Saturday, March 07, 2009


I have been on an astronomy kick lately. It is not an area I am really that knowledgeable about, but it is something I come back to once in a while. I downloaded the planetarium program called Stellarium from It is a really cool program and not too hard to figure out. Last week I went outside and encountered Venus right next to the Moon. It was really cool. Here is a bit of a zoom in:

I watched the Kepler Telescope launch last night online. The mission is to find out if there are earth-sized planets out there. It will be fun to find out what the telescope shows us in the next six months. I remember when I was kid in school and with friends there was this idea that since our sun is just another star there should be all sorts of "earth" planets out there. This has really changed over the years with the Rare Earth Hypothesis. Now scientists and other thinkers are not totally convinced we will find any other earth planets.


"It very possibly could tell us that Earths are very, very common, that we have lots of neighbors out there, or it could tell us that Earths are really, really, really rare," Weiler said at a press conference.

"Perhaps we're the only Earth. I think that would be a very bad answer because I, for one, don't want to live in an empty universe where we're the best there is. That's a scary thought to many of us."

Kepler will be scouting for Earth-size planets circling stars in the so-called habitable or Goldilocks zone. That's where planets are neither too close nor too far from their star, and where conditions could be ripe for liquid water on the surface. "Planets that are not too hot, not too cold, but just right," according to Boruki.

On another note one of my local hikes I do is in Chino Hills State Park. I usually do this hour up and hour back hike to the top of San Juan Hill. Honestly, this hike and a few other hikes I do locally are not that impressive compared to others I do so I really don't post them. I thought I would show a few pictures of this hike this time since it just opened up recently after the big fire that torched the park in November. 95% of the park was torched. With the recent rains the area looks very impressive.
Very green! Usually when I go through here it is very brown and not fun to look at. You can see some brown in this picture. There were some areas that still had the burned over look. The high point in the distance below is San Juan Hill. The only interesting thing at the top is a pylon marker that says it was made in 1896.This shows how quickly nature can recover. This area had looked very bad for about 2 months from down below looking up at it. A few rains and things started to change fast.