Archive for Nerd Stuff

Mars in 3D

Mars in 3D

I generally look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day on a daily basis. Last week, I saw this anaglyph taken by the Mars Pathfinder back in 1997. It shows the Martian landscape and some local artifacts in stereoscopic perspective. Sorry, there is no 2D image available without me digging through NASA and JPL archives, so you better get a pair of 3D glasses to enjoy the image in full perspective.

From APOD:

From July of 1997, a ramp from the Pathfinder lander, the Sojourner robot rover, airbags, a couch, Barnacle Bill and Yogi Rock appear together in this 3D stereo view of the surface of Mars. Barnacle Bill is the rock just left of the solar-paneled Sojourner. Yogi is the big friendly-looking boulder at top right. The “couch” is the angular rock shape visible near center on the horizon. Look at the image with red/blue glasses (or just hold a piece of clear red plastic over your left eye and blue or green over your right) to get the dramatic 3D perspective. The stereo view was recorded by the remarkable Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) camera. The IMP had two optical paths for stereo imaging and ranging and was equipped with an array of color filters for spectral analysis.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Hassayampa River in 3D


It’s been quite a while since I posted an anaglyph photo. Verna took an image pair of the riverbed way back in November of 2015 as we crossed the bridge over the Hassayampa River. I combined the images into the 3D anaglyph above. Click on the image to enlarge.

The river is dry above ground most of the year and looks as it does in this image or in its 2D counterpart (at the link in case you don’t have red/cyan glasses). During monsoon season or at other very heavy rainfall periods, this river gets quite full and flows with vigor downstream. This view is looking toward the north and upstream.

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Apollo 12 Crew Visits Lunar Surveyor Spacecraft - 3D

Lunar Anaglyph

Fifty years ago, there were men walking on the moon. This 3D photo of Pete Conrad jiggling the surveyor lunar lander was taken by Alan Bean in two images merged into a red-cyan anaglyph image. Click on the image to enlarge.

Not mentioned in the below Article from APOD was the fact that the astronauts brought back the robotic scoop from the spacecraft which I later saw in a display window in Building 5 at the Hughes Aircraft Facility in Culver City, CA.

This is the blurb from APOD:

Put on your red/blue glasses and gaze across the western Ocean of Storms on the surface of the Moon. The 3D view features Apollo 12 astronaut Pete Conrad visiting the Surveyor 3 spacecraft 50 years ago in November of 1969. Surveyor 3 had landed at the site on the inside slope of a small crater about 2 1/2 years earlier in April of 1967. Visible on the horizon beyond the far crater wall, Apollo 12’s Lunar Module Intrepid touched down less than 200 meters (650 feet) away, easy moonwalking distance from the robotic Surveyor spacecraft. The stereo image was carefully created from two separate pictures (AS12-48-7133, AS12-48-7134) taken on the lunar surface. They depict the scene from only slightly different viewpoints, approximating the separation between human eyes.

Of course, if you don’t yet have your free pair of 3D glasses to view the image above, you can see the 2D version here.

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Clear Skies Over Arizona

Clear Skies Over Arizona

Last week (10/22/2019), I captured this image from one of the GOES weather satellites in geosynchronous orbit above the western hemisphere. GOES East showed this area of the southwestern US which I cropped to highlight Arizona which is centered, more or less, in the image. The image showed the area mostly clear of clouds at that time.

October in our part of Arizona has the in-between hot summer and cooler winter temperatures which are still warm (80-90 degree highs) and we call “Second Spring” because of the flowers we have open this time of year. As I write this post, the late October temperatures have started to drop and soon we will be back in flannel and long pants.

Anyhow, back to the satellite image; you can clearly see the Mogollon Rim which is defined by the darker forested area at its southern side that extends from the New Mexico border on the east and arcs toward the north across the northeastern part of the state and ends in northern Yavapai county in north central Arizona. The two darker forested areas continuing north are the Kaibab National Forest. The gap between the southern dark area and the northern dark area is where the Grand Canyon is located.

Other interesting features visible in the image can also be seen; over in New Mexico toward the right lower side of the image you can see the White Sands area where WW2 Atomic Bombs were tested. On the left side, in California, you can see the Salton Sea. Finally, at the bottom left corner, the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in Mexico is visible.

I look at the satellite images on a regular basis to help me identify our weather patterns. I use them in addition to radar and other tools to get an insight on our weather. You may click on the image to enlarge.

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Breaking In a New Laptop

New Laptop

Both of our computers are getting older and, as a consequence, not able to keep up with the latest things we see online or from our accessories (cameras, etc.) which interface with the computers. We’re used to our current Windoze7© operating system and it will be a little challenge to transition to the W10 version, but we’re proceeding with it. Which brings us to the new laptops; hers is this one shown in the image above and is one we bought a couple of years ago and postponed transitioning to it. But now it’s full steam ahead.

The one shown on the test bed (literally a bed) is a HP 15.6″ Touchscreen 15-g059wm Laptop (AMD Quad-core A8-6410 Processor, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Windows 10 64-bit) and is still available from Amazon Marketplace, although we bought this one at Walmart (whom we no longer patronize after their gutless cave-in on guns and ammo after the El Paso shooting episode). Her computer will be ready to go after I set up some of the fundamental things she needs, i.e. browsing, email, printing recipes, Fecesbook™, etc.

The laptop I ordered will not be here until Saturday, so I will not need to begin transitioning to it until next week, perhaps. The new one is also an HP: 2019 HP 15.6″ FHD IPS Touchscreen Laptop Computer, 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-8250U up to 3.4GHz (Beat i7-7500U), 16GB DDR4, 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD, 802.11ac WiFi, USB 3.1, Bluetooth, HDMI, Windows 10. I ordered it from Amazon. My transition will be a little more involved since I have a large number of applications and several peripherals that Verna’s does not. I will get through all of it in time, I’m sure.

UPDATE 10/22/2019: As of yesterday, Verna’s new laptop system has been fully integrated into her desktop setup with a 22 inch external monitor as a second desktop. The transition was smooth and with few changes to the way she has to do things. The new operating system and the computer should make for faster loading on most applications and websites.

Integrated system

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Helene, a Trojan Moon of Saturn In 3D


Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day featured this interesting 3D image of Helene, one of the planet Saturn’s Trojan moons. From APOD:

Explanation: Get out your red/blue glasses and float next to Helene, small, icy moon of Saturn. Appropriately named, Helene is one of four known Trojan moons, so called because it orbits at a Lagrange point. A Lagrange point is a gravitationally stable position near two massive bodies, in this case Saturn and larger moon Dione. In fact, irregularly shaped ( about 36 by 32 by 30 kilometers) Helene orbits at Dione’s leading Lagrange point while brotherly ice moon Polydeuces follows at Dione’s trailing Lagrange point. The sharp stereo anaglyph was constructed from two Cassini images captured during a close flyby in 2011. It shows part of the Saturn-facing hemisphere of Helene mottled with craters and gully-like features.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Sunset Ripples

Sunset Ripples

When we went out to look at the sunset this evening, Verna took this photo of these rippling altocumulus clouds to the southeast of our house. This is an unusual cloud formation that generally occurs in advance of an approaching storm front. Sure enough, the National Weather Service is forecasting a 40 percent chance of rain tonight.

The clouds are formed when a wave is generated aloft; that is, the air mass is rising and falling in a wave-like motion as it is carried along in the upper atmosphere. The water vapor in the air condenses into droplets or ice crystals when it rises and evaporates again when it comes down below into warmer air.

Regardless of all the nerdy science involved in explaining the phenomenon, it sure is pretty to see up there. Click on the image to enlarge.

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