A collection of my photos that have been published online and in magazines:
Portland Magazine - May 2017
Restaurant Review - Barnacle Billy's
Orion always comes up sideways
By Deborah Byrd in TODAY'S IMAGE | November 14, 2014
Patricia Evans shares her new skill at astrophotography and a poem by Robert Frost.
Patricia Evans wrote:
Orion is my favorite constellation. It’s always exciting to see it low on the horizon in the east sky for the first time in November. Last night was the first time I had a chance to see it.
I recently participated in an Astrophotography 101 workshop so I applied my newly learned skills and attempted to capture Orion in a photograph. I still have much to learn about night sky photography, but I was excited to see Orion, and so many other stars, in my photo! The rising moon washed out the lower left corner of the picture but Orion is clear, rising over the treeline on the hillside.
My friend sent me this poem, The Star Splitter by Robert Frost, when she saw it. I am sure you must already know it. It is especially meaningful to me because Robert Frost’s farm is not far from my home. I love the first three lines… they describe exactly how Orion sits just about the treeline on my mountain…
The Star Splitter
By Robert Frost
You know Orion always comes up sideways.
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
I should have done by daylight, and indeed,
After the ground is frozen, I should have done
Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful
Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney
To make fun of my way of doing things,
Or else fun of Orion’s having caught me.
Has a man, I should like to ask, no rights
These forces are obliged to pay respect to?”
So Brad McLaughlin mingled reckless talk
Of heavenly stars with hugger-mugger farming,
Till having failed at hugger-mugger farming,
He burned his house down for the fire insurance
And spent the proceeds on a telescope
To satisfy a life-long curiosity
About our place among the infinities.
“What do you want with one of those blame things?”
I asked him well beforehand. “Don’t you get one!”
“Don’t call it blamed; there isn’t anything
More blameless in the sense of being less
A weapon in our human fight,” he said.
“I’ll have one if I sell my farm to buy it.”
There where he moved the rocks to plow the ground
And plowed between the rocks he couldn’t move,
Few farms changed hands; so rather than spend years
Trying to sell his farm and then not selling,
He burned his house down for the fire insurance
And bought the telescope with what it came to.
He had been heard to say by several:
“The best thing that we’re put here for’s to see;
The strongest thing that’s given us to see with’s
A telescope. Someone in every town
Seems to me owes it to the town to keep one.
In Littleton it may as well be me.”
After such loose talk it was no surprise
When he did what he did and burned his house down.
Mean laughter went about the town that day
To let him know we weren’t the least imposed on,
And he could wait–we’d see to him to-morrow.
But the first thing next morning we reflected
If one by one we counted people out
For the least sin, it wouldn’t take us long
To get so we had no one left to live with.
For to be social is to be forgiving.
Our thief, the one who does our stealing from us,
We don’t cut off from coming to church suppers,
But what we miss we go to him and ask for.
He promptly gives it back, that is if still
Uneaten, unworn out, or undisposed of.
It wouldn’t do to be too hard on Brad
About his telescope. Beyond the age
Of being given one’s gift for Christmas,
He had to take the best way he knew how
To find himself in one. Well, all we said was
He took a strange thing to be roguish over.
Some sympathy was wasted on the house,
A good old-timer dating back along;
But a house isn’t sentient; the house
Didn’t feel anything. And if it did,
Why not regard it as a sacrifice,
And an old-fashioned sacrifice by fire,
Instead of a new-fashioned one at auction?
Out of a house and so out of a farm
At one stroke (of a match), Brad had to turn
To earn a living on the Concord railroad,
As under-ticket-agent at a station
Where his job, when he wasn’t selling tickets,
Was setting out up track and down, not plants
As on a farm, but planets, evening stars
That varied in their hue from red to green.
He got a good glass for six hundred dollars.
His new job gave him leisure for star-gazing.
Often he bid me come and have a look
Up the brass barrel, velvet black inside,
At a star quaking in the other end.
I recollect a night of broken clouds
And underfoot snow melted down to ice,
And melting further in the wind to mud.
Bradford and I had out the telescope.
