Monday, August 31, 2009

Fires in NSW

Did we miss winter this year?
Tomorrow is the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere and in Australia it has been heralded by gale force winds, lack of rain, and temps in the mid 20's.
Local farmers lament the lack of rain that promotes healthy pasture for the months ahead with the forests tinder dry.
These conditions were answered by a number of fires across the state last week.
Eurobodalla, our local shire, has three fires going at the moment with the blaze at Dromedary being the largest having burnt some 2874 Ha ( and still going).
This was the scene last Friday afternoon...

Saturday morning, after gale force winds, it looked a little more intense....

Dromedary is under the big pall of smoke.

There was even a small fire upriver of Bermagui.

It was listed on the NSW Rural Fire Service site, though was small by comparison and seems to have been put out.

On Saturday afternoon a change came through with some rain, giving some relief to tireless firefighters. We still need much more though.
My thoughts go out to those in the Tilba area who are on alert as high winds continue from the South West.
With continuing high winds and temps, NSW is a tinderbox.
Consideration of the conditions and the consequences of ignoring them at the forefront of many living in the country as we leave winter today.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a theory

With things being busy of late, I have not had the time to go out there and take shots, let alone post them to this site.
Sure, I have a couple of things that have been floating around for a while I could post, though I thought it was high time to post a theory I have been floating for longer.
It involves life, the universe and everything (we miss you Douglas Adams) and was prompted to the forefront by a program I saw the other day.
The program was on the possibilities of life having existed on Mars.
Seems that the planet had a large moon that orbited with the effect that the core was rotated creating a magnetic field.
This is a good thing, as magnetic fields protect the atmosphere of a planet from erosion caused by solar wind from the sun as illustrated below. ( courtesy of Wikipedia)

Perhaps we owe a little more to the moon than the tides then?
Perhaps we need to look for life on planets with big satellites that churn their cores producing magnetic fields?
Anyway, mars is thought to have had a run in with its satellite- the collision warping the planet's shape- and, once alone in its orbit with the core not rotating, solar winds stripped off the remaining atmosphere giving us the atmosphere thin desert planet we have today.
All good, but what happened to the satellite?
Was it vaporized by the impact?
To churn the core of Mars it must have been fairly large.
Where did it go?
If you know what the plane of the ecliptic is, you would know that we (the planets) sit in a nice flat orbit around the sun (mostly). There is an exception.
Pluto(see article) is not part of that plane, nor is its orbit all that even.
This little "planet" zips around sometimes very distant and, at other times, is well within the orbit of the more regular true planet Neptune.

(Image of Pluto courtesy Wikipedia)

Seems to me that this little object is a johnny come lately to our planetary system.
It also has a satellite(of sorts) to call its own.
Charon (see article)is its name and, strangely enough, it is thought to consist mainly of ice.
Do you know what happens to water in zero gravity? it floats in little balls.

(Image of Charon courtesy Wikipedia)

When that zero gravity is cold enough you get ice.
Am I constructing a picture here? sure.
I propose that the "planet" known as Pluto was the satellite of Mars in some distant time, flung off into the outer solar system by the collision that took place between them.
As it left, its gravitational pull appropriated the water vapour that was generated from the seas of Mars, which condensed and formed Charon, the two destined to orbit oneanother in the far reaches of our system.

"Simulation work published in 2005 by Robin Canup suggested that Charon could have been formed by a giant impact around 4.5 billion years ago, much like the Earth and Moon. In this model a large Kuiper belt object struck Pluto at high velocity, destroying itself and blasting off much of Pluto's outer mantle, and Charon coalesced from the debris. However, such an impact should result in an icier Charon and rockier Pluto than what scientists have found. It is now thought that Pluto and Charon may have been two bodies that collided before going into orbit about each other. The collision would have been violent enough to boil off volatile ices like methane but not violent enough to have destroyed either body." (Wikipedia)

One good thing about a theory is that it cannot be proven or rejected without research.
I shall leave that to another.
I look forward to the results should I be here to see them.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A coastal treck

It was good to have Denis come down for another visit last week.
It gave me an opportunity to share some of the wilder parts of the territory in which I live.

Hidden coves with mountainous surrounds, riddled with treacherous slippery rocks is where we went.
I'm sure the scenery was worth it :)

These rock pools, with vivid red anemone were a good find.
They show the way in which the creature retracts its tentacles when faced with violent seas and the waterless conditions that it endures.

This Striated ( or Mangrove) Heron was a little shy of the camera.
Possibly due to the fact that he usually seen this far down the NSW coast.

As was this White Faced Heron.

Though, with careful stalking, I was able to get close enough for this shot.

Yes, an eventful trip that saw two weary photographers glad to be home.

We have yet to track down the elusive Death Adders that live down here.
Perhaps that will have to wait for another visit :)