Saturday, September 29, 2012

After 10 Years, PAT FINALLY Builds Walkway to Wilkinsburg Station

In February of 1983, the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT), Pittsburgh's public transit agency, opened its second busway (of three, today): the Martin Luther King, Jr. East Busway, running 6.6 miles from Penn Station in Downtown Pittsburgh, paralleling the former Pennsylvania Railroad main line, to a terminus near the former Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Wilkinsburg, at a cost of $115 million. More than 20 years later, on 2003 June 15, PAT opened a 2.3-mile extension of this busway to Swissvale, at a cost of $68.8 million.

Part of the East Busway extension project was to relocate and build a new Wilkinsburg Station, adjacent to a large park-and-ride lot. The new station was built at a site just north of the original station site, on the north side of an existing bus layover area. This allowed the large park-and-ride lot to be constructed on a former rail yard.

The original Wilkinsburg Busway Station was located on a bridge spanning Penn Avenue, as the street entered the Wilkinsburg business district. This site was close to Wilkinsburg's original Pennsylvania Railroad Station, which provided commuter rail service into Pittsburgh decades earlier.

As part of the construction of the original Wilkinsburg Busway Station was a large staircase, and a long wheelchair ramp stretching from near the railroad station to the new inbound platform of the busway station. Additionally, PAT rehabilitated the original railroad station pedestrian tunnel, from the railroad station to Pennwood Avenue, for use by pedestrians and busway users. This pedestrian tunnel has now been closed for several years.

With the relocation of the Wilkinsburg Busway Station in 2003, PAT decided NOT to provide pedestrian access from the original inbound station platform to the new inbound station platform, even though a simple sidewalk connecting the two sites was all that was needed. As this sidewalk would need to run along a bus layover area, PAT officials felt that pedestrians crossing two entrances to this bus layover area was too dangerous.

Long-time public transit advocate Glenn A. Walsh disagreed, arguing that requiring pedestrians to cross busy Penn Avenue at-grade (and, people would often cross away from a legal cross-walk, as there was no legal cross-walk close to the new station site) was much more dangerous. Further, the long wheelchair ramp, which existed at the original station site, could provide the disabled with easy, and much safer, access to the new station site; otherwise that long and costly wheelchair ramp would be practically useless.

Mr. Walsh argued his case before the PAT Board's Engineering and Construction Committee in 2002. PAT officials were not swayed to Mr. Walsh's point-of-view. Finally, Mr. Walsh addressed the entire Port Authority Board on this issue on 2003 January 24:

Copy of 2003 Public Statement >>> http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit/pat/statements/ST-2003-Wilkinsburgwalkway-web.html

Even after this second attempt to change Port Authority policy, nothing changed. This was despite the fact that Wilkinsburg Borough Council had approved a resolution, unanimously, supporting Mr. Walsh's position!

So, Mr. Walsh was quite surprised when he visited Wilkinsburg in August of 2012 and found that this walkway had finally been built!

Yesterday, at the 2012 September regular monthly meeting of the Port Authority Board of Directors, Mr. Walsh delivered the following statement:

Statement before                                           Glenn A. Walsh
Board of Directors,                                        P.O. Box 1041
Port Authority of                                             Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.
Allegheny County:                                         Telephone: 412-561-7876
Wilkinsburg Station                                        Electronic Mail: < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
Walkway                                                            Web Site: < http://www.planetarium.cc >
2012 September 28                                         Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com >

Good morning. I am Glenn A. Walsh, 633 Royce Avenue, Mt. Lebanon, a regular Light Rail and bus rider who has chosen not to drive a motor vehicle since 1985, to help save energy, protect the environment, and reduce city traffic congestion. I have been an active transit advocate for more than 30 years, including 3 terms on the Allegheny County Transit Council as a Charter Member. Today, the views expressed by me are my own and do not reflect those of any organization.

In 2003, I addressed the Port Authority Board asking that a walkway be built to the new Wilkinsburg Station from the original inbound station platform


This would provide a seamless walk for Wilkinsburg residents coming from the south side of Penn Avenue, and a wheelchair ramp from Wilkinsburg's Pennsylvania Railroad Station would allow the disabled to reach the new station without crossing busy Penn Avenue at-grade. And, my request was supported, unanimously, by Wilkinsburg Borough Council!