We spread our two legs as it spread its three,
Pointed our thoughts the way we pointed it,
And standing at our leisure till the day broke,
Said some of the best things we ever said.
That telescope was christened the Star-splitter,
Because it didn’t do a thing but split
A star in two or three the way you split
A globule of quicksilver in your hand
With one stroke of your finger in the middle.
It’s a star-splitter if there ever was one
And ought to do some good if splitting stars
‘Sa thing to be compared with splitting wood.
We’ve looked and looked, but after all where are we?
Do we know any better where we are,
And how it stands between the night to-night
And a man with a smoky lantern chimney?
How different from the way it ever stood?
Dress Codes and Etiquette, Part 1: What Not to Wear to High School in the 1960s
Before the Age of Aquarius, there was the age of administrators and their button-down rules about students’ wardrobes
October 15, 2012
Stories about dress code enforcement have continued to pop up in the news. For work, school and leisure, strict rules about proper etiquette are bulleted on website after website. No trench coats to high school. No low-backed dresses to prom. No visible tattoos and piercings on teachers. No hooded sweatshirts if you’re going out dancing. No zippered jackets when visiting a magic castle. No satin (unless it’s from Betsey Johnson or Dolce & Gabbana) to pledge a sorority. Lots of regulations from the powers that be—some with explanations, others just because.
When it came to dressing for high school in the early to mid-1960s, the clean, neatly shorn and well-pressed conformity of the student body, with its tucked-in shirts and shined shoes, was expected. I came upon a handful of strongly worded dress codes from the ’60s itemizing what was acceptable and unacceptable—from clothes to hairstyles, accessories and makeup—and I’ve excerpted my favorite bits or reprinted full guidelines. What could get you sent home from school reflected the cultural trends on the cusp of ’60s counterculture revolution. Perhaps square school administrators were pulling in the reins in anticipation of the bell-bottoms and long hair that were just on the horizon.
At Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, New Hampshire: no “Beatle-boots” for boys!
1. Dungarees, shorts, and Beatle-boots are not acceptable.
2. Faces are to be clean-shaven.
3. Sport shirts may be worn, but fully buttoned.
1. Make-up is to be kept in moderation.
2. Skirts and dresses shall be worn at a proper length for teenagers.
3. Slacks and shorts are not acceptable as regular school wear.
Stay tuned as we continue to look back at dress codes and clothing etiquette. In the meantime, do you remember abiding by a dress code at school? Were you ever sent home for wearing the wrong thing?
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/dress-codes-and-etiquette-part-1-what-not-to-wear-to-high-school-in-the-1960s-74464285/#IyQioA46rLJGwuiV.99
Hole-punch clouds are made by jets
Sometimes people report them as UFOs, but they’re called hole-punch clouds and they’re made by jets. The connection between hole-punch clouds, jets and snowfall.
You’re probably familiar with contrails, the wispy strands of clouds made by jet exhaust high in the sky. But if you’ve ever seen a hole-punch cloud, sometimes called a fallstreak hole, you’ll be surprised by their strange appearance. They look like strange clearings in an altocumulus cloud layer, often-circular patches of clear sky, surrounded by clouds. Sometimes people report them as UFOs. Airplanes create hole-punch clouds – but just how do they do it?
According to weather.com, an altocumulus cloud layer is:
… composed of small water droplets that are below freezing called ‘supercooled water droplets.’ If ice crystals can form in the layer of supercooled droplets, they will grow rapidly and shrink or possibly evaporate the droplets completely.
Studies, including this one by Andrew Heymsfield and collaborators, have shown that aircraft passing through these cloud layers can trigger the formation of the heavier ice crystals, which fall to Earth and then leave the circular void in the blanket of clouds.
They concluded that aircraft propellers and wings cause the formation of those initial ice crystals. There are zones of locally low pressure along the wing and propeller tips which allow the air to expand and cool well below the original temperature of the cloud layer, forming ice crystals.
Andrew Heymsfield of the National Center for Atmospheric Research spoke with EarthSky some years ago, when his study first appeared. He told us:
This whole idea of jet aircraft making these features has to do with cooling of air over the wings that generates ice.
