Wednesday, September 27, 2006







~ Starry Waltz
~ Dancing in Space

Available now at Art166.com!


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Ah, the International Space Station --

. . . another of my dream destinations! One of the big projects for the recent Atlantis shuttle mission was to install some gi-normous solar panels on the International Space Station (ISS). They'll eventually be used for power (additional panels will be added by another shuttle crew).

The side effect of these panels is that the ISS is significantly brighter and more easily visible in the night sky. Last Thursday evening, our local meteorologists made a pretty big deal of letting us know the ISS was headed our way, and gave a 15-minute window of time when we could clearly see it crossing our skies on Friday morning. (As long as heavy cloud cover or rain didn't move in, and really, what were the odds of that?)

So, there I was, in the too-warm, yuck-clammy dark of 6:30 a.m., saying a hushed, but friendly, "Good morning!" to several of my early-to-work (or late-to-home) neighbors, pacing and staring into a brilliant, starry sky. Not one of my neighbors bothered to ask why I was out in the dark, or what I was looking for. (Hm, it's possible they know me better than I thought they did. Have I already become the "strange lady in the house down the block"? I like it!)

Anyway, at about 6:39 a.m., Eureka!, I spotted what looked like a very bright star coming my way (well, if stars were in the habit of smoothly sailing right past Orion's Belt)! It was approaching at a steady pace, from the southwest corner of the city, headed diagonally to the northeast. No telescope or binocs necessary -- my less-than-perfect vision was all it took for me to be part of this very exciting 4 or 5 minutes. As I watched the space station soaring almost directly overhead, I tried to create a telepathic link to the crew, just so they'd know I was thrilled to spend a few minutes of my day with them.

Okay, the telepathy thing didn't actually work, but it's the thought that counts . . .

You'll probably get a chance to see it, too. Click here to read a great article about the new solar panels and for more info about when and where you might see the ISS

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Today's images are posted purely because I'm in a celestial state of mind. You can purchase them at Art166.com or read more about them, here.

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In other news, I've somehow managed to lose, throw away, give away, hide, or otherwise misplace the power cord that goes to my trusty, if old, Fujitsu Tablet PC. How is it possible to misplace something that only serves one function, and, for 5 years, has ALWAYS been stored in the same place???

Which reminds me of the time I dreamed about putting my TV remote in a safe place and, a week later, found it in the freezer! But, that's a sleepwalker's story for another day!



28 comments:

  1. What are lovely images! The middle one looks like marvellous firework whereas the second one looks like a spaceship from outer space.

    Thank you for your sharing here. It reminds me that I have to stop for a moment and admire the beauty of the starry sky (which we seldom find in here).

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  2. what an interesting blog, thanks for the great info re the iss, have discovered it will fly over my house next week.
    your artwork is exciting,
    and definitely original!

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  3. Today's pictures cleary demonstrate your ability to create art with a computer. To start where you started and create a universe. Wow!

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  4. Your use of color and the composition knock my socks off. These are mesmerizing.

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  5. i would have never thought of looking for my too often loss remotes in the freezer, lol..that is hillarious. so you are in a Celestial mood you say,,well, it does wonder for you, for your work is marvelous. i love it. good job girl..

    glad that you got to see the panels and that your neighbours at least know not to ask questions, lol..don't need noisy people around you. hugs.

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  6. Hi, Fenn! I'm glad you stopped by, today. Beyond the so-so politics of space travel, the idea of space exploration is very exciting to me. You might schedule some "family time" to drive outside of your very big city to get an occasional peek at the stars!

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  7. Thank you, Sarah; I'm glad you enjoyed visiting Art166! I sure hope you get to see the Space Station -- it's an experience that reminded me that we, as a human race, are both bigger and smaller than we think we are!

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  8. Thanks, Dr. John! If you think that's something, you wouldn't believe some of the images floating around in my head!

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  9. Happy to have mesmerized you, Nancy! Color is definitely my first love; the colors here seemed a no-brainer, considering the celestial theme.

    Nice socks, by the way!

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  10. Thanks, Chana! I didn't think to look in the freezer either, which is why my remote ended up spending a week there!

    Actually, I think my neighbors are afraid to ask questions!

