Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bonaire Panoramas

Bill Heatley just sent me a link to a super cool Web site. It has 360 degree panoramic images of all sorts of Bonaire locations and sites. I've only looked at a couple of them but will be back to check out more as time permits.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BBBJ featured in Smithstonian article

Snndra's cousin, Bud Gillan, has just tipped me off that there is an article about the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish on the Smithstonian Web site.

Tuesday Green Flash and Planetary Parade

The sun looked pretty nice as I finished my after work bike ride today, (Tuesday) so Sandra and I hopped in the car and drove to where we could see the sun drop below the horizon. The sun almost set over a cruise ship, which would have been cool. We saw a great green flash, I'd say that on scale of one to ten, it was a ten.
Then as the sky began to darken, Jupiter and Mercury put on a nice display. If you live to the west of Bonaire and you read this soon enough, head outside after sunset and you'll see Mercury a little below and to the right of Jupiter. They are pretty close together tonight.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bonaire Vortex

You've probably heard of the Bermuda Triangle, where boats and planes check in but don't check out. Well, Bonaire seems to be developing a car eating Vortex that sucks in cars and spits them out all crushed up. It all started a couple weeks ago when two medical students were driving to class, noticed their car starting to swerve around, and the next thing they new they had plowed into the giant boulders that protect the jogging path here in Hato. The car, seen above as it rests in front of our house, was very seriously damaged, but I'm happy to be able to report that the students survived the accident and are in fine shape. I don't know any details about the victims of the other recent wrecks.
This giant hole in the cemetary wall on Kaya Korona appeared sometime between the Kids Carnival weekend and the main Carnival weekend. That is a huge section of wall that has been smashed down there.

As I set out on my bike ride yesterday morning, (March 12) I saw the remains of this van resting within a few meters of the place where the medical students had their accident. Normally one would be tempted to blame Big Mo (mv) or his evil cousin Kinetic Energy (mv squared) for damage as serious as this. But all three of the above accidents happened in residential areas with 40 km per hour speed limits so I am driven to conclude that some sort of mysterious car crushing Vortex is at work. (he said tongue in cheek)

I first thought that the Bonaire Vortex was centered in Hato, and maybe had spread as far as town, but this car (also photographed on March 12) is out at Boca Onima. So it looks like no location on Bonaire is safe from its effects.
I hardly ever ride my road bike any more. Part of the reason is that the paved roads are full of holes, but the other reason is that I feel a lot safer on my mountain bike on trails and paths where cars can't go. So far it looks like bicycles are immune from the Bonaire Vortex, although come to think of it, a few weeks ago DJ got swallowed up by a large muddy bog out Lagoon way.... But that's another story.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

TWR E-Snapshots

Here is a story from this month's TWR E-Snapshots newsletter. You can sign up to receive the E-Snapshots on the lower right side of this page.

A girl who lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania for ten years recently visited the TWR-Burundi office to tell how she had been blessed by the good news through our programs.

She said, “I used to listen to your program from the refugee camp in Tanzania. It was a blessing, not only to me but to the other Burundian refugees in the camp because we could hear a program in our mother tongue while we were away from our homeland. The messages in that program caused me to change my life and surrender it to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am amazed at how, from this studio, you are able to reach people thousands of miles away.”

It’s exciting that these programs reached her in crisis, they reached her within her cultural framework, they reached her with Christ and they reached her from another country! There are not many other means of outreach that can achieve all four of these at the same time other than radio!

You can read the full version of this story and see a picture of the TWR Burundi recording studio here on the TWR Africa Web site.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Southern Cross Rising at Red Slave

Here is a time lapse video showing the Southern Cross (SC) rising at Red Slave here on Bonaire. I drew lines along the outline of the SC in this picture, so that you will be able to recognize it in the video. You may need to make the picture bigger so you can see the SC. The SC appears at about nine seconds into the video clip.

The red blob low in the sky near the middle of the picture, is the Eta Carina nebula. This area of the sky is actually loaded with interesting objects to observe in binoculars or a telescope. Many of them show up nicely here.
This video represents about three and a half hours worth of pictures, taken at a rate of about two per minute.
The video looks best at 720p resolution and full screen. My internet connection is a little slow for 720p, but the view is worth the wait. Oh... these astronomy videos look quite different on each and every computer monitor I've viewed them on, so if you are curious, look at it on a couple different computers and see which rendition you like the best!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Star Trails

I've been taking more star pictures to prepare for some time lapse videos this summer. But most of the time it has been too cloudy. Above is a typical 3o second exposure and below is a combination of a bunch of them showing the movement of the stars over time.
The star trails photo really brings out the colors of the various stars.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cloudy Nights or Orion Over the Huts

The moon is in hiding right now, so if it wasn't so consarned rainy and cloudy, I'd be outside every night soaking up the beauty of the Bonaire Sky Park, as George DeSalvo calls it. But, since I had already gotten soaked during my after work bike ride yesterday, I stayed inside last night and played with some images from last month. You can see Orion a little above and to the left of center in the photo below. The Pleiades are just barely above the middle of the roof of the right hand slave hut, and the Hyades (the horns of Taurus the bull) are to the upper left of the Pleiades. The photo above is a combination of five or six 19 second exposures at ISO3200 with the camera on a fixed tripod. Combining a a number of individual images helps cancel out some of the random noise that one sees when imaging in low light and with high ISO settings. I'm pleased that some of the star colors were preserved (check out Betelgeuse and Aldebaran) and that you can even see a hint of Barnard's loop arching above Orion's belt.

This is a close up of Orion's belt and sword that I shot from the back yard last month. It is a combination of 2 minute exposures shot with a 85/1.8 lens at f4. I processed the heck out of this image to try to bring out the red nebulosity that abounds in this part of the sky. What I really need is longer exposures from a darker site. (like Red Slave) You can see hints of this same nebulosity in the top image, and that does impress me, since the exposure time was so short for that shot.