Friday, August 20, 2010

Of sagebrush, star clusters, and yarn, part 1

It's been a busy week! Not only did I make progress on my Fleurette jacket:

and some progress on my stealth socks in self-patterning Sockotta:

but I also spent the week being part of a week-long summer workshop, working with this group of elementary teachers in Bend, Oregon:
Yes, those are telescopes, and yes, we're out in the pines, juniper, and sagebrush... and we're also tromping around at 6500 feet, an elevation where the 80 degree day is about to become a 30 degree night. Why? Because that night we were on a field trip here:

That's one of the three domes at Pine Mountain Observatory, where we went for one of their educational outreach programs. From 7:00 until after midnight, we learned about the phases of the moon with physical models ("Now, holding out your moon model, stand so that your moon looks like the moon in the sky..."), learned why dark bands appear in the eastern sky as the sun sets (the umbra and penumbra of the earth itself), spotted Venus as she emerged as the evening star, watched the constellations come out and move around the sky, and trained the telescopes, including one of the big dome telescopes, on various objects in the sky. We saw star clusters, several nebulae, at least one galaxy, and all of the planets except Mercury.

Bend is in central Oregon, on the east side of the Cascades, where the mountains slope down in into high desert. Having taken a hotel room near the downtown area, I was within blocks of the main downtown area and lovely Drake Park, where I took my morning and evening walks alongside Mirror Pond -- actually the Deschutes River, excavated to be wide, shallow, and slow-moving:

Nice place to build a home... must be nice to afford that!

But you can't beat that neighborhood, really.

Even a pretty footbridge to get from one side of the park to the other.

Now, before this post gets too picture heavy, I'll cut off there and make y'all wait for the second post to learn about the sightseeing I looked forward to -- the yarn shops!

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