Monday, May 21, 2012

Ring of Fire

Sunset Beach Eclipse

May 20, 2012 


Photo credit: Milky Way Scientists.



In an earlier post about May's many cosmic delights, I mentioned the Super Moon, the meteor shower, and the May 20th Ring of Fire eclipse (and some other stuff). The Super Moon was so bright that I did not see a single meteor, and of course no one in the east coast was in the line of sight for the eclipse.

Two out of three ain't bad. One out of three? Ain't good.

I am an amateur stargazer. By that I mean I have a descent reflecting telescope, a small refracting telescope (for spotting, mostly), a bunch of software, and some favorite websites. I am more than willing get up early and drive out of town for a good view of certain celestial events. But as I said, the annular or "Ring of Fire" eclipse was not expected to be visible on the east coast, and even if we were in the viewing area, our skies were overcast.

Now, unlike the casual astronomer of modest means, such as myself, a professional astronomer--or even a serious amateur with excess coinage--might travel to the prime spots for observing these other-worldly phenomenon, staking round-trip plane fare on the odds of decent weather. There were people who flew to Lubbock, TX just to watch this eclipse. I've been to Lubbock, and I can attest that watching an eclipse may be the best reason to visit this west Texas burg. The point is, there are folks who book cruises to be out in the middle of the ocean for events, in order to get the best possible view. That level of dedication for astronomy is out there, my friends.

I don't do all that. Why? Either I lack the time and money, or perhaps I've misplaced life's proper priorities. Or not. At any rate, I am left to troll the web for the best images to share, giving credit where it's due of course.


Milky Way Scientists posted this awe-some time-lapse photo. Like them in Facebook. Follow them on Twitter. And keep looking up! For me, nothing puts a crummy day in perspective so much as realizing that in the Grand Scheme of Things, I am just a tiny, insignificant speck of stardust. It all reminds me of my favorite non-Elvis Costello song.


Ring of Fire

Johnny Cash


Love is a burnin' thing,
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desire 
I fell into a ring of fire.

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher,
And it burns, burn, burns,
The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

The taste of love is sweet
When hearts like ours meet.
I fell for you like a child
Oh, but the fire ran wild.

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher,
And it burns, burn, burns,
The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

I fell into a burnin' ring of fire
I went down, down, down,
And the flames went higher,
And it burns, burn, burns,
The ring of fire, the ring of fire.

The ring of fire