Today, I announced my bid for Fort Collins City Council, in District 5 (the current councilmember, Kelly Ohlson, is term-limited). You can read all about it at http://www.rosscunniff.com - it should be a great adventure!
This is the story of an epic adventure. These two photos are iconic of our experience:
This trip was nearly two years in the making. Jill's mom, Marie, started talking about a trip to Ecuador that a mutual friend of ours had made. I mentioned that I had always wanted to see the Galápagos Islands, and it turned out that she has, too. So we embarked on a grand plan.
I started by researching various Galápagos tour groups; I found this website describing Galápagos trips in 2009 and 2013 particularly helpful. We chose Ecoventura for our tour group; they came highly recommended, have been in operation for a long time, and have a strong commitment to sustainability. I also highly recommend them; they were very helpful preparing for the trip, and the service provided by the crew and guides was top-notch. For a ship, we chose the MV Origin, partly because of its very large windows (hoping that would reduce chances of seasickness). Additionally, its newer design makes it more than 30% mo…
This morning was a Total Lunar Eclipse. Despite the moon setting during totality, I decided to take a sequence. Here is a collage of photos taken roughly every 10 minutes (I say roughly, since I was dodging clouds the whole time). Taken from the sidewalk in front of our house:
Here is an animated GIF of the sequence:
And here is a parting shot of the moon in eclipse setting over Arthur's Rock and The Big A:
On February 6, 2018, SpaceX performed its test launch of its new Falcon Heavy rocket. It was a very successful launch. As most people know, the payload was Elon Musk's 2008 Tesla Roadster. After orbiting the Earth for a few hours, the upper stage lit up again and sent the Tesla on a Solar orbit:
Musk has famously tweeted that the Tesla will be orbiting for "a billion years." This is extremely unlikely. In fact, it will likely crash into the Sun, or a planet (most likely Earth but perhaps Venus), or be ejected from the Solar System.
To try to characterize this, I went to NASA's JPL Horizons web page to get current Cartesian elements for the Tesla (these are vectors of position and velocity). These are the elements as of today, February 10, 2018:
2458159.500000000 = A.D. 2018-Feb-10 00:00:00.0000 TDB X =-7.690802173107607E-01 Y = 6.236475652855626E-01 Z =-1.393643118679943E-03 VX=-1.252512462814835E-02 VY=-1.488196764720…