Staring At the Sun. Literally.

–First published on kurithevegantraveller.wordpress.com.–


The Great American Eclipse is coming up in August next year (2017).  It’s the first total solar eclipse to touch only the United States in its entire 240-year history as an independent nation.  (First “Brexit,” anyone?  No?  OK…)

whole-us
The predicted path of the total solar eclipse.

I’d had eclipse glasses in my Amazon wish list for at least a year before I finally purchased them shortly after moving to my current house.  They’ve been sitting in a safe place for the last few months, but I finally decided to try them out recently.

I get creeped out pretty easily with seeing normal things differently in real life.  My first dream job was to be an astronaut so I could go to the moon, but one night when I was about six I saw the moon look giant in the sky and it scared me out of being an astronaut.  (I still have no idea why it appeared to be giant, because all of the usual explanations don’t apply.  It was high in the sky, white, and nearly a week past full.)  So in my back yard, right before I put on the glasses, I braced myself for what I was about to see.

Nothing.  Completely black everywhere.  No reflections, no sunlight, no anything.  The ONLY thing that was shown through the glasses was the surface of the sun itself.

eclipse glasses view
An illustrated representation, but it looks exactly like what I saw.

There it was in the midst of its pitch black surroundings: a flawless, goldenrod, perfect circle.  I even tried taking a picture of it with my phone through the glasses, but the phone’s camera kept insisting that there had to be white somewhere and tried to colour balance.  (Although, it does say right on the glasses that they’re only to be used with eyes, not “cameras, telescopes or binoculars.”)

But I stared at that circle.  That apparent little thing in the sky is the giant powerhouse of the solar system.  Just past aphelion, it was about 152 million kilometres (94.5 million miles) away from me.  From the moment “sunlight” is created in its core, it takes hundreds of thousands of years for it to reach the surface of the sun, then just under 8.5 minutes from there to here.  It’s the source of the horrible heat I was feeling to my core (amplified by the day’s 61% humidity), and of all the life in the solar system.  While it looked like a completely calm and perfect circle in the sky, it’s raging with fission and plasma inside and out, and could easily wipe out life on earth if it really wanted to.  (Though hopefully that doesn’t happen until its scheduled time in about 5 billion years.)

It didn’t make me feel small.  I just took a moment to see the sun for what it is.

IMG_2813
The awful picture taken with my phone.

I just want to encourage you to go out and “smell the roses” today.  Stop and find something to appreciate, scientifically or otherwise.  Find something you take for granted or overlook every day, and just take a moment to appreciate it for what it is.  The feel of a leaf, the formation of a cloud, your own heartbeat.  Everything has its beauty.

 


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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 25

30-DMC_2

 

Day 25: A Movie From Your Childhood

 

Lost in Space

 

Credit: rogerebert.com
Credit: rogerebert.com

 

As a very boyish tween who was obsessed with the “modern” science fiction look of the late ’90s (mostly dim lighting and a lot of bare metal), thought music couldn’t get any cooler than rock and techno, and secretly watched Friends when my parents weren’t looking, it didn’t take me long at all to adore this movie.

The story was well executed, the CGI was great for the time, and I definitely loved the characters.  I wanted to be as confident as Judy, as cool as Penny, and as smart as Will.  And of course, I wanted my own personal robot.

 

What’s a movie from your childhood?

 


Find me on social media:
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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 21

30-DMC_2

 

Day 21: A movie that made you think WTF AM I WATCHING?

 

2001: A Space Odyssey

 

2001-Starchild-and-Earth

 

Besides the needless length of a lot of the scenes, I was thoroughly enjoying this movie the first time I saw it.  It was definitely an interesting story, and that’s the only reason I continued to bear the bits that were stretched out.

The end, however, was confusing.  I had no idea what was going on.  There was no narration.  And then, the movie ended without explaining any of it.  What?!

I finally read the book earlier this year, so I understand more of what was going on in that strange ending.  I’m going to watch the movie again and see if I get it now.

 

What movie made you think WTF AM I WATCHING?!

 


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30 Day Movie Challenge 2 – Day 1

30-DMC_2

 

Day 1: Best New Movie You Saw Last Year

 

The Martian

THE-MARTIAN-movie-poster2

 

There’s no debating this choice.  Science, Mars, potatoes, and Matt Damon.

I’m not going to delve too deeply into this movie, because I’ve talked about it a bit in previous blogs (here and here).  I am, however, going to highly recommend it, again.

And conclude with a shameless plug for The Mars Generation 😇.

 

What’s the best new movie you saw last year?

 


Find me on social media:
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Potatoes and Matt Damon

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Credit: @TheMarsGen on Twitter.

Today, I’m participating in a fundraiser event for The Mars Generation.  The participants in the event are basically “stranded on Mars,” and have to ration ten medium-sized potatoes and sixteen ounces of water for the twenty-four-hour period.  (The whole thing can totally be done during one’s daily routine, and you don’t have to follow it.)  The participation takes place on Twitter, where we Martians not only help spread the word to raise money, but can also earn more perks like ketchup, coffee, and more water.

