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Author: tongaxtine

The Sun’s Spectrum

The Sun’s Spectrum

I’ve been thinking about this poster down the hall from me.   Its pretty, but its information about the sun is pretty spectacular.  To really understand it, you have to go back to the basics about light.  We can only see light within a certain range of wavelengths and frequency. This range is called the visible spectrum.   Here is what this looks like in pretty picture form:

What’s a basic way to study light? Well, don’t stare at light and hurt your eyes. Please.  A better method is spectroscopy  – which spreads a light source out.  You could use a prism for this.  As the full spectrum of visible light travels through a prism, the wavelengths separate into the colors of the rainbow because each color is a different wavelength. Violet has the shortest wavelength, at around 380 nanometers, and red has the longest wavelength, at around 700 nanometers.  If the light doesn’t pass through any low-density gas, the spectrum shows no features and is considered a “continuous spectrum”.

 

If the light however passes through a cool “cloud” of gas, that “cloud” can absorb particular wavelengths and we can an adsorption spectrum.   If you don’t have a prism, you could instead use an imaging Fourier transform spectrograph (IFTS). You probably have one in the telescope you live in on top of that mountain right?  A spectrograph is an instrument that separates incoming light by its wavelength or frequency and records the resulting spectrum in some kind of a detector.  This device will produce a spectrum that features spectral lines.  The appearance of spectral lines is caused by atoms and molecules in a material that the light is passing through.  Those atoms and moelecules both emit and absorb radiation at distinct wavelengths.

The figure above shows absorption spectral lines in light from the sun. The wavelength scale is measured in Angstroms (1 mm = 10,000 Angstrom) or 400 nm – 750 nm.

Absorption lines will appear when there is a hot light source (like our Sun) passing through an intra-meaning cool material (like gas).  The radiation is absorbed by the cooler gas causing the lines (or reduction in intensity corresponding to the spectral transitions of the elements in that gas).

For most elements, there is a certain temperature at which their emission and absorption lines are strongest. The lines you see in a star’s spectrum act like thermometers.

This picture below looks like its the poster down the hall from me, but upon close inspection, its actually different.   The same scientist, Bob Kurucz involved with the original poster made a version 2.   This spectrum below was taken through the atmosphere, through oxygen and water lines in addition to the solar lines.

In the spectrum on the wall, he has removed the O2 and H2O lines so the spectrum looks the way it would appear above the atmosphere. It is the way the sun would look from a planet or another star.  And here is the poster I get to see every day.

Super fun treat yo’ self day!

Super fun treat yo’ self day!

First I was picked up at work in Bestie’s air conditioned Caddy and she whisked me away to the Friendly Toast in Burlington, MA. It was definitely better than the Inman Square location has been over the years.

Knowing how I long for the malls of the 90’s, Bestie took me into the Burlington Mall.   We got ignored in Sephora, played with the overly priced going out of business sale items at Brookstone, then she tolerated my need to visit the Disney Store.  It had the standard not too impressive stuff but I noticed some promo items for the Solo movie behind the cashier.  Turns out if you pre-order the movie they include a Lithograph Set.  I made the pre-order instantly, but what the hell am I going to do with these weird prints?

Then, for $1.19 I purchased an ABSURDLY large Solo tote.

The bar we planned to go to didn’t open till 5pm and it was just after 3pm, so then, Bestie decides to spend the time with an awesome surprise!  Reflexology!  She took me to Happy Feet in Waltham which involved a dimly lit room filled with the most orderly setup of beds where we got clothes-on massages.  Total unexpected relaxation in the middle of an epic day.

After feeling like we had no feeling we stopped at The Outer Limits comic book store on the way to the car.  I think I could spend HOURS in there but upon first entering I had my eye on yet another Han Solo item!  Han Solo Hoth Coffee Mug!  Bestie had it taken out of the case for a look. SOLD!

At this point – we are unstoppable.  Next we hit up the Baldwin Bar in Woburn.  Since neither one of us live in Woburn so we were only good for one cocktail each. We convinced the hostess that we would be in and out in 45 minutes and she agreed to seat us.  I had the “Paper Sun” which was my first experience with Maurin Quina.  I think it needs to be added to the rotation if I can find it!

While enjoying our libations we contemplated dinner.  The result was a decision for South Shore bar pizza at the Lynwood.  On our way there, we stopped at Bestie’s house to pick up her homemade Kahlúa Cheesecake featuring a chocolate brownie crust covered in a decadent chocolate ganache .  I will give you a second to read that again – homemade Kahlúa Cheesecake featuring a chocolate brownie crust covered in a decadent chocolate ganache.

Truly one of the best days with the best company a woman who is emotionally 14 could ask for!

Back from the hack!

Back from the hack!