PAT officials refused to consider such a walkway, stating that pedestrians crossing the bus layover area would be in danger. Yet, they did not consider the danger of pedestrians crossing busy Penn Avenue at-grade, often away from a legal cross-walk, since any pedestrian accidents on Penn Avenue would not affect PAT's legal liability!

Well, I do not get to Wilkinsburg often, but I was there last month. And, to my surprise, the walkway I wanted to have built, which PAT refused to build, has now been built! I do not understand why it took the Port Authority nearly a decade to understand the value of this walkway to the residents of Wilkinsburg, but I guess better-late-than-never! So, I want to thank the Port Autority for finally building this needed walkway.

By the way, a large sign at the Hay Street Stop indicates that there is no pedestrian access to the Wilkinsburg Station. This sign needs to be replaced with a sign indicating that there now is pedestrian access to the Wilkinsburg Station!

Thank you.

gaw

Attachment: Public Statement Before Port Authority of Allegheny County Board of Directors: “Enhanced Pedestrian Access to New Wilkinsburg Busway Station.” 2003 January 24:

Large-Print Version of 2012 Public Statement:
>>> http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit/pat/statements/ST-2012-WilkinsburgwalkwayLP-web.html

Related Blog Post --

FINALLY New Walkway to Wilkinsburg Station - Statement Before Council of the Borough of Wikinsburg PA (2012 October 11):

Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/10/finally-new-walkway-to-wilkinsburg.html 


gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
< http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
< http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
< http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
< http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
< http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
< http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
< http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mars Rover Laser Spectroscopy to be Improved at Pitt

Pitt researcher hopes to improve NASA's Mars Rover



About Bobby Kerlik
Tribune-Review Staff reporter Bobby Kerlik can be reached via e-mail or at 412-320-7886.

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By Bobby Kerlik

Published: Friday, September 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.Updated 3 hours ago

Instrument location diagram of the Mars Curiosity Rover
(Sources: NASA, Wikipedia.org)

A University of Pittsburgh researcher plans to use a $1.12 million grant to improve the type of laser technology used on NASA’s Mars Rover.
 
The method, called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, or LIBS, also can be helpful to the Department of Homeland Security, said Kevin Chen, co-principal investigator of the study.
 
“For example, radioactive material, you can use the laser to peel back layers of soil if it’s underneath. Or if you want to inspect a certain site where people developed chemical weapons, this would be the way to detect that,” said Chen, 38, who teaches electrical engineering at Pitt. “It can also be useful in mining or with environmental pollution, if you want to detect that.”

More - Link >>> http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/2681606-74/laser-mars-chen-rover-technology-defense-department-detect-grant-improve#axzz27mz4VjSV

Source: Pittsbugh Tribune-Review.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
< http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
< http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
< http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
< http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
< http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
< http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
< http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Buddhist Statue Acquired by Nazis is Space Rock

11:16 27 September 2012 by Colin Barras 

A deity from the cosmos <i>(Image: Elmar Buchner)</i>
A deity from the cosmos (Image: Elmar Buchner)

One religious statue has a stronger connection than most to the heavens. An 11th-century carving from Mongolia of the Buddhist god Vaiƛravana was fashioned from a meteorite fragment, a chemical analysis shows. Its extraterrestrial origins make it unique in both religious art and meteorite science.

The iron-rich statue, 24 centimetres tall, has had a colourful past. It was apparently brought to Germany in 1939 by a Nazi-backed archaeological expedition to search for the roots of Aryanism.

A swastika on the armoured Buddha's breastplate may have been a motivating factor in bringing the statue to Germany. The swastika is a common symbol in eastern culture and decorates many Hindu and Buddhist statues – although the version on the statue is a mirror image of the form favoured by the Nazis.

More - Link >>> http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22311-buddhist-statue-acquired-by-nazis-is-space-rock.html

Source: New Scientist Magazine.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Ancient Mars Streambed Found by Curiosity Rover

Sept. 27, 2012: NASA's Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence -- images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels -- is the first of its kind.

