Archive | February, 2015

4 Valentine’s Day events for the budget minded

8 Feb

When we think of Valentine’s day our thoughts are filled with chocolates, rose, hearts and romantic dinners with a special person. That is not all there is to Valentine’s Day. It a day to show friends and loved one you are thinking about them, a day to spend sometime doing things with the whole family and a day to learn a little of the nature and beauty that surrounds us everyday.

The follow is a few events to help celebrate the day:

Family night

Show the kids a little of that Valentine love by taking them to the Crossroad shopping center in Bellevue. The fun there starts at 5 in the evening and last until 9 leaving the parents plenty of time to get the kids home and still enjoy a romantic late evening. While you at the family night you and the kids can enjoy the comedy, juggling and magic of Alex Zerbe; eat free popcorn; play games and do fun Valentine’s Day crafts.

Orchard mason bees

A lecture on bees probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list on Valentine’s Day but maybe it should be on there somewhere. So, if your near the Seattle community Shoreline why not take some time and stop in at Sky nursery where at 11 in the morning you can hear Ray Strelicki talk about the importance of our native orchard mason bee.

On the river, down the road

Down in Seattle suburb of Bellevue you might think about taking your Valentine down to the Bellevue Art Museum to see the Jason Walker exhibits. Jason Walker is a Northwest artist that does magnificent and fanciful ceramic sculptures depicting the natural landscapes and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest.

PDX Injection

Listening to live bands and dancing is always a good way to end your Valentine’s Day. At the Blue Moon tavern in Settle you can do just that as the evening winds down. At 8:00 three of the Northwest’s up & coming hip hop band will play some toe tapping beats. Cover charge is 5 dollars.

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The Philae lander could wake up this Spring

8 Feb

The ESA (European Space Agency) may finally re-establish contact with the Philae lander sometime in May or June. That is when the comet 67P/Churgumov-Gerasimenka will be close enough to the Sun to recharge the batteries of the probe. Then Philae will be able to continue its mission that was cut short two and a half months ago.

“Now we need the extra solar illumination provided by the comet’s closer proximity to the Sun by that time in order to bring the lander back to life,” said Lander Project Manager Stephan Ulamec from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Because of the location and the solar panel not being fully deployed the land won’t be able to take full advantage of the Sun when the comet is within range. So, if and when the Philae lander does wake up it might not be enough to restore access to all of its instruments.

We are already discussing and preparing which instruments should be operated for how long,” project scientist Stephan Ulamec said in a statement.

The Philae lander first made news last November when it became the first man-made object to land on a comet. The landing, though, didn’t go exactly the way it was planned when the anchoring harpoons did not function properly causing the lander to bounce a few times. It ended up finally coming back down in area that would only provide the batteries a fifth, 1.3 of the 6.5 hours, of the sunlight it needs each 12.4 comet day it needs to re-charge. Leaving Philae only enough power to last a couple of days before going dark.

The rough landing that caused the Philae probe to wind up in the wrong location has some good and bad aspects. The bad part of the land was that by landing where it did the probe ran out of power and went into sleep mode. The good news those is that by landing in a more shaded area, of the comet, Philae will be protect from the heat of the Sun that would have killed it.

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