Monday, August 8, 2011

Second Year of Dragon Fruit and Passion Fruit

Yesterday, I just sitting in my room when my mom suddenly told me to come outside with my camera. I was wondering what it could possibly be, so I went. It turned out that the dragon fruit flowers had begun to open. I was excited since these flowers typically open for one day during the evening to dawn, so I was lucky to be able to see it again. They were beautiful. This year, we are lucky to have nine dragon fruits. Last year, we only had a couple dragon fruits as you remember from this post.

While I am on the subject of the garden, remember this passion fruit tree?

Well, it had to be cut in half. It was really dirty work.

It was cut because of these white things on the branches, and it was becoming a mess. My parents think that the ants created it. It gives me the shivers.

But don't worry. It was only on one side of the tree, and it is all gone now. The fruit is still fine.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Astronomy 1 - 2

As you might remember from this post, I enjoy stargazing from time to time. I typically don't have time during the school year, so I don't usually do it until the summer. The skies are usually clearer at this time of year anyways. Recently, I have gone out a few times, and I have been keeping a record of what I have been seeing. I have made a lot of progress since last summer. I am finally able to identify some constellations. I am hoping that my new star chart will help me the next time I go out to stargaze. Here is the record of the last couple of times:

Friday, June 24, 2011
Tonight was a cool night. My session began at 9:00 pm. I have spotted the Big Dipper and Arcturus. After this point, I had a difficult time finding what I was looking at. I wish it could have been darker. I had spent about forty-five minutes out there when a possum came out of a tree and began walking along the fence. I had been hearing noises for the past five minutes thinking it was nothing, but I was wrong. I got scared, ran inside, and decided to call it a night. Well, at least got to see how effective my star chart was and was able to identify a few constellations.

Saturday, July 16, 2011
Tonight was a bit chilly with a few bugs around. For once, my attempt at locating constellations and stars was successful. I was able to see the Big Dipper, the Summer Triangle, and Bootes. I was only able to view parts of the Little Dipper and Draco because it was difficult to see the fainter stars. My attempts at finding Pluto tonight were unsuccessful, but I believe that it was hidden under the horizon. Today, there was a mostly full moon since it is the day after the full moon. The southern horizon seems foreign to me. I was unable to identify anything there. Overall, I believe that I am beginning to get the hang of this. Perhaps with more practice, I will get better. I will be out again soon, but perhaps less paranoid about strange things in the dark next time.

As you can probably see, I am still trying to find my way around the sky, and I am paranoid that another possum will come out of the trees. However, I am not going to let that stop me. 

Griffith Observatory

Yesterday, my sister and her friend took me to the Griffith Observatory. It was really exciting since I enjoy looking up at the stars, and I had been looking forward to going here for a while. When we arrived, we parked somewhere on the hill, not too far from the observatory. It was quite crowded at the observatory today.

As we walked up to the observatory, we saw a fantastic view.

We are finally at Griffith Observatory! Hooray!

Before we entered the building, we looked at a few of the things outside such as this statue of scientists who contributed to astronomy like Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo.

We also saw this sundial in front of the statue that actually told the accurate time.

This was also interesting.

After examining the stuff outside, we proceeded inside the building. Many of the things inside were really cool such as this Tesla Coil which produced lightning.

There were also other displays that explained how telescopes work. Some telescopes refract light, while others reflect light (This is the type of telescope that I own which uses mirrors and a lens to enlarge the image. This allows people to observe fainter objects in space.)

This is a model of the observatory and telescope. It was there to show people how the actual telescope works.

Then, we went to the other side of the observatory to see some more displays. This one explained how people studied the sun. We actually got to look through the spectrohelioscope and were able to see the solar flare.

Look, it's the periodic table of elements. Hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen...... Hmm.....where was I again? Oh right, the periodic table of elements. This table had samples of each of the elements in the boxes. There were also buttons you could push that would show what some things were composed of such as stars and humans.

Don't forget Lanthanum! This was the element that I had to do a project on in science class.

Next, we went downstairs to look at some more displays. Here's a large 269-pound iron meteorite. For some reason, my sister is afraid that one is suddenly just going to crash down from the sky and hit her even though the likelihood of that happening isn't great. Though if it did happen, she wouldn't be the first person to be hit by a meteor.

Wow! This is a large replica of the moon and next to it is an actual moon rock.

Hmm.... I wonder what my weight on Mars would be. Let's see.... I am much lighter on Mars than Earth.

After all that walking around, we got hungry, so we went to The Cafe at the End of the Universe. We shared some nachos, a cookie brownie, Silk.... Well, you can see it for yourself.

We also went to the Stellar Emporium Gift Shop. It had all sorts of neat gadgets such as a gyroscope. However, I ended up getting a Planisphere which is a star chart which you are supposedly going to be able to use until 2020.

When we finished looking around at all those gadgets, it was time for the show. We attended this show called Centered in the Universe at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. It was so cool. It reminded me of the nights that I went outside to stargaze except a lot more comfortable. It was all about the universe It also showed us a brief history of astronomy, how there are many galaxies, and that the universe is enormous. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Well, it looks like the sun is beginning to set. Let's take a look at Los Angeles.

Next, we went to look through the large Zeiss refracting telescope. Tonight, the telescope was directed at Saturn. We were able to see it's rings and color. It was as the person there said "butterscotch yellow". I was glad to be able to see this since I had been looking for it outside every night that I had gone out to stargaze.

I had a fun time at the observatory, and I am glad that there is one located here even in midst of the city.