"From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep," said Curiosity science co-investigator William Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley. "Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them. This is the first time we're actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it."
Martian Streambed (splash)
NASA's Curiosity rover found evidence for an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here, which the science team has named "Hottah" after Hottah Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/27sep_streambed/

Source: NASA Science News.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Next-Generation Space Plane Sought by USAF

US Military Wants Space Planes, Reusable Rockets

26 September 2012 03:10 PM ET
X37-B Space Plane
Technicians inspect the military X37-B space plane after its June 2012 landing, which completed the vehicle's second trip to orbit.
CREDIT: USAF/Boeing

Shrinking space budgets don't stop the U.S. military from dreaming about space planes or rockets capable of flying back and landing on their own.

Reusable launch vehicles capable of soaring into space and returning by flying through Earth's atmosphere like airplanes could potentially save millions on expensive launches that typically cost thousands of dollars per pound — especially if they fly frequently. But U.S. military officers and researchers acknowledged the challenge of pushing for next-generation space vehicles during a time of budget cuts.

"Money is tight, and we have to make tough decisions on where to invest money," said Col. Scott Patton from Air Force Space Command. "In the long term, we need full spectrum launch capability at dramatically lower cost."

The U.S. government spent tens of millions of dollars on space plane programs in past decades — not to mention the $3 billion National Aero-Space Plane project — but most never got off the ground before cancellation. Such half steps need to change if the U.S. hopes to create a launch vehicle that can truly revolutionize launch costs, Air Force researchers said.

More - Link >>> http://www.technewsdaily.com/6262-military-space-planes-reusable-rockets.html

Source: TechNewsDaily.com .

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Auction: 125 Meteorites incl. Moon Rock

September 27, 2012 at 9:17 am

Auction offers 125 meteorites for sale


A naturally sculpted Gibeon iron meteorite discovered by indigenous tribesmen in Namibia with a metal detector.
A large chunk of the moon that will be auctioned in New York next month.
(Image Source: The Associated Press)

New York — A New York City auction will offer 125 meteorites for sale, including a large chunk of the moon and a 179-pound iron cosmic rock that evokes Edvard Munch's iconic painting "The Scream."

The sale, one of the largest of its kind, is being held by the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions on Oct. 14.

The sale also includes a large piece of the Peekskill meteorite, famous for puncturing a Chevy Malibu in 1992 about 50 miles north of Manhattan, and the largest complete slice of the most famous meteorite in the world, the Willamette, a huge specimen that is housed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Sources: Associated Press, The Detroit News, New York Post.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Monday, September 24, 2012

Print Your Own Laser?

Laser Beams Shoot from Printer

Analysis by Lori Cuthbert
Sat Sep 22, 2012 01:31 PM ET
Printable-lasers-622
Lasers are everywhere -- in DVD players, fiber optic communications and even displays. They are so useful it would be great if they were flexible and easy to make, but that hasn't been the case, until now.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. have developed a way to print lasers on a variety of surfaces, using a printer not too far removed from the one on an average desktop.

The team, led by D. J. Gardiner of the Center for Molecular Materials for Photonics, used liquid crystals similar to those used in liquid crystal displays. With the right kind of stimulation, the molecules in liquid crystals emit laser light.

More - Link >>> http://news.discovery.com/tech/laser-beams-shoot-from-printer-120922.html

Sources: University of Cambridge, Journal Soft Matter, Discovery Channel News.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

What Would a Starship Actually Look Like?

Science fiction likes to imagine interstellar vehicles as sleek, aerodynamic ships. But there’s no air in space, and voyaging to the stars will require something that looks much different than an oversized jet.

Concept by Project Icarus
September 20, 2012 6:30 AM

Imagine a starship—a vessel capable of ferrying human beings from one solar system to another. Would it have wings and a cockpit? Or would it look like an aircraft carrier hauled out into the void and fitted with flame-belching rockets and glowing ion drives?

Science fiction has offered us all sorts of visions of interstellar spacecraft, from avian-inspired Klingon birds of prey to hulking masses such as the Borg cube. In general, sci-fi leans toward sleek designs with lines borrowed from planes or cars, since those are the kinds of looks we’ve been conditioned to think of as "fast." But if there’s no air in space, why make things aerodynamic? Does it matter what a spacecraft looks like?

