Friday, November 29, 2013

Boob Tubes

I enjoyed a lazy Thanksgiving bereft of most of my family. We all have more than one family these days which makes for scheduling fun every time the Holiday Season rolls around. I don't mind really, sometimes the all week prep and all day kitchen marathons are nice to avoid.

Still, I will be baking a 14lb Free Range turkey later this week...with Sausage and Spelt Cornbread Dressing...without the rest of the requisite Thanksgiving Feast hoopla.

Unencumbered by responsibilities, I plugged into some NFL football on TV while keeping an eye on the internet for Breaking Space News...

SpaceX, the private space launch company wrangled by Tesla Motors' head honcho Elon Musk, was set to launch a TV Satellite from Florida's Space Coast.

Mysterious traveler, Comet ISON was swinging around the Sun, and skywatchers were on pins and needles on whether it would survive the close encounter. ISON was predicted to pass our star at one Solar Diameter's distance from the Sun's surface, enduring (or not) temps high enough to melt iron.

Football it turns out offered a twofer in the form of the Raiders vs Cowboys game. The first half looked like the 70s/80s Raiders crushing America's Team 21-14, only to look like a different team in the second half only scoring 3 points to the Cowboy's 17, in the end, losing 31-24.

SpaceX ended up offering a twofer of sorts as well...

A dramatic Aborted Launch seconds after engine ignition, when sensors showed the Falcon 9's main engines' thrust ramp-up was out of spec. The launch was "aborted by autosequence due to slower than expected thrust ramp," Musk posted on Twitter.

The SpaceX Launch Team secured the rocket and began failure-analysis while concurrently recycling the vehicle for a second attempt at launch within the hour! NASA never double clutched ever!

The Launch Team ran out of time to understand the anomaly, and ran up against the edge of the satellite's Launch Window. They'll try again after the Holiday Weekend, when the FAA will let them launch once the holiday air travel eases up a little.

Comet ISON was a twofer as well. All Solar Viewing satellites recorded images of ISON's swing through it's late morning (PST) perihelion...comet observers held their collective breath...then nothing!

I had tried to view ISON before it's close encounter to no avail...hazy skies at the Ancestral Digs made the highly improbable observation impossible.

After sunset, the first images of ISON reappearing after it's blast furnace rendezvous, show something on ISON's path. Observers were of two minds: ISON didn't survive...or...ISON did survive without it's nucleus...or something. As of 'Black Friday' afternoon, whatever it is has brightened quite a bit! Sky & Telescope Magazine has the latest Comet ISON blow-by-blow.

Here's a movie of the comet's two+ day solar flyby.

ISON may yet be a naked-eye wonder! Stay Tuned...

What a nice Thanksgiving night surprise...ComcastSportsNet replayed Tim Lincecum's No Hitter against the San Diego Padres from this past an early Christmas Present!

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