Dudes. I was hacked! We think we know who did it and they will suffer greatly. But in the spirit of living positively and leading with kindness, lets even it out. Please consider donating to this dude”s Pan Mass Challenge! The Pan-Mass Challenge raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon that crosses the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Dorfman is a multi-talented, hack-alterting, and awesome dude riding for the first time.

DONATE NOW!

Look at the smile! You can sense the awesomeness!

If you need inspiration for why donating is important – I invite you to jam out to this video.

DONATE NOW!

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 4

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 4

Day 4 – Jawa Issues

I can’t tell if I was overwhelmed later in the day from all the fun I had the night before at Trader Sam’s, or was depressed to have to leave the Polynesian, or if meeting Kylo Ren was that overwhelming but I wasn’t feeling magical on day 4.

waffle

The day started out great – I got breakfast from Captain Cooks and brought it back to the room.  We stayed at the Poly till check out time at 11am and walked around the resort.  The new pool looks so relaxing!  I hope there is a chance for me to experience it in a few years.

polypool

We left our bags to be delivered to Beach Club and took the bus to Hollywood Studios AGAIN.   We had to see the Jedi Training again and we also checked out Watto’s Grotto and Launch Bay.

I got the BB-8 soda cup I had been eyeing since we got to the parks and within an hour almost lost it to a Jawa!

jawa

After the Jawa encounter I was already excitable but then we did the Disney Visa Character Meet and Greet.  I didn’t ask who we would be meeting and they have it all hidden around corners.  When I walked in and Kylo Ren was there I almost crapped my pants.   I had so much fun I can’t wait for the park ‘s full concept to be put together.

We finally got to ride Tower of Terror and for the first time in forever (no, not Frozen) I was able to take the queue to the left side of the bell stand and could see parts of the lobby I haven’t been able to check out for years.

tower

It was starting to get hungry and a bit tired so we took the boat to Beach Club to find out what was up with our room.   For some reason the online check in didn’t work and we got a text that we needed to see the front desk.  They fidgeted with our magic bands for about 15 minutes then gave us the room number.

Before going to the room we had lunch at Beaches and Cream which was the definite highlight by far of our stay at Beach Club.  We got to our room and it was so run down looking it was depressing.  ESPECIALLY after a stay in the brand new Poly Villas.  It was actually uncomfortable.

We walked around World Showcase and had a light dinner at the Boardwalk because I wasn’t feeling it.

mexico

And check it!  You can see the Star Wars fireworks from the Boardwalk!  Although you need to really be there to experience its full effect.

boadwalk

Its always hard to say goodnight to your last night in the Park.  But the excitement about the Egg Hunt I had for the next day kept my spirits up!

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 3

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 3

We checked out of Bay Lake and brought our bags to the Polynesian where we stayed for one night.   We had breakfast at Kona then took the Monorail to EPCOT.  It was two days before the start of Flower and Garden but a lot was in bloom and smelling FANTASTIC!

flowers

We hit our favorites:

We explored more of the flowers including those at the Canada Pavilion.

 

We then took the Monorail back to the Polynesian.  We hadn’t received the text that our room was ready so we set up to enjoy some Dole Whip and the front desk informed us that the room was in fact ready and had been – they just didn’t send the text for some reason.   Either way – perfect timing.

whip

Like anyone else who has stayed at the Poly DVC I can confirm its absolutely gorgeous.   We stayed in Pago Pago only for one night and it was one of the major highlights of the trip.

We put on some Hawaiian music and relaxed in paradise.

We had reservations a Morimoto in Disney Springs for an early dinner.   This is where my second cautionary tale regarding Uber begins.

  1. We thought they would be able to pick up in the DVC parking lot near Pago Pago – they are not allowed in so we had to walk to the lobby.   This makes sense in hindsight.
  2. We were waiting at the lobby when a cast member asked us if we were waiting for Uber.  She informed us that the GPS locators often send them to the Grand Floridian instead of the Poly and this in fact happened to our driver.   I would recommend texting your driver and confirming the resort location.
  3. There is so much construction at Disney Springs right now and they really only allow cabs to drop off on the West Side – even if you are trying to get to the Marketplace so if your goal was to cut down on walking – waiting for the bus might be the better option.
  4. Pickup for Uber at Disney Springs is in the “Strawberry Lot” – that’s on the other side of West Side so if you are coming from the Marketplace Area it could be a trek.  We were going directly to Hollywood Studios and still thought this was easier than bus hopping.

morimoto Balls

Morimoto makes one hell of a Singapore Sling!   I highly recommend.

We went to see the Star Wars Fireworks AGAIN after dinner because they are THAT GOOD.   Since we had already taken 2 Uber rides we figured we would take the bus back to the Poly – at park closing.   This 45 minute exercise in patience reminds me why I try to be at a resort that is walking distance or linger in the park after hours until I’m forced out.