Yes, it turns out, and it depends upon what kind of space travel you’re looking to undertake. The reality of starship design is more complex than anything Hollywood has dreamed up and implanted in our collective unconsciousness.

While a manned interstellar mission isn’t exactly on NASA’s upcoming schedule, researchers haven’t abandoned the topic to science fiction. In fact, the 100 Year Starship initiative—which began as a DARPA-funded contest to lay the foundations for a flight across the stars, gathering physicists, entrepreneurs, and anyone seriously interested in long-distance space travel—just finished its annual symposium this past weekend.

 

Source: Popular Mechanics Magazine.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mars Rover To Examine Pyramid-Shaped Boulder

Mars Rock: Curiosity Rover To Examine Pyramid-Shaped Boulder, NASA Says

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: Updated: 09/23/2012 10:05 am EDT
Curiosity's robotic arm is set to get its first workout. It's been tasked with examining a football-sized rock whose odd pyramidal shape caught the eyes of NASA scientists--and fueled the imagination of earthlings everywhere who are perhaps a tad too eager for the rover to find evidence of intelligent life on the Red Planet.

"The target rock looks like a miniature Great Pyramid of Giza, with one face artisans neglected to maintain," noted The Christian Science Monitor. "It is not something you would expect to see on the surface of Mars," wrote the Daily Mail.

Turns out there is a straightforward explanation for the rock. Project scientist John Grotzinger told The Independent that the pyramid rock shape is not uncommon on Mars. Wind erosion probably did the carving.

More - Link >>> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/23/mars-rock-curiosity-rover-pyramid-boulder_n_1904085.html

Sources: Huffington Post, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Commercial Spaceport Competition Heats-Up


September 22, 2012 2:16 PM

N.M. spaceport is built - but who will come?

The hangar facility at Spaceport America, northeast of Truth or Consequences, N.M., is seen in this October 17, 2011 file photo. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(AP) TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. - New Mexico Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson says it will be New Mexico's Sydney Opera House. Virgin Galactic Chairman Richard Branson has hinted it will host the first of his new brand of lifestyle hotels. And the eclectic hot springs town of Truth or Consequences has been anxiously awaiting all the economic development the nearly quarter-of-a-billion-dollar project is supposed to bring to this largely rural part of southern New Mexico.
But as phase one of Spaceport America, the world's first commercial port built specifically for sending tourists and payloads into space, is nearing completion, the only new hotel project that has been finalized is a Holiday Inn Express here in Truth or Consequences, about 25 miles away. And three key companies with millions of dollars in payroll have passed on developing operations in the state.
The lagging development, along with competition from heavy hitters like Florida and Texas, is raising new questions about the viability of the $209 billion taxpayer-funded project — as well as the rush by so many states to grab a piece of the commercial spaceport pie. To date, nine spaceports are planned around the United States, mostly at existing airports, and another 10 have been proposed, according to a recent report from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

More - :Link >>> http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57518355/n.m-spaceport-is-built-but-who-will-come/

Sources: Associated Press, CBS News.

Florida wants NASA land to develop commercial spaceport


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida | Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:29pm EDT
 
(Reuters) - With an eye toward developing a commercial spaceport, Florida has asked NASA to transfer 150 acres of land north of the shuttle launch pads and the shuttle runway to Space Florida, the state's aerospace development agency.
"Florida believes that the properties identified in this request are excess to the needs of the U.S. government," Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, who is also chairwoman of Space Florida, wrote in letter to NASA chief Charles Bolden and Ray LaHood, secretary of Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial space transportation in the United States.
The letter, dated September 20, was posted on the state's Sunburst public records website.


More - Link >>> http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/23/us-usa-spaceport-florida-idUSBRE88M0E220120923

Source: Reuters.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chimney Rock Ancient Moon Observatory: New National Monument


Chimney Rock Becomes Newest National Monument

A large sandstone feature in southwestern Colorado, Chimney Rock became America's newest national monument on Friday.
Enlarge iStockphoto.com  A large sandstone feature in southwestern Colorado, Chimney Rock became America's newest national monument on Friday.

