Greetings from Palmia Observatory
Well it has been several months since our last post and its time to get back into action. So on with some sad news, some travel news, some Starship podcaster news, and some new electric vehicle news.
First topic is a sad one of saying goodbye to my big brother, Richard, who was struck and killed in December while crossing the street in Arizona. I had not seen him for a couple of years now and was saddened to hear about it. I'll miss you, big brother!
|Richard at his 77th birthday party (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
We also scheduled another little trip to Florida (or as I say the Free State of Florida, because they leave wearing a mask up to you to assign your own risk profile) to visit Resident Astronomer Peggy's brother who has been waiting for some long delayed surgery, which finally happened as the number of COVID cases had declined. Anyway it was good to get out and about and we managed to fit in a little ocean cruise off the coast.
|Sunset as seen from offshore Florida (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Then later in the month, I had a chance to attend in person an energy storage conference held at the Long Beach Convention center. Forms of energy storage are almost necessary as we transition away from fossil fuels and rely more on the vagaries of renewable energy sources. It was great to get out and begin attending meetings and conferences again. We all had to wear masks and show that we were vaccinated, but at least we were out.
|Energy Storage Conference at Long Beach Convention Center (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Well, I had been watching all of the construction and test activity at SpaceX facility in Boca Chica, TX, for several years now, and had visited there twice already, so it seemed the right time to go down there in person and check out what was going on now. This would be my third visit there and when talking about with some friends, Science Nerds Scott and Sandy said they wanted to go also. So, we packed up for bags the first week in February and flew into Brownsville, TX and then drove up Highway 4 to Boca Chica location of Starbase.
We parked along the highway and ran into another SpaceX blogger, Jessica Hirsch, who has been there months now and had her blogging and now podcasting rig setup and I recognized her right away.
|Meeting blogger Jessica Hirsch at Starbase, TX (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
After talking with Jessica about how we were big fans of Tesla and SpaceX, she asked if we were willing to go live on her YouTube channel. So, here we are for our 10-12 minutes of fame starting at about minute 44 in the video.
|Resident Astronomer and Science Nerds Scott & Sandy interviewed (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9sw31K9YQg)|
During this visit, even though just watching all of the construction activity and seeing the Starship sitting next to the booster that will launch it into space was a major reason to visit there, I also liked walking by all of the other podcasters, who follow activity there 24 hours per day using remotely operated cameras mounted on tripods, towers or in this case trucks. Here is one of NASASpaceFlight's cameras parked on a vehicle alongside state highway 4. Thanks NASASpaceFlight!
|One of several NASAspaceflight camera vehicles along Highway 4 (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Another one of my podcasters to follow with ongoing coverage of activities at Starbase are all of he cameras set up by LabPadre. Check out this vehicle (sorry I clipped the top of the image) with remotely operated camera, satellite communication dish and falcon to scare off all the natural birds. Thanks for keeping us in the loop, LabPadre!
|One of LabPadre's vehicle mounted cameras (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
There we many other folks who just set up tripods and in this case some SpaceX fan brought a camera on top of his camper and operated the camera from there. Pretty neat!
|Many cameras setup on Highway 4 for 24 hour tracking of SpaceX operations (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Another blogger who visits Boca Chica Starbase quite often is "Ellie in Space." She is a newscaster operating out of Salt Lake City but reports on all things Starlink and now also all things Starship. So, check out her many blog postings and interviews on YouTube.
|Ellie at Boca Chica beach with launch facility in background (Source: YouTube, "Ellie in Space")|
We should also give a shout out for Felix at "What About It" and Marcus House for their streaming and commentary on Starbase events. As we were leaving Boca Chica, we had to stop along the road and get some photos of the production facility. And of course, we couldn't resist getting a photo in front of the Starbase sign. Thanks to Scott for snapping the shutter!
|Resident Astronomer in front of Starbase sign (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Ok, it was time to fly back to OC, after doing a little partying in South Padre Island and checking out possible launch viewing options from there. Back at the observatory, we find that Astronomer Assistants, Willow and Ruby, are getting along fine, if not actually slacking off in studying cosmology and astrophysics.
|Finally the Astronomer Assistants, Willow and Ruby, get along! (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Even Resident Astronomer Peggy and I took time out to enjoy a margarita or two at some local eateries.
|Resident Astronomers just out having fun! (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
The other news, on the electric vehicle front, I said "gee, after working many years on electric propulsion for ships and submarines, I want to go full all electric on my next car too"! So, we checked out the local Tesla dealership and found that I can easily fit into the Model Y, so we put down our reservation deposit. Yeah, finally joining the electric vehicle crowd with August delivery of the car!
|Put a reservation deposit on new Tesla Model Y (Source: Tesla)|
Now, this all called for a celebratory drink, so what better than a fire hose sized straw (all due to creative camera placement and perspective) and cadillac margarita!
|Don't worry about the payments; Just drink from a really big straw! (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
Oh, finally, just in case some of you readers are wondering about what else happens at the observatory that includes some aspect of astronomy, then check out this image of sunspots.
|Keep looking Up; More sunspots today, DSLR, 300mm, 1/125 sec (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
So, it is time to end this blog post, it is also with a sad heart that the Russian, or maybe, more correctly, more accurately, the Putin invasion of Ukraine is happening. We are so lucky to just go about our day and hobbies and interests and not worry about where the bombs might fall. My biggest personal impact so far is not being able to travel to Ukraine, as we had planned to do be in September 2021, and how some of our Coursera general relativity courses provided by the Higher School of Economics in Russia will no longer be available to us.
Until next time,