Lowell Observatory in the late afternoon to catch the sunset and wait for the