December 27, 2007

APOY 2007

And for your astronomically-themed seasonal viewing enjoyment, more pictures of things in space!

Bad Astronomy puts up their "runner up" of the best astro pictures of 2007, and it still beats the hell out of APOD's APOY. Changing the last initial of your name still won't make you cool, APOD. Of course, they just did that to make it stand for "year," but I still consider it suspect. For instance, they pick one shot which is just the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. Well, I for one, would prefer that NASA spend more of its budget on research grants, rather than on pointless manned missions that do nothing to increase our understanding of the universe, but hey, that's just me. Seeing something like that just reminds me of how the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has shifted its focus away from real science. Oh yeah, APOD is hosted on a NASA URL. How convenient. (Even during holiday season, no mercy for APOD!) And how they managed to ignore the Carina Nebula altogether astonishes me. Morons.

On the other hand, BA is dead on. They've got Cassini's Saturn pic, the shot of Earth that I believe ought to replace the worn out 'Blue Marble.' And I absolutely love this photo on BA's list, its flickr page gives the background:

I came upon this juxtaposition one early evening in early May, 2007. The crane was stationed on East 32nd St. in Manhattan. I took this shot looking east from 2nd Ave. This is not a Photoshop trick folks -- just a lucky shot.

Well, it was a lucky shot, of course -- but it also took some positioning and some daring on my part to stand in the middle of 2nd Ave. as cars barreled down on me. To get this shot I had to stand exactly at the right spot (and I do mean spot), steady my nerves (and hands) and take the shot before the cars could reached me. Those rush-hour NYC drivers DID NOT seem to be willing to slow down for me.

It's amazing how quickly the moon moves across the sky. Normally this is mostly imperceptible... until you try to align it with something (such as the crane) only to realize 20 seconds later, when you are ready to take your shot, that it has already moved. I took about 8 shots and had to reposition myself 3 times.

As of 5/30/07 the crane was still there. The moon, however, has since moved.