Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Connecting the Dots

[Satellite image, United States and adjoining countries, about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 23, 2020. Click to enlarge.]

Ever wonder why you can't see the stars? Ever wonder why there are few bears and essentially no bobcats in southern New Jersey? Ever wonder why timber wolves and mountain lions will never again come to the east coast? Connect the dots.

In the northeast/mid-Atlantic, the bright line goes from top right (northeast) to bottom left (southwest). Like this:

New York City/Newark/Jersey City.
Baltimore/Washington, D.C.

People, that's us seen from space. If you wander down to Florida, you'll readily find Orlando, Miami, and Tampa. This is good. The aliens will know where to aim.

With the "Great Convergence - Christmas Star" Jupiter-Saturn thingy going on, a lot of people are looking at satellite imagery hoping for a break in the clouds. The satellite imagery has a more proximal message, however.

There ought to be black bears and bobcats in southern NJ (blueberry growers may disagree about the bears). But they can't get here from their northern and western haunts, because they have to cross the (in)famous Route 1 corridor, the stretch from NYC to Philly that I, in complete agreement, also avoid. 

As white-tailed deer numbers exploded in the 1980's and 1990's, well meaning people suggested re-introducing wolves and mountain lions to the east. But wolves and mountain lions don't want to come east. Wolves in northern tier states have been shown to avoid even crossing rural roads. And there's the added problem of the occasional mountain lion that fetches up and kills and eats a female jogger.

Just seeing the light(s). Living where it's dark.

[The Great Convergence of Jupiter and Saturn, known as the Christmas star, at their closest in about 400 years on the winter solstice. 800 years until they appear this close again, but they aren't all that close: Jupiter is about 552 million miles from earth, and Saturn is 456 million miles beyond Jupiter. Something to think about the next time you try to identify a distant bird. . .Click to enlarge.]



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