Beautiful Planet Conjunction

Tonight and over the next few nights there is a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus at Sunset.  If you look to the Southwest, the 2 brightest “stars” are actually the planets Jupiter and Venus close together in the evening sky.

Monday night December 1, the 2 planets from our vantage point will be even closer together and will have the added bonus of the crescent moon forming a triangle.

If you’re a little ambitious the next few nights take your binoculars of at least 10x, steady yourself on the side of your house or on top of your car, and look for the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter.  The 4 largest moons of Jupiter will look like tiny, bright pin pricks around the planet.  At least 3 should be easily visible.  This way you’ll know which planet is which.  Venus will be the brighter of the 2 planets, but it’s fun to see what Galileo saw through his primitive telescope looking at Jupiter.

In conjunction from earths vantage, the actual separation of the 2 planets is somewhere around 350 million miles or 560 million kilometers.


Isn’t Every Day Thanksgiving?

Almost 20 years ago I stopped by the bank to get a few dollars out of the ATM.  In line behind me was this prettie brunette in hiking shorts who smiled and said “looks like it’s take a number at the bank”.

What are you thankful for today?  Since I don’t have a picture of that moment, I thought I’d share a different moment with that same prettie brunette in London a couple of years back.

Happy Thanksgiving

Robert Lancaster – The Modern Braveheart

One of my greatest dislikes about people on this planet are those like Sylvia Browne.  If you’re not familiar with Sylvia Browne, look out.  She’s one of those hack psychic readers that prey on the emotions of people looking for answers to life, lost loved ones and so on.  She’s been on a.m. radio late-night and The Montel Williams T.V. show many times dispensing her prognostications to audience members and people who call in asking about job opportunities, murder victims, love, missing children, kidnap victims, etc.  She’s been wrong so many times that in skeptic circles she’s like a bad tune you can’t seem to forget.  She even hung herself live on the radio one time.  News came across that 6 of the 7 miners trapped in a coal mine were alive and she said live on the radio that she had predicted this.  Problem was that the news information was wrong and corrected about an hour later that 6 of the miners were dead with only 1 survivor.  This news correction came out while she was still on the radio.  I’ll try to find the original broadcast to link to.


Her claims of helping solve crimes are well documented on her website, except that they are totally bogus.  Even many of the individuals and agencies that she “helped” have come forward to disavow her abilities.  She is probably one of the most criticized psychics around, yet she still makes huge sums of money.  Her appearance on the Larry King show is legendary when she not only agreed to talk with Larry, but was on with the original mythbuster himself James Randi.  Randi offered her, or any other psychic, 1 million dollars to take a test and prove their paranormal abilities.  Sylvia Browne agreed to take the test.  This was a few years ago and, hold your breath for a great shock, the prize remains unclaimed.


A gentleman by the name of Robert Lancaster has a website,  We should all be this courageous when we see this type of reprehensible behavior.


The worst kind of human predator is the one that preys on the emotionally distraught, like parents of missing children.  Take some time to learn about this woman.


Footnote: The Montel Williams Show is going off the air.  You could feel this when the integrity level of the planet went up.  Although he has stated he personally does not believe in Sylvia Browne’s “powers”, he had her on his show because the sponsors liked the ratings.  Can you say hypocrite?




In Memory

Words cannot begin to express my gratitude at the sympathy expressed by everyone over the passing of my Father.


Pop passed away quietly October 12th at my brother Jay’s home.  Jay & Liz will always be heroes near and dear to my heart if for no other reason than the kindness and caring nature they showed during this difficult time.  Taking care of all the arrangements and providing Momma with a sanctuary to deal with her grief as well as their own.  Allowing a loved one to die with dignity is such a great gift, like Ray Sanders did for Rene, I am indebted to Jay and Liz for their final gift to Pop.  Liz helped with Momma and Jay even made the Ossuary Box for Pop’s remains.


Unfortunately, I missed the graveside service since Karen had just gotten out the hospital and was still suffering from vertigo and I was needed at home to help take care of Mother Krell.


Making travel arrangements at the last minute, I did arrive in time to see many friends and family at Pop’s celebration service that evening.  I was actually on the plane when Pop was interred in a grave hand dug by Jay, friends and family.  The outpouring of respect from members of the community, church and family is a testament to the impact this gentle and shy man had on the lives of others. 


Kristi, Shawn, Erin and Callee drove over from Iowa to attend and I got to visit with them for just a few minutes before they had to leave.  For these 4, my heart grows ever fonder.



My childhood fantasy Telescope

Journey to Palomar

Watch your local PBS station in November for the documentary on the Hale Telescope atop Mount Palomar in California.  This is the famous 200″, (16.7 feet) diameter telescope that I dreamed about visiting when I was a kid.  This telescope, and the incredible engineering challenge to manufacture it, is the 4th of 4 great telescopes designed by George Hale.  It dominated visible light and photo astronomy for 50 years.  Surpassed in size during the 1980’s by the 10 meter (393 inches or 32.75 feet) Keck telescope in Hawaii, this is one of the most important science and engineering feats until the moon landing.  Comparing the Hale Telescope to the moon landing is not an exaggeration.  Far more science has been done by by the Hale Telescope than all the moon landings combined.

Quote from PBS  “The story of American astronomer George Ellery Hale (1868–1938) and his efforts to build the world’s four largest telescopes — which set the stage for astronomy and space exploration throughout the 20th century, revealing the greatest discoveries since Galileo and Copernicus. Hale’s lifelong struggle to build these great instruments culminated with the million-pound telescope on Palomar Mountain.”

A current engineer who works at the Palomar Observatory asked how long the Hale Telescope could last and produce significant science, he said “forever.”  This amazing instrument has captured my imagination since I first heard about it in 3rd grade, (remember the Weekly Reader).  My grandfather even remembered being in the crowd gathered at the railroad tracks in Greencastle watching the “telescope train” pass by.  He didn’t understand the significance of the telescope, but since it made worldwide headlines the telescope train was watched at every town all the way from Pennsylvania to California.