We closed out the evening at Trader Sam’s Grotto.

trader sams

Last time we were there – they said they couldn’t do anything for vegetarian food (outside of sushi) but this time they offered tofu for the lettuce cups!  It was so tasty!

tofu lettuce cups

On the walk back to Pago Pago we stopped at the Tiki Terrace outside the Grotto to listen to the ukulele player.  He was so good I would say its worth the visit alone to see him perform.  Aloha!

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 2

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza – Day 2

Day 2 – Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios

The view of the sunrise from our room at Bay Lake was amazing!  It was 44 degrees so there was also some mist over the water.

sunrise

Since we were at Bay Lake we had a quick breakfast at Contempo Cafe then took the monorail to Magic Kingdom for opening.   They opened 20-30 min early and since it was a Sunday and my fast passes were for Hollywood Studios later in the day – I was nervous we wouldn’t be able to do what we wanted.   We did almost EVERYTHING!

On this trip – I found a new favorite thing.  Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan queue actually feels  magical.   It is details like this that make all the difference and this is now a must see for me on my next trip.

Then onto our favorites:

  • Pirates
  • Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Haunted Mansion

On our walk to Be Our Guest for lunch – we happened upon a babbling brook on a beautiful spring like day without a cloud in the sky.

brook

Hollywood Studios for a Star Wars Experience!

After a nap we took the bus to Hollywood Studios.   We put our fast passes to use and hit the Great Movie Ride.  This is where we encountered an unexpected character.

“Yah get no show?”

We roll up to the iconic yellow brick road ready for action – and nada.  No munchins, no sound, just a lifeless yellow brick road.   Our show guide was great and tried to keep the show going with Wizard of Oz songs but then a maintenance guy shows up from under the well and breaks the flow and like its nothing special and says “Ya get no show?” and then a few other dudes show up and shrug their shoulders an push some things and we move along.

I rejuvenated my spirits by becoming an Honorary Disney Citizen at One Man’s Dream. We then used fast passes to get on Tower of Terror but only half the elevators were moving  and the line came to a standstill.  After a few minutes we turned around.  This is a cautionary tale because once you tap to use a fast pass but don’t tap the second time you are in some fastpass limbo.   It was the technical version of…The Twighlight Fastpass Zone.

We got some dinner at Backlot Express – a surprisingly good “galactic” salad with black beans and avocado along with some “Corellian Spice Fries”.   While we ate we watched the Jedi Training show that got us pumped for the Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party.

party

The party was cute – my only complaint is that I wish there was seating.  The Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks were SPECTACULAR!   The coolest firework shapes – strobes, bees, star shapes, Saturn shapes and the MUSIC!  You get the chills from the music and the drama of the fireworks combined with other Star Wars sound effects.  It was also, hands down, the LOUDEST firework display I have ever witnessed.

You can see the full show online but it doesn’t do it justice.

We watched the Electric Light Pageant before going to bed.   The music is just too ridiculous to ignore.

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza!

Last Annual Pass Extravaganza!

As a way to honor our first and likely last annual passes we used up the remaining days of our passes along with some DVC points to check out a few resorts and the parks on a 5 day trip.   There was lots to see with the new Star Wars stuff along with the start of the Flower and Garden Festival.  This was one of the BEST TRIPS I’ve ever been on – mostly because we didn’t over plan and went with the flow (I also had the best company you could ask for – my Mom!).  The next few posts will go through each of the five days on the trip.

Day 1 – Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake

Now that Uber picks up at MCO we decided to avail ourselves of this service.  Word of caution – this was pricey.   I’ve taken UBER TO the airport from the parks and it was about $22 (and this proved to be true with this trip too).   Since a regular cab is about $60 from the airport to the parks, I figured that even though UberBLACK is more expensive it would still be worth it.   I was NOT expecting $20 in airport fees alone.  Uber does offer fare estimates that did indicate it would be this expensive so I recommend checking that out.

contemporary           room confirmation

 

We dropped off our bags at Bay Lake and went to the Contempo Cafe for lunch.  The Contempo Vegetable Salad had tofu and quinoa and was actually quite good!

Since we did online check-in we got the message that our room was ready via text and headed there and ordered our bags.

 

Since the perk of Bay Lake is the quick walk to MK we went there even though it was mid-day on a Saturday.   The lines were NUTS but we were able to visit the Enchanted Tiki Room.   The weather was perfect so it was nice to just walk around.

fez case

Since it was the last day of the trial of same day reservations for the Skipper
Canteen
– we were able to get a reservation for dinner.  The place is pretty big, has an eclectic but really good menu and a great amount of detail in each of the themed rooms.  There is fez case in the corner near the bookcase!  I wish I could spend the whole day with a Jungle Skipper.

After dinner we rode the Wedway People Mover and for the first time in years we had a ride with no issues!  I was almost bummed because it made the trip shorter.   We capped off the evening at the Top of the World Lounge then ran back to the room so we could watch the Electric Water Pageant.