Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Night Running

Was up early with the bride and went out with her for her morning walk since I was home today anyway for teleworking. We did a 2 mile loop then I stayed out for a couple more miles of running.
With the switch to Daylight Savings Time it is again dark @ 0530. Since it was clear, Venus was very prominent in the low eastern horizon and had a discernable diameter. Plus—and this was the really cool part—it had a noticeable yellowish cast. Colors in celestial objects are way cool (e.g., the red of the star Betelgeuse; the icy twinkling of Sirius; the reddish hue of Mars).

We’ve all seen the photos of the earth from the moon, and it sure is blue from that close. I wonder if the Earth looks blue from a far distance when the observer would see a disk like we see the size of Venus?

The other thing about night running is preserving your night vision. I always wear a baseball cap just so I can shield my eyes against car headlights and streetlights when I pass civilization. In the winter I go so far as to wear a knit cap to cover my ears over my baseball cap. I love being able to see things well at night and the bill of the cap really helps.

Once I saw on Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters show the hypothesis that pirates wore eye patches over one eye—a good eye—just so when they would go below decks after having boarded another ship they could flip up the patch and have instant night vision in that eye. Sounds possible, even plausible, but unless a written account is found to corroborate that hypothesis, it remains just a Mythbusters shtick.

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