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  11. Is the original image the little lamp thingie that dentists use? You are truly amazing at taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary!

    When we lived in Maine, my husband dragged my daughter and I out of the house at 4am to view the Perseid meteor shower one year at the beach.

    I moaned and groaned, but I was still coaxed into going. We took our sub-zero sleeping bags, some mugs of coffee (hot chocolate for my daughter) and watched a magical celestial event. I thought we'd be the only ones crazy enough to get up and watch, but we were not alone!

    On misplacing things...I do it all the time because I'm normally functioning in warp speed and do things unconsiously.

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  12. As usual it is always exciting to see what you do with the computer and read your stories. Hi, just got back from the uk and still a bit tired out. Haven't started doing my blog yet, thought I would make the rounds and say hi to some of my fave bloggers.
    Hope all is well with you :)

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  13. Love the pictures again . I love the stars. I have been know to go out and just look up My window in my bedroom as a child was low to the floor and I would put my blankets on the floor and sleep there so I could look up at the stars.

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  14. Ahh W.J. these are fantastical!! I love how you turned that oral surgeon's lamp into beautiful celestial dances...both of these are so gorgeous! I am flabbergasted about the space station being viewable from earth, I had NO idea that was possible. I imagined it being so so so far from us in deep black space. I am going to go check your link to see if it will be viewable in my area cause you can bet I'll be out there in the middle of the night, like you, to get a glimpse of it!

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  15. Wow, these are fantastic w.j., what a gift. We haven't had a clear night sky in weeks, too many trees, too much weather thank you for sharing this experience!

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  16. Great images. Was surfing the net yesterday and just briefly came across an article about Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines) wanting to produce a tv show called Astronaut Idol. Do a google search and you will find some news on it. Maybe you could be one of the contestants!

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  17. Naaaa - I reckon it was the USS Enterprise.

    Make it so!

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  18. oh boy, thanks for sharing the link W.J. cause it's going to be viewable here in Virginia from Oct. 5 through 11! You can bet I'll be out there to see it with my own eyes!

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  19. WJS, lovely images once again, you have to do a tutorial sometime for we less artistically inclined.

    Cheers for the nasa link, emailed it to my brother in law, he's an amateur astronomer of sorts and I think he'll be keeping his telescope pointing upwards in the lovely East Yorkshire sky.

    Hope you find your power cable soon, if it's a unique type they can be hard to get replacements.

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  20. Thanks, Cynthia, yep, that's an exam lamp in my Oral Surgeon's office. People should know better than to leave me alone in a new environment!

    I try never to miss the meteor showers. So far, I haven't been able to get out of the city to view the Perseids clearly, but it's still a blast. You were lucky to share that with your family.

    On misplacing things -- 9 times out of 10 when I've misplaced something, it's a direct result of my sleepwalking. Ah, the joys of abnormal brain chemistry!

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  21. Welcome back, Jafa! Hope you had an amazing trip!

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  22. Thank you, Betty! I used to sneak out to the back steps for my nocturnal stargazing. I can't count the times my mother retreived me from that spot!

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  23. That's great news, Lynette! I'll keep my fingers crossed that your skies are clear long enough for you to see it. Rain was the last thing I had to worry about!

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  24. It was my pleasure, Kat. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip!

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  25. Thanks, Janvangogh, and thanks for the "Astronaut Idol" tip! I'm a big fan of Richard Branson -- leave it to him to come up with the ultimate trip! Unfortunately, I doubt if I'd meet the health (or age!)requirements. I'll be watching to see if he gets the show off the ground, though!

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  26. Hi, TC! Did you see that Christie's (or one of the big auction houses) is auctioning off hundreds of props from the "Star Trek" universe? One of the items is a 4'or 5' USS Enterprise model. How great would that look suspended from my living room ceiling?

    Now, make that so!

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  27. Thanks, John, and glad you (your BIL) found the link useful.

    Yikes, I don't think I could ever do a tutorial! I don't keep any kind of notes as I go and use tons of layers with various opacity settings, etc . . . I could point out some specific filters or plug-ins, but that would be about it.

    Undisciplined, I know, but it works for me!

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  28. Gosh look what you did while I was away... You never fail to surprise with the beauty you can create, these are fantastic W.J. Love them all.

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