Captivating Comet

 

“Science is an ongoing process. It never ends.
There is no single ultimate truth to be achieved,
after which all the scientists can retire.”
Carl Sagan

 

NEOWISE Comet

NEOWISE Comet from Mt. Hood, Oregon by Daniel Springer –  July 2020

A few weeks back, a good friend asked if I had the opportunity to photograph the comet, NEOWISE in the skies over Redondo Beach. Unfortunately, because of overcast evening skies, I have not been able to get a good photo of the comet. However, I still have time since the comet will be visible through mid-August.

This fairly large, 3 mile across comet was first spotted by The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on March 27th. NEOWISE is named after the JPL space telescope used to first discover the comet, the Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer aka NEOWISE. To learn more about the NEOWISE JPL Mission visit, https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/neowise/

The newly discovered comet might become known as the Great Comet of 2020 because it won’t be returning to our neck of the world for another 6,800 years. Why? Because, that’s how many years it takes this comet to complete its journey around the sun. It’s also one of the few comets visible without the use of a telescope or even binoculars. According to JPL, NEOWISE is the brightest comet since Comet Hale-Bopp visited us in 1997.

Joseph Masiero, NEOWISE deputy principal investigator at JPL, said in a recent interview that, “. . . by combining the infrared data with visible-light images, we can tell that the comet’s nucleus is covered with sooty, dark particles left over from its formation near the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.”

If you’re interested in capturing a beautiful photograph like the one my friend’s son Daniel took at Mt. Hood in Oregon, start looking up at the sky about one hour after sunset. According to the Sky & Telescope magazine, you’ll find the comet just over the northwest horizon as the last of twilight fades into darkness. Look about three fists below the bowl of the Big Dipper. The comet has also been getting brighter and brighter in the early morning sky as well.

Good luck my fellow Blogaholics in photographing or just experiencing this captivating comet.

Shine On

Exceptional Eggs

“The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg,
not by smashing it.”
Arnold H. Glasow

Exceptional Eggs

Everyone has heard the old famous question; What came first the chicken or the egg? Well, scientists say the egg came first about 340 million years ago while the chicken evolved about 58 thousand years ago.

Scientific records show that fowl were domesticated and laying eggs for human consumption since the 14th century. There is also archaeological evidence dating back to the Neolithic age for egg consumption. In North America, the first domesticated fowl arrived with the second voyage of Columbus in 1493.

Just a little over 100 years ago most people with farmland had chickens and the majority of these chickens were kept in a henhouse. So how did we go from gathering a few eggs on a farm to shipping millions of eggs across the country every day?

Exceptional Eggs

James Ashley’s Egg Case Maker circa 1900

In the late 19th and early 20th century, families leaving the farm for the city couldn’t take the chickens with them, so they had to rely on markets in the city to get their eggs. With the demand for fresh eggs, an innovative Civil War veteran, James Ashley developed a crate for eggs that allowed eggs to be mass marketed.

Ashley first patented his egg case maker in 1896 and received additional patents for improvements to the machine in 1902 and 1925. Farmers could then put their logo stamp on the outside of the crate and ship them off on the rails to major cities. Today, egg farmers are still using Ashley crates to get their eggs to grocery stores.

There are different types of eggs available at your local grocery stores, such as pasteurized, farm fresh free range, and organic type eggs. Pasteurized eggs means they have been treated to destroy any bacteria on the egg so it has a longer shelf life but they must be refrigerated. Farm fresh eggs come from chickens that are free range and eat non-GMO feed, mostly small bugs. Organic means these eggs aren’t from free range chickens but may have been fed non-GMO feed.  You do not have to refrigerate your farm fresh organic eggs because they have a shelf life of over a month.

Eggs have about 7 grams of protein per egg. An individual needs about 40 grams of protein a day. So, eggs are an excellent source and inexpensive way to get your daily protein.

I’m a fan of farm fresh eggs and it is one of my main source of protein. I’ve noticed if I buy grocery store eggs, they’re just not as agreeable with my digestive system. That’s why I buy farm fresh organic eggs that I get at the local farmers market, which in my opinion are exceptional eggs.

Shine On

The Wizard of Botany

“It is well for people who think,
to change their minds occasionally
in order to keep them clean.”
Luther Burbank

The Wizard of Botany

Luther Burbank and his dog Bonita circa 1925

 

I bet when you hear the word French fry, you associate it with the French or the Belgium who actually invented this recipe. But there’s one man you would never in a million years have guessed was responsible for the modern French fry. That man was Luther Burbank, a famous American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science. He created a disease resistant potato named the Russet Burbank potato which is the main source of McDonald’s French fries and most all French fry fast food.

Burbank made it his life‘s work to create new varieties of plants, ranging from flowers, fruits and even cacti. He is credited with creating over 800 new varieties of plants and received 16 plant patents.

He was one of the first botanist to cross pollinate fruits and flowers spending decades perfecting this cross pollination. For example, he cross pollinated plums and apricots to get the plumcot as well as cross pollinated four different types of daisies and spent 17 years to create the Shasta Daisy.

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy

Not only a talented botanist admired for his work but also admired for his generosity and kind spirit. He was very interested in education and gave money to local schools. One US Senator stated, “he is doing more to instruct, interest, and make popular the work in the garden than any man of his generation.”

At seventy-seven years old, Burbank said: “I love humanity, which has been a constant delight to me during all my life; I love flowers, trees, animals, and all the works of Nature as they pass before us in time and space. What a joy life is when you have made a close working partnership with Nature, helping her to produce for the benefit of mankind new forms, colors, and perfumes in flowers which were never known before; fruits in form, size, and flavor never before seen on this globe; and grains of enormously increased productiveness, whose fat kernels are filled with more and better nourishment, a veritable storehouse of perfect food—new food for all the world’s untold millions for all time to come.”

Today, most people when they hear the name Luther Burbank might associate the name with the town of Burbank, California. However, that city was named after David Burbank, a New Hampshire born dentist and entrepreneur who established a sheep ranch there in 1867.

Burbank became world famous in the early 1970s, by Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show daily monologue jokes poking fun of the town where the tonight show was filmed, “Beautiful Downtown Burbank.”

Every single day we encounter something that Luther Burbank created because he was truly the wizard of botany.

Shine On