His team found that – at lower altitudes – jets can punch holes in clouds and make small amounts of rain and snow. As a plane flies through mid-level clouds, it forces air to expand rapidly and cool. Water droplets in the cloud freeze to ice and then turn to snow as they fall. The gap expands to create spectacular holes in the clouds. He said:
We found an exemplary case of hole-punch clouds over Texas. From satellite imagery you could see holes just pocketing the sky, holes and long channels where aircraft had been flying at that level of the cloud for a while.
Dr. Heymsfield used a weather forecast model developed at NCAR – and radar images of clouds from NASA’s CloudSat satellite – to explain the physics of how jet aircraft make hole-punch clouds.
Heymsfield’s team found that every measurable commercial jet aircraft, private jet aircraft and also military jets as well as turbo props were producing these holes. He said a hole-punch cloud expands for hours after being created. Major airports, where there’s a lot of aircraft traffic, would be a good place to study cloud holes. He said:
What we decided to do was look at major airports around the world, especially where there’s low cloud cover and cold clouds in the wintertime, and found that the frequency of occurrence suitable for this process to occur is actually reasonably high, on the order of three to five percent. In the winter months, it’s probably two to three times higher, 10 to 15 percent.
He said people who look out their airplane window in flight can see for themselves how the wing changes a cloud.
When an aircraft lands or takes off sometimes – especially in humid, tropical areas – you see a little veil of clouds over the wings of the aircraft. And basically, what’s happening over the wings of the aircraft, there’s cooling. And the cooling produces a cloud.
It’s basically a super-cooled cloud. It’s just like a fog you see at the ground except that its temperature is zero degrees centigrade. So in that process of expanding, the air expands over the wing and cools. And that cooling can be as much as 20 degrees centigrade.
The cooling of air over the wings generates ice, said Heymsfield.
About the Texas incident where satellite imagery showed many hole-punch openings and channels, Heymsfield said:
What we found was that there were about a hundred of these little features. We decided to, first of all, identify their location and see if we could link them to particular aircraft. Then the second thing we did was say, okay, why do these long channels last for the period of time it would take for a satellite to take a snapshot of them? We got high-time-resolution satellite imagery and were able then to track these features, these holes, and watch them develop with time, watch how they developed.
How to spot ISS in your sky
By Deanna Conners in HUMAN WORLD | SPACE | November 5, 2016
A new map-based feature in NASA’s Spot the Station program makes it even easier to track the International Space Station as it passes over you.
This Wednesday (November 2, 2016) marked 16 years of humans living and working continuously aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Every so often, you can see the ISS in your night sky. To us on Earth, it looks like a bright star moving quickly above the horizon. Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, it disappears. So how do you know when you can see the ISS pass overhead?
NASA has a great tool to help – the Spot the Station program lets you sign up to receive alerts to let you know when the ISS will be visible from your location – anywhere in the world. And now, a new map-based feature makes it track when to look for the station as it flies over you in your night sky. According to a NASA statement:
The easy-to-navigate map lets users type a location directly into the search box, zoom, pan and search the map. Blue pins populate the map, identifying the best sighting opportunities for each location with a 50-miles radius around each pin. Visible to the naked eye, the station is best seen at dawn and dusk, and is the third brightest object in the sky.
You can get also sign up for alerts via email or text message. Typically, alerts are sent out a few times each month when the station’s orbit is near your location. Visit the Spot the Station website here to sign up, and view a list of upcoming sighting opportunities.
If you sign up for NASA’s Spot the Station service, notices will be sent to you only when the ISS will be clearly visible from your location for at least a couple of minutes. If you live north of 51.6 degrees latitude (for example, in Alaska), you will likely have to visit the website to find sighting opportunities because notifications in this region would be rare.