September 21, 2012
 
President Obama named a new national monument on Friday: Chimney Rock in southwestern Colorado. With two sandstone spires soaring from a mesa, not only is Chimney Rock a spectacular place; it also provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient people who lived in that region more than 1,000 years ago.
The moon usually rises south of the stone towers at Chimney Rock, but every 18 or 19 years, the moon rises directly between the two huge pillars. This feature seems to have been especially important to a society known as the ancestral Pueblo people. They built their largest building — what archaeologists call their "great house" — to have a perfect view of this astronomical wonder.
Archaeologist Steve Lekson says that this great house is actually still standing at Chimney Rock, and it is a remarkable sight. "The location is just stunning," he says. "And then they architecturally positioned themselves on that ridge out near those two huge pillars to make that thing really impressive."

More - Link >>> http://www.npr.org/2012/09/21/161583836/chimney-rock-becomes-newest-national-monument

Source: National Public Radio.

Chimney Rock Archeological Area official web site -
Link >>> http://www.chimneyrockco.org/

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

TONIGHT: International Observe the Moon Night

Look Up! International Observe the Moon Night Rises Tonight

Date: 22 September 2012 Time: 05:09 PM ET
Moon and Jupiter Seen in Long Beach, CA
Astrophotographer Jim "Woody" Woods sent in this photo of the moon and Jupiter he took at about 1 am, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012 from his backyard in Long Beach, CA.
CREDIT: Jim "Woody" Woods
The moon will take center stage for stargazers in the around the world tonight (Sept. 22) during International Observe the Moon Night to share the beauty of Earth's nearest neighbor with the public.
Many moon-watching events are planned around the world tonight, with NASA and Canadian astronomers aren't missing out. NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and Western University in Ontario, Canada, will hold special events to share methods on how to observe the moon with the public, as well as interesting moon facts and history.
Tonight, the moon will appear half-full in what is known as the first quarter moon, making it a prime target for amateur astronomers and casual night sky observers.

More: http://www.space.com/17726-observe-the-moon-night-sky-saturday.html


Source: Space.com .

International Observe the Moon Night official web site: http://observethemoonnight.org/

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Friday, September 21, 2012

Science of Autumn Equinox - Sat. 10:49 a.m. EDT

EarthSky // Tonight // Astronomy Essentials Deborah Byrd Sep 16, 2012



Everything you need to know: September equinox 2012


Happy equinox to all! The 2012 September equinox will arrive later this week, at 9:49 a.m. CDT (14:49 Universal Time) on September 22.

The 2012 September equinox comes on September 22, at 9:49 a.m. CDT (14:49 Universal Time).
Translate to your time zone.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising later now, and nightfall comes sooner. The time of the autumn equinox is here, when the days are getting shorter, and day and night are approximately equal in length.

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the cooler days of autumn even as preparations for winter are underway. South of the equator, spring begins.

More: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-autumnal-equinox-of-2012

Source: EarthSky.org .

Eggs Can be Stood Upright, Every Day of the Year, NOT Just on the Day of an Equinox
>>> http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/Egg.html 

Source: Wolfram Research.

Autumnal Equinox -- More information:

>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn

>>> http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/astronomy/AutumnalEquinox.html

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

Some Science Research Ends for Lack of Helium

Balloon Payment 

Without helium, the party will really be over

greensmall_38.jpg
If oil disappeared tomorrow, civilization would halt. That's not news. But a host of unheralded substances also underpin society as we know it.

One of them is helium. The lighter-than-air element was in the news recently after shortages hit the party-balloon business.

When it's not levitating blimps, helium liquefies at the lowest temperatures of any element. Because it effectively never freezes, it's crucial for cryogenic tasks like cooling the superconducting magnets in MRI machines — a use that by itself accounts for 20 percent of U.S. helium consumption. Other uses include: arc welding; pressurizing and purging fuel tanks for NASA and the military; and manufacturing semiconductors and optical fiber.

Shortages haven't hit those fields yet. But another small-scale use has been affected: basic scientific research. "A lot of labs have not been able to get their liquid helium," says Penn State physics professor Moses H. Chan. "Some people have [had] to stop the research."

More: http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/balloon-payment/Content?oid=1567230

Source: Pittsburgh City Paper.

Related Blog Post:

Helium Shortage Affects Science, Industry, & Public (2012 May 22)

>>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2012/05/helium-shortage-affects-industry-public.html


gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
  < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >