Friday, December 21, 2012
Maybe not as far off as the Mayan "end of days" prediction, but the forecast for a foot or more of snow for Cedar Rapids, Iowa did not materialize following a large winter storm that passed through the area on Thursday, December 20, 2012. Although more than a foot of the white stuff fell in Central Iowa, only about seven inches came down in the scene from the top image here, along Brentwood Drive NE, just about .1-mile south of Boyson Road. The image, shot around 5:55 PM CDT, looks south as clouds overhead begin to break up. Temperature was 25 degrees F, from a daytime high of 31 degrees, and winds were gusting from 20-30 mph. The storm's snow, ice and wind did sag branches and power lines, cutting power in some places. The bottom image shows a corresponding Quad Cities NWS radar capture from that moment, with the bulk of the storm already in Illinois. The top image is a 1.4-second exposure at f/3.5, 400 ISO and 18mm focal length.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
This image is a composite of ten separate meteor streaks. The event was the peak of the Geminids meteor shower on the night of Thursday, December 13--Friday, December 14, 2012. The first capture (the brightest and longest streak at right center) occurred at 11:13 PM, December 13 and the last around 12:10 AM on December 14. This meteor shower was the most active I have personally witnessed in several years as I counted about 17 very bright meteors and many more dim ones in an hour's time. The temperature this night for this time of year was ideal--around 30 degrees F. Then image looks east from Bowman Woods Park in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Each exposure was 27 seconds at f/3.5, 400 ISO and 18mm focal length. The radiant for the meteors is seen at top--the constellation Gemini. A portion of Orion is at upper right and the -1.47 magnitude star Sirius is at lower right. Unfortunately for me, the best meteor of the night began from just left of the tree and moved left (north), a long-track very bright streak.
Monday, December 10, 2012
It was my first NFL game ever. And (of course) it was the worst traveling day of late 2012. My daughter and I took part in a KHAK Radio promotional deal to attend the Minnesota Vikings/Chicago Bears football game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday, December 9, 2012. This was my Christmas present from her. The cost included bus fare, an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet before the game and two tickets to the contest. Our bus driver steered us skillfully from Iowa into Minnesota, where it soon began to snow heavily. In the top image, daughter Holly poses in falling snow outside the Metrodome at the corner of Chicago Avenue and South 6th Street, 45 minutes before game time. The bottom image, which includes our parked Windstar bus at left, looks southeast from just outside Hubert's Sports Bar & Grill at 6th Street N and North 1st Avenue. A total of 10.5 inches of snow would fall this day in the Minneapolis area. This Christmas present from my daughter was a good one as the Vikings defeated the Bears in the game, 21-14. A safe return home actually made the abundance of snow an enhancement of the experience.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Silhouetted tree branches in the foreground did nothing to diminish the glow of the -2.83 magnitude planet Jupiter (upper left) as it was rising in the eastern sky just before 8:30 PM on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. This image, a five second exposure at f/1.8, 1600 ISO and 35mm focal length, was captured from alongside the Boyson Park nature trail in western Marion, Iowa about a quarter mile south of Boyson Road and near the border of Cedar Rapids. Right of Jupiter is the constellation Taurus (The Bull), dominated by its brightest star Aldebaran (5 o'clock position from Jupiter). The giant planet reached opposition the night before. Opposition is when Jupiter is closest to Earth and when it rises as the sun sets and sets as the sun rises. Jupiter is currently closest to Earth than it will be again until 2021.