Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Butterfly collection, part 2

More butterflies and moths photographed in Southern California on April 16 and 17, 2010:
Same species, inside and out, and also shown below.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Exoplanet orbit simulation

I've just created the first part of an interactive illustration of the red/blue shift detection of an exoplanet. The program illustrates how the planet's mass and orbit radius affects the red and blue shift of light from the star. You can see the real program here: orbit

This will be part of my June 7 presentation to the Temecula Valley Astronomers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This isn't an abstract painting or Photoshop treatment; it's the blurred image of a swallowtail butterfly that wouldn't land. I can see why people used nets and toxins to capture these subjects. Nowadays, digital images are cheap and I could keep at it till I got a couple lucky shots:

My other subjects kindly landed long enough for me to get their pictures:

(These are all the same species; the blue is visible only when the wings are open)

(a moth?)

I regret I don't know the common or scientific names for these creatures, but posting these where I'll find them again is the first step. I'll add the names as I learn them.

I believe that this one, from two weeks earlier, is the Quino Checkerspot, a species that invites developers who find it on their real estate to partake in humanity's effort to protect the biological diversity of our planet. --a way of saying they are listed as endangered.

I'll verify the species type when I can.


Monday, April 5, 2010


At about 3:40 pm, Easter Sunday, I had the chance to enjoy perhaps the longest-in-duration earthquake I've ever witnessed. The following day, the newspapers announced a magnitude 7.2 quake, centered near Mexicali, Mexico, which was about 100 miles from where I was.
Most earthquakes I've felt made me think of someone sliding a giant spatula under the house. This one felt like someone tried and then had to scrape the pan vigourously. While watching some furniture shake, I wished I could capture the effect with my camera, but it was not nearby. About 5 minutes afterward I noticed the chandelier still swinging, and figured that will have to suffice. Below is the chandelier at two end points in its swing, with one superimposed on the other.