Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Full Week

This was one full week. My school had a guest speaker. There was a total lunar eclipse. We had Starlab. And we had a taste of fall weather.

But first, this. A couple weeks ago a reporter from The Torch, my school's student newspaper, came and interviewed me about this blog. It had not crossed my mind, at all, that the school paper might think my blog was interesting or worthy of covering, so I was surprised and pleased. I attribute their interest to one of two things. Either it was a slow news day or, more likely, since the school has an online edition, there is more opportunity to write and publish articles, so they had space to fill. Either way, I think it was a nicely done story. Here is a link to it. Thank you.

Our school has guest speakers from time to time. Over the years the quality of the speakers coming to our school has been known to be a little uneven. This time, however, it was great. The speaker, Nadja Halilbegovich, had a terrific story. She grew up in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. After that country splintered apart, Sarajevo was besieged for 4 years. Now this was 20 or so years ago, before any of the students were born, but they were attentive and enthralled by her story. It is recounted in her book, My Childhood Under Fire: A Sarajevo Diary. If it is as good a read as it was a tell, it will hold your interest.

While the speaker was great, the eclipse was not. I woke up at 5:00 AM to come to school. As I left home, I saw the partially eclipse moon playing peek-a-boo through some holes in the clouds. By the time I arrived at school, the holes were fewer and by the time totality began, all the holes were gone and we did not see any of the total eclipse, only cloud bottoms. We heard it was great and a former student of mine posted some photos on facebook. Not very satisfying but better that nothing. And, while this was the second of a tetrad of lunar eclipses, meaning there are 2 left in the next 11 months, the next one is visible from the Pacific Ocean, not Sarasota. We have one more chance in this group of 4 eclipses, next September. That will be visible in all the Americas (except Alaska and northwestern North America.)

In the 25 years I have lived in Florida, my observation has been that the hot weather of summer usually lingers until the third week of October, plus or minus a week. This week we had 2 days of cooler, below average temperatures, as a front sneaked further south than usual and reached us; a harbinger of things to come. It wasn't much, but I'm not complaining.

We had Starlab this week. One of the things I enjoy about our little portable planetarium is its acoustics. I have a boom box that plays music I have acquired over the years that I think plays well in that venue. I like even more the fact that I get to pick the music that my students must listen too. Now I have eclectic taste in music, but there probably is not much overlap between my student's playlists and mine. Here is the music I played this week.

Becoming One of "The People" - Avatar sound track
Cello Suite No. 1, prelude - J.S. Bach
Adiemus - Karl Jenkins from the album Songs of Sanctuary
Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles

I am always looking for music that would fit well in the planetarium. Suggestions are welcome.

As of now the weather forecast for Sunday (10/12/14) evening is clear. I have scheduled a stargaze. If the weather holds, it should be great. I tend to effuse after a good stargaze. Stay tuned.

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