Webmaster's blog

Astronomer: What time is it in Melbourne?

Ever wonder what time it is in a distant city? Confused by world time zones and standard vs. daylight saving (or "summer") time? Here's a quick way to find out what time it is in a long list of cities around the globe:

Visit www.TimeAndDate.com

In addition to time and day of week information, the site provides each listed city's weather conditions, forecast, sun- and moon-rise times, telephone dialing information, and more!

Astronomer: Fun with GPS

I've been having fun with a new "toy." A nice little handheld GPS (global positioning system) receiver bought at a bargain price at a local big box store. Following my progress on the scrolling map image during a morning commute made the trip a lot more fun.
Photo: Magellan eXplorist 210 product shot.

Surprising to me was how quickly the GPS was able to update and display my travel speed as I drove. After all, the little palm-sized unit was receiving signals from several orbiting satellites a little more than 12,000 miles high, comparing their time signals, calculating my position in three dimensions and its rate of change, and displaying it on a little LCD screen, all with only a couple of seconds lag time! And, optimally, to within about 10 feet of my exact location. Following travel progress on the unit's built-in map was fun (for map geeks like me) but a little too distracting if you're driving. I'm looking forward to my next stint as a passenger!

Astronomer: Encyclopedia of Life is born

Many of the world's leading scientific institutions announced the May 9 launch of the Encyclopedia of Life, an unprecedented global effort to document all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants, and other forms of life on Earth. For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens will have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered.

"The Encyclopedia of Life will provide valuable biodiversity and conservation information to anyone, anywhere, at any time," said Dr. James Edwards, currently Executive Secretary of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Astronomy Day 2007

Saturday, April 21 is Astronomy Day. Across the U.S. and in other countries special programs and activities will emphasize humanity's place among the stars.

Greater Clevelanders are fortunate to have one of the most interesting affairs of the day; that's thanks to a cooperative effort between a local science center, an area astronomy club, and NASA.

Celebrate Astronomy Day and learn more about the wonders of the universe from 10 AM to 11 PM during the annual "Star Gazing" extravaganza at NASA Glenn's Visitor Center. If the sky is clear an after-dark "star party" will feature views of celestial objects through telescopes set up at NASA Glenn by their astronomy club owners.

"Star Gazing" is presented in partnership with the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center's Walter R. Schuele Planetarium, the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Solar System Ambassadors.

Admission is free. Access to the center is limited to U.S. citizens and adult visitors must present a government-issued photo identification to enter. Vehicles and bags are subject to inspection.

For more information about the NASA Glenn event, including times for talks and programs, visit: http://glennevents.grc.nasa.gov

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will also have special programming and exhibits observing Astronomy Day. Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. See their site for program and admission details.

Mail warning: sign out!

Image: Yahoo! logo registered trademark


Don't let strangers read your mail!

Yahoo! Mail users are now offered the option to "Keep me signed in for 2 weeks unless I sign out." This can be a real problem for users of public PCs like those we offer at this library.

Unless you sign out of Yahoo! Mail, the next person to visit Yahoo! sitting at the same PC you used will find your account completely open!

Daylight Saving Time another Y2K?

There is a significant change this year in the beginning and ending times for Daylight Saving Time (DST) in the U.S. This may also affect your computer! While not expected to be as big a problem as the turn of the century "Y2K Bug," computer users may be perplexed or inconvenienced by the DST issue.

The U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed by the U.S. Congress, extended DST in the U.S. by approximately four weeks. As a result, beginning in this year, DST will start three weeks earlier --on March 11, 2007-- and end one week later --on November 4, 2007-- resulting in a new DST period that is four weeks longer than previously observed.

What's Now? 10x10

Once in a while we happen across a Web site that offers a new perspective on our world. Ten by Ten is one of those sites.

The creators of 10x10 explain their creation better than I can, "10x10â„¢ ('ten by ten') is an interactive exploration of the words and pictures that define the time. The result is an often moving, sometimes shocking, occasionally frivolous, but always fitting snapshot of our world. Every hour, 10x10 collects the 100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale, and presents them as a single image, taken to encapsulate that moment in time. Over the course of days, months, and years, 10x10 leaves a trail of these hourly statements which, stitched together side by side, form a continuous patchwork tapestry of human life."

Visit 10x10 now.

Dig to China?

Did you ever hear the old expression about digging a hole so deep you wind up in China? If you could dig all the way straight through the center of the Earth... where would you really wind up?

To answer that burning question, some folks have created a Web site that lets you select a place anywhere on the face of the Earth for digging. Double-click on the map at that point and click "Dig Here." The site will then show you where you'd wind up if you could dig straight on through.

Hello/goodbye to bright comet!

JAN. 11 UPDATE: See a photo of Comet McNaught shot from Northeast Ohio last night (Jan. 10) by a friend of mine. Visit the Web home of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association.


UPDATE: Well, I saw it! Briefly. I went to the roof of the library during my dinner hour taking along my camera and tripod. It was a beautiful sunset with orange and red colors illuminating jet contrails in the western sky. As the twilight dimmed and Venus sparkled to the southwest, I spotted Comet McNaught glowing a ghostly white between the orange jet trails. It was bright, even at about 5:30 when I first sighted it. Still, as the night fell so did the comet. Already low in the sky, McNaught sank behind the trees far to the west of the building before it really became photogenic, only visible to me for 10 minutes or so. Still, I saw it with and without the telephoto lens: my first comet of the year! So, with freezing metal tripod in hand, I headed back into the building and back to work. I hope you got to see this comet or will see it yet! Read original post, below....

Looking for something?

Did you know there are two search boxes on our Web pages? The two forms look for information in two separate places!

Titled "Search Catalog," the first search form is the place where users can enter a title, subject, author's name, or key words. By clicking the "Search Now" button they can conveniently search the library's catalog of materials for items of interest.

The second search box, titled "Search this site," does just that ... it can be used to search our main Web site for information about the library, its services, policies, things that aren't in our catalog.