Astrophoto Bucket List

After the eclipse on August 21st, I took a deep breath.  I spent a year focussed on photographing the eclipse, and with that goal complete, what was next?  I was in the plateau of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, a couple dozen miles from Yellowstone, and had three days to enjoy with my fiancee.  As luck would have it, those days were absent of any clouds, giving me two perfect evenings in clear, dark, dry skies to do some of the best astrophotography of my life.  Here’s what I shot. The milky way shot for me is a...

Martian Water is Quick-Boil

At this stage of our understanding of the planet Mars, we have seen salty water flowing (recurring slope lineae), found evidence of ancient riverbeds, and seen seasonal changes in the polar caps.  But an important question is how does water behave on Mars? A bit of science here on Earth gives some insight. Water at sea level on Earth boils at 100 degrees Celsius, which actually defined the Celsius scale.  But as pressure changes, liquids boil at different temperatures.  As the atmosphere gets thinner, the boiling temperature of water decreases.  On Mars, with it’s extremely thin atmosphere, this means that water...

White Fingers on Mars

What do you think made the bright features in the picture below? Was it a deep layer of rock underneath sand that was swept away by wind? Or maybe it was salt left over from the drying of an ancient lake? Or perhaps even ash left over by an ancient volcano.  One of the answers is correct, and not the one I was hoping for. I wish it was from an ancient lakebed, oh what the salt deposits could teach us.  But alas, it is only volcanic ash.  So as true scientists, we follow what the data tells us, and learn...