowledge—I would believe her to be an astronaut or a physicist in a previous life to dream up the concepts presented throughout the novel. The author creates a totally convincing world from ecosystems to geology, animal species to alien beings. One graphic scene was tasteful, accurate and evocative. But there’s a touch of intrigue and danger, as well as a softer side to this story, too. A great ending wraps up this exciting futuristic journey after traveling back to a nostalgic era of Kirk, Spock, and Sulu— I highly recommend the ride!

Patti Cavaliere, author of 5 star rated “Looking for Leo”, click me!

Move Over, Hubble

Move Over, Hubble

james-webb-space-telescopeA golden telescope is ready to be tested after twenty years under construction. It will be the largest space telescope humans have ever deployed, and it’s scheduled to assume its final position about a million miles away from Earth in 2018. This magnificent feat of engineering will have seven times the light collecting surface of Hubble in addition to having the ability to collect infrared light.

It’s called the James Webb Space Telescope. If the moon was only the size of a jellybean, this telescope could see it, and any heat that it might emit. From its orbit ‘behind’ the earth at a place in space officially called Lagrange Point 2 (see the info graphic), and by maintaining a temperature near absolute zero, the telescope will, among other tasks, be able to penetrate clouds of dust and analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets that have been discovered around nearby stars.

The cost? Almost 9 billion bucks. That’s a lot of money, but it didn’t simply go up in smoke. The money supported high tech and manufacturing jobs for the betterment of man as opposed to more nuclear weapons, wars for oil, and the interest on the national debt, which by itself is over 230 billion dollars annually. Over the course of 20 years, this single project cost less than a third of a single year’s American science budget. When you look at it that way, it’s downright reasonable given its projected lifespan, the information we will gain, and again, the high tech jobs that go with. We spend that money and we have something to show for it.

NASA leads the project, but has considerable support by the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.  The 21 foot mirror  has to be launched folded and will unfurl once it has endured the launch itself which will take about two weeks! It will be told to open its solar shield, then it must cool down. The last thing ground engineers will do is focus the instrument, and it should begin functioning by Spring of 2019. It carries enough fuel to sustain it for ten years but with typical spacecraft, it will probably function much longer than anyone expects.

I borrowed (stole) this info-graphic from Space dot com that broke the story, and hope if you are interested in more details you’ll go visit them. I’m all about giving credit where it is due, and simply want to bring a little good news to you in light of all the ugly news on the television these recent days. Enjoy, share, and dream.

 

 

 

One Week Away

One Week Away

Next Monday September 26th, all day Monday, my novella Gamma Ray Games will be FREE
in the Amazon Kindle Store. You can read it on any device, no E-Reader necessary!
Tell a friend!
If you think a thorium reactor is harmless, think again.

gammapromo
 Get Your Copy Here
We’re over the hump!

We’re over the hump!

Placeholder ImageActually, I didn’t realize it was half way through the week until I checked on the Goodreads Giveaway – tomorrow is the last day to enter the give away for a signed paperback copy of Paradox: The Alien Genome. There’s over 200 requests, but the odds are better than average!

Speaking of Over the Hump – here in southern Nevada to the west of Las Vegas is a mountain range separating it from a rural town called Pahrump! They have a great little library there and I expect to be doing a reading there this fall. If you live in the land of Nye County, stay tuned and I’ll be updating when I know a firm date.

Also looking at doing a reading at the Neon Science Fiction Book Club here in Las Vegas. Again, no firm date, but wanted to give you something to think about. I’ll be visiting at the Vegas Valley Book Fair on October 15th downtown, but I was a bit too late for this year’s vendor list. Maybe next year I can make it!

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Dangerous: Gamma Ray Games

And one more announcement. Dangerous: Gamma Ray Games will be FREE on Amazon Kindle one day this month, on Monday, September 26th. As always, it’s free to read if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. It’s a poolside read, just a couple of hours and it’ll give you a great introduction to Captain Thomas Jackson and some of his crew.

Contest – just one skill needed

Contest – just one skill needed

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/201699-paradox-the-alien-genome

Hello Friends,

Sol seen from Titan
Sol seen from Titan

It’s another give away for Paradox – because the Amazon Give Away was a great success! This time you have to go to the Goodreads site and join for free, then you can enter all the book  give aways you want! All genres and authors, from one copy to a 100, try a new author and you might be surprised, and glad, you did. No risk, no money, just click that link above Saturn and enter.

By the way, Paradox is not the only available “read” – no time for a long novel? Check out my novella, 1/4 the size, 1/4 the price, currently available, Dangerous: Gamma Ray Games  at (yes) Amazon ($0.99).

One more reminder: If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, read both for free! No contest needed!

Do you know a friend who might like a hard science fiction read for September? Intelligent readers wanted! No dystopia, no apocalypse, no invasion of Earth, but much in common with what we face today at home. Share this post with them. They’ll thank you if they win!

 

Last Chance 2016

Last Chance 2016

 It’s the last day this year that PARADOX: The Alien Genome will be available for FREE on Amazon. If Science Fiction isn’t your cup of Earl Grey, Coffee, or Passion Fruit Iced Tea, do a friend a favor and share this post with them!

Don’t Miss Out

Don’t Miss Out

paradoxTAG

My e-novel, PARADOX, is FREE, no strings attached! Today, Saturday and  tomorrow, Sunday, August 27 & 28, through Amazon. Check out the short trailer below, and get in one more good read before school starts!

Click here:  Free This Weekend Only

 

Yesteryear’s Science Fiction

Yesteryear’s Science Fiction

https://t.co/VRLnUINSEI

Filling the Dragon

The astronauts are loading supplies into the vehicle that will leave the space station and go to Earth. I had fantasies about this kind of thing as a child. I suppose I should have dreamed about the day they cure all cancers, end poverty, stop making war, but those seemed too realistic (in all honest, thought we would have done it by now). But space travel to anywhere, and space stations in orbit, and filling out an application to be an astronaut?

For those of us who dream that humanity will not only survive but come out better in the long run, reality can be sobering. But looking back at history, we’ve made progress, at least in the modern world. We no longer burn witches at the stake, and there’s probably enough food for everyone if we can just overcome the governments and get it there when it’s needed. We can control reproduction, and we have antibiotics (at least we do for a little while longer). Small Pox is extinct. So are Guinea worms. But then, a lot of species have gone extinct for utterly stupid reasons; rhino horns and ivory come to mind.

I think now, what can be so astounding, is that we have The Internet, and people have the world’s knowledge at their fingertips, and ignore it. We went to the moon, and back. We’ve created and sent robots to all the other planets we share our sun with. If that can be done on the puny budget our world commits to science (oh, about 3% compared to 50% for the war machine), then imagine our future if the budgets were well balanced and people valued the science brought to us by space programs. See, now we’re back to dreaming about touching those stars!