Off the California coast, visitors to the beautiful oceanside should always keep their eyes peeled for a possible whale sighting. Throughout the year, there are two main whale-watching "seasons" that warrant the constant gaze toward the horizon. Whale-watchers are hoping to catch a glimpse of a spray from a blowhole or even just the tail of one of these magnificent, gentle giants.
From December to April is gray whale season. Gray whales embark on their annual migration, the longest of any mammal -- a round trip totaling about 10,000 miles each year. Gray whales migrate south during the winter months to the warm waters of Baja California, and then return to the arctic Alaskan waters in the spring months with their calves in tow. During summer and fall, whale watchers will be on the look out for humpback whales and also blue whales, the largest animal ever to live on our Planet Earth -- even larger than the dinosaurs!
Summer is coming and so is whale watching season. A whale of an adventure awaits! An adorable whale-themed nursery would be perfect for all the summer babies :)
With the summer heat finally creeping in, the tomatoes in our backyard garden are thriving! Our peppers, on the other hand, are not doing so hot -- pun intended :) Despite the minor growth and slightly wilted leaves observed, we did spot our first, single, solitary chili pepper. It looks a bit lonely and I have my fingers crossed that more will appear soon. Here's hoping the pepper production in our garden will heat up soon, in line with the hot summer weather to come!
French astronomer Charles Messier catalogued a little over one hundred astronomical objects in the late 1700s. Messier was a comet hunter, and because comets were his main focus, he decided to catalogue any objects that resembled comets but were not actually comets into a useful list. The catalogue includes objects such as nebula, star clusters and galaxies.
The 83rd object of the catalogue, Messier 83 (M83), was first discovered in 1752 by another French astronomer, Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, and was subsequently added to the Messier Catalogue in 1781. Messier 83 is also known as a the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, and is a beautiful collection of hundreds of billions of stars bound together by gravity. The abundance of stunning red star-forming regions in M83 have given it another popular nickname, The Thousand-Ruby Galaxy.
While driving on the road, I heard a song by M83 (an electronic pop rock band) named after the Messier object, and couldn't help but picture in my mind the spiral galaxy and its thousand rubies. And with Mother's Day fast approaching, each of those rubies in my mind began to take shape of the thousands upon thousands of red carnations that will be given to show the infinite adoration, affection and love for all the mothers around the world. Five hundred carnations were delivered to the very first Mother's Day celebration in 1908, and ever since have come to represent the special day.
Happy Mother's Day! Thank you for all that you are, and all that you do!
One of the most iconic scenes from science fiction cinematic history is Luke Skywalker's pensive gaze at the twin sunset of his desolate desert home planet, Tatooine. Though this beautiful scene of dusk on an alien planet may have seemed fantastical in 1977, astronomers now know that the fictional binary star system of Tatoo may not be so far from reality after all.
Many stars in our Milky Way Galaxy are, unlike our own sun, part of binary or multiple star systems, where two or more stars orbit one another. And in September of 2011, 34 years after the release of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, astronomers discovered Kepler-16b, the first known planet to orbit both stars in a binary system. The Kepler Mission is currently surveying the night sky, on the lookout for Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of other stars; planets not too far and not too close from their star -- but perhaps just the right distance for the existence liquid water, and possibly, life on its surface. Since the discovery of Kepler-16b, astronomers have even discovered a planet orbiting a binary system that is within the stars' habitable zone.
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The Kepler spacecraft is aimed at just a tiny portion of the sky, in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, the Swan. As of February 2013, Kepler has confirmed the discovery of 114 exoplanets (planets beyond our solar system), with thousands of more possible candidates. Using the data gathered from Kepler thus far, some astronomers have estimated that there could be possibly 17 billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone, which is one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe.
Coincidentally, one well-known binary star system is located in the direction that Kepler is pointed -- Albireo, in Cygnus the Swan, pictured below. The beautiful contrasting blue and gold of the two stars make it a favorite for nighttime observation. In fact, the brighter yellow star is in it of itself a binary system! So tonight, to celebrate Star Wars Day, why not make a Tatooine Sunset
, stare up at the night sky, and imagine a beautiful binary sunset and all that lies beyond. May the force be with you.
Ever since I was little, I have had an affinity for bowling. Even before I really knew how to bowl, I remember practicing my perfect pose -- right foot crossed behind my left, and right arm raised high above my head. In high school, my friends and I would frequent the local alley on Monday nights for discount bowling. Then in college, I joined my first bowling league -- recreational, of course. We never were very good, and more often than not, had a ridiculously high handicap. But it was a night of the week that I always looked forward to. I love hearing the rolling of the bowling balls down the lanes and the subsequent crashing of the pins. And bowling team names are pretty entertaining as well :)
The Nintendo Game Boy was released in Japan, April 21, 1989. Twenty-four years later, the green screen of the handheld device is now a nostalgic memory of every gamer's past. I can still remember the Christmas when I asked my parent's for my very own Game Boy. I did not go with the classic gray, or the transparent model -- instead I went for what I thought was a very sleek and cool black version. Even though I knew exactly what my present was, I was still over the moon when it was finally unwrapped and in my possession. I remember hours spent playing Kirby's Dream Land, Donkey Kong Land (and its memorable yellow cartridge) and most of all, Tetris. The classic block game sure has come a long way since then, but I still wouldn't mind the iconic theme music playing in the background -- even if the tiles are no longer simply shades of gray and green.
The weather is finally beginning to warm up and we are inching ever closer to summer. One of the things I look forward to the most each June and July, other than the long days and hot afternoons at the beach, is the abundance of fresh tomatoes from our backyard garden. Though unappetizing to some, I could eat an entire bucket of cherry tomatoes -- and truly appreciate them as the fruit (not vegetable) that they are. To ensure we will have an abundance of tomatoes when summertime arrives, the young plants have already been planted in rich soil and are already soaking up their nutrients, water and rays of sunlight. And in hopes of a plentiful harvest, we asked Totoro for some help :)
Believe it or not, it has been 20 years since Jurassic Park dinosaurs first scared the bejeezus out of everyone on the big screen. There are countless memorable scenes from the film. Who could forget the vibrating cup of water on the dashboard? The frightened lawyer sprinting to a grass-roof outhouse? Or the terrifying velociraptor kitchen debacle? And of course, everyone knows -- the only way to escape the jaws of a mighty tyrannosaurus rex is to stay perfectly still!
Well, hold on to your butts, because they are releasing Jurassic Park: An IMAX 3D Experience for one week only (04/05 - 04/12), to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film. They certainly have spared no expense :) I CANNOT WAIT!
Today is National Puppy Day -- a day founded in 2006 dedicated to our furry, fuzzy and fantastic four-legged friends that shower us with unconditional love. So if you haven't already, make sure to go out and pet, hug or dare I say -- kiss a pup (whether its yours or not) to celebrate this adorable day! But don't fret, if you have don't have access to a huggable dog, here
is a collection of awwww-worthy
photographs to celebrate National Puppy Day 2013.
Here is our addition to the puppy photo collection -- our little corgi pup, Leia [named after Princess Leia] :)
And as is fitting on a day to celebrate puppies, here is a collection of items featuring one of the most beloved pups of all -- Snoopy!
Don't forget to add a some green to your Sunday outfit for your Saint Patrick's Day celebration -- whether it be just a splash or cover you from head to toe! The traditional belief is that wearing green is equivalent to wearing an invisibility cloak to leprechauns -- fairy creatures that pinch any non-green wearing folk they can see. Remember to remind those around you who have forgotten to wear green, that leprechauns might sneak up at any moment -- with a pinch :)