This week needs some restraint

There’s a bunch of stuff going on this week that you should already be absolutely aware of and I could avoid posting entirely, but just in case…

This entire week is the Lyrids meteor shower, peaking around Tuesday but hey, meteor showers aren’t that predictable so if you have the time and the dark, clear skies, go for it at any time (though night is preferred, and 2 AM-ish is what to aim for.) For once, the moon will behave itself and stay very dark, in fact, mostly out of sight entirely because it’s the period of the new moon which places it close to the sun in the sky (from our perspective – this isn’t really noticeable on the moon.) But it helps to get as far away from all other lights as you can, and of course, make sure to remain at least two meters apart from anyone else because that way, if a meteor makes it all the way to the Earth’s surface, it’s most likely to only get one of you.

Earth Day falls on April 22, Wednesday, so make sure you look down at least once during the day and see what you’re standing on, but if you’re one of those wild, irrepressible people, you can go outside and do something earthy. That’s, I dunno, maintaining an elliptical orbit around something, or turning 15.0410686352° per hour, or shifting your magnetic pole around randomly – whatever you feel is the most amusing. Amateurs can go hiking or exploring or plant things or take stupid pictures that nobody wants to see, but yeah, no judgments…

It has apparently gone digital this year, so let’s see, that would be 1111.00001010100000111° per hour, or F.0A83795D134A6D5E12B5 if you prefer – I may well shoot some film that day, just to be perverse. You won’t see any evidence of that here, of course, because the interface is all digital, so you’ll have to come by the house…

And on Friday the 24th, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, or the HST if you’re cool. To celebrate, discard your glasses or contacts for the next 43 months (to simulate the error in the main mirror.) No, I’m being snarky now, since Hubble, I mean, HST, was responsible for a lot of findings even before this error was fixed, and an unprecedented amount since. You can check out the history at this link, and a gallery of photos at this one. You can also see how often I’ve posted about it myself, and some of my favorite findings, with this batch of posts. Meanwhile, we’ll have my own photo of the telescope overhead.

Hubble Space Telescope fake image, actually a model
Damn, this long lens is kicking it, isn’t it? No, I can’t do that to you: this is just a model I have, one of those Metal Earth sculptures, perched on the bird feeder and shot from below at night. I mean, it is the HST overhead, just not the real one.

By the way, a number of sites have featured a page where you can see what HST has photographed on your birthday, which is probably just a way for NASA to harvest your birth date and steal your identity. I did pull up what it photographed on its own anniversary, which wasn’t terribly impressive, so I’m featuring Jupiter’s moon Io against Jupiter itself, one of the few planetary images the telescope has obtained.

Io against Jupiter, by Hubble Space Telescope
Io and its shadow against Jupiter, by Hubble Space Telescope in 1999. Credit: John Spencer (Lowell Observatory) and NASA

And if all that wasn’t enough, I’m fairly certain that tomorrow is a holiday too, but I can’t remember exactly what yet. I should be back in a bit.

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