Check out info on the event with the hashtag #PotatoChallenge on Twitter, and at the following webpages:

https://www.givemn.org/organization/themarsgeneration
http://themarsgeneration.org/give-to-mars-day-november-12-how-you-can-help/


Now that that important passion is mentioned, onto the fandom stuff.

The-Martian-movie-poster

If you haven’t seen The Martian yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!  IT’S AWESOME!

I’ve seen the movie twice, and am currently reading the book.  Still “currently” because toward the end of the book I’m reading as little as possible — I don’t want it to end!

Though I don’t know any differently, I think Matt Damon was perfect for the part of movie Mark Watney.  To keep this post from getting too long, I’ll just let you figure it out for yourself.  Although, I’m sure that it also mostly has to do with my new fandom obsession with Matt Damon as an actor.  I watched The Monuments Men yesterday with Hubby.  It was a great movie with an all-star cast, including Matt Damon.

Credit: roadside-attraction.com
Credit: roadside-attraction.com

Right now, I’m sitting at Starbucks doing homework.  I’ve made some good progress on it, but now I want to take a break to watch a movie.  The Bourne Identity, to be specific.  The internet connection here isn’t having it.  Boo.  I’ve only seen the trilogy once, after seeing The Bourne Legacy several times, because of the fandom obsession both Hubby and I had over Jeremy Renner in 2012.  Actually, it was the exact same situation with the Mission Impossible series of movies, haha.  I only saw the trilogy once after a lot of Ghost Protocol views.

Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. Credit: collider.com

Anyway, I guess Jason Bourne will have to wait until I get back home.  Until then, I’ll make some more headway in astronomy class, eat potatoes, post to Twitter, and listen to the Christmas music playing in Starbucks.

Starbucks_Holiday_Cups-lowres
2015 red cups. Credit: news.starbucks.com

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Help Send Teens to Space Camp!

(This post is not sponsored.)

It’s always been a dream of mine to go to space camp.  The one time I was presented the information on the actual program (the last year I would have been able to as a teenager), I wasn’t able to go.  I didn’t know that scholarships existed for anything other than university tuition.

Especially because I was never able to go, I want to give others the opportunity to do so.  You can help by buying a T-shirt or sweater through 18 October, 2015, and/or donating directly to The Mars Generation.  More details in the video; full details via the links below.

The Mars Generation is a non-profit organisation geared toward exciting youth about space and STEM, and spreading the word about the importance of space exploration.

http://themarsgeneration.org/

T-Shirt Campaign:
http://tinyurl.com/ofmyyaw

Donate:
bit.ly/Kuri4Mars

Astronaut Abby on Twitter: @AstronautAbby
The Mars Generation on Twitter: @TheMarsGen

 


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INSTAGRAM: @kuri_thevegan
TWITTER: @KuriTheVegan
TSU: @KuriTheVegan

Historical Stargazing

(This post is not sponsored.)

I’ve always loved to look into the positions of planets, constellations, and other astronomical bodies during certain times and events in history.  When I was 15, I even did a time-lapse representation of how far the planets had actually travelled during my lifetime.

Cyan = Jupiter Fuchsia = Saturn Blue = Uranus Olive = Neptune Grey = Pluto
Cyan = Jupiter
Fuchsia = Saturn
Blue = Uranus
Olive = Neptune
Grey = Pluto

Nowadays, I love to use apps on my iPad. (My favourite is Sky Guide, but the images in this post are from SkyView. Both are linked at the bottom.)  There’s so much info available at our fingertips it’s amazing!  I don’t know if it had been just added, but I didn’t discover until about a month ago that you can set the date and time in the SkyView app!  My first instinct, of course, was to see how the sky looked the moment I was born, from the place I was born.  I found enough irony and coincidence that I wanted to share.

Let me take you back to December of 19*cough cough*, at 0653 local time.  The sun’s threatening to rise as this girl makes her grand entrance, surprising a couple of new parents with the fact that all the blue things they’d bought for me would have to do 😋.

(Note: The red line is the horizon.)

Saturn, my favourite extra-terrestrial planet in our solar system, has arrived just in time to welcome me, seemingly holding the hand of her curious little brother Mercury.  Scorpius, my favourite zodiacal constellation (though not my “sign”), is also making it to the party.  Uranus and Neptune trail close behind; “fashionably late” to make sure they don’t arrive too soon, thus avoiding awkward small talk.  Obviously, the masters of their introversion.

Betelgeuse and Orion have barely escaped my arrival as they set.  I guess The Hunter knew I’d be a vegan one day 😄😜.


Bonus shots:

Quite a spectacle is near its maximum, though far below the horizon at 0653, as Jupiter and Mars would reach the peak of their conjunction the next day.
Meanwhile, Virgo steps on Pluto as Venus watches from nearby.

Download the Sky Guide app from the iTunes Store:
Full version

Download the SkyView app from the iTunes Store:
Full version
Free version

Download the SkyView app from Google Play:
Full version
Free version