The notices contain information on where to look for the ISS in the night sky. Just note where the sun sets and you can easily find the direction where the station will appear (for example, in the southwest or in the northwest). The height at which the station will appear is given in degrees. Just remember that 90 degrees is directly over your head. Any number less than 90 degrees will mean that the station will appear somewhere between the horizon and the 90 degree mark. The station is so bright that it is really hard to miss if you’re looking in the correct direction. Alternatively, you can stretch out your fist at arm’s length toward the horizon, which is equivalent to about 10 degrees. Then, just use the appropriate number of fist-lengths to find the location marker, e.g., four fist-lengths from the horizon would be equivalent to about 40 degrees.
NASA’s Spot the Station program is great. I’ve seen the station fly over many times now, and it’s a pretty amazing experience. It gets you thinking about how far our technology has advanced.
The first module of the ISS was launched into space in 1998 and the initial construction of the station took about two years to complete. Human occupation of the station began on November 2, 2000. Since that time, the ISS has been continuously occupied. The ISS serves as both an orbiting laboratory and a port for international spacecraft. The primary partnering countries involved in operating the ISS include the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia.
The ISS orbits at approximately 220 miles (350 km) above the Earth and it travels at an average speed of 17,227 miles (27,724 km) per hour. The ISS makes multiple orbits around the Earth every day.
Bottom line: Check out the ISS in the night sky the next time it flies over your location.
Moonlit night of plum blossoms, and other great moon and Jupiter photos
By Deborah Byrd in TODAY'S IMAGE | March 3, 2015
Beautiful photos of the March 2, 2015 moon and Jupiter. Our thanks to all who posted at EarthSky Facebook and G+, and submitted directly to EarthSky.org.
Last night's moon, Venus and Jupiter from Patricia Evans in North Billerica, MA. In a parking lot after work!
On Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 11:17 AM, Patricia Evans <email@example.com> wrote:
Location: United States
Date and Time Taken: January 13, 2015 11:08 PM
Story behind the image:
The sky was crystal clear last night. No clouds and the stars were shining brightly... a perfect opportunity to try to locate Comet Lovejoy in the sky, right? Did it really matter that it was 10° outside? Not at all! I was wearing layers of fleece... a warm coat... and a hat... and a scarf... and gloves. I had a fully charged battery for my camera, too... knowing that the cold temperature would drain it quickly.
Using the Comet Lovejoy tracking chart and instructions for locating the comet that were posted on the skyandtelescope.com website, I ventured out. I used binoculars to locate what I thought was the comet and aimed my camera in that direction. After taking five long exposure shots, I went in to see how they looked on my computer screen, and was thrilled to see a fuzzy green spot in most of my images, almost due South of Pleiades!
I am just a beginner with astrophography. I participated in two field workshops in October to learn the basics. And I have been practicing mostly in my own backyard. But I have learned enough to allow me to capture the image of this comet. I was so excited when I saw it in my photograph, I didn't feel cold anymore!
Equipment Details: Nikon D7000 - f/4.0 - ISO 6400 - 30 second exposure
Post-processing Details: Photoshop Elements 11 for increasing the contrast slightly and also to reduce the reddish hue from a street light on the trees below.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
As I was walking to my car after work tonight I looked up, as I always do, and noticed that the moon seemed super bright and sharply defined against a twilight sky. It seemed like a good opportunity to capture the details of the craters, which I find fascinating.
Fortunately, I had my tripod in my car, so I set it up, and set the self-timer on the 10 second setting, so I could avoid as much camera movement as possible. After a few test shots, I finally captured this image that shows clearly defined craters. Now I am busy matching up the descriptive names with the various craters... Sea of Serenity, Sea of Tranquility, Sea of Nectar, Sea of Showers, Sea of Clouds, Copernicus, Sea of Moisture, Sea of Storms and so many more!
The moon tonight is waxing gibbous, one-half but not fully illuminated. To be precise, it is 63% illuminated tonight. It also appears a bit lop-sided, or asEarthSky.org describes in their Sept. 12, 2016 article "Where's the Moon? Waxing Gibbous"... "The word gibbous comes from a root word that means hump-backed. "
~ Canon SX50 HS - f/5.6 - ISO 200 - 1/160 sec - focal length 215 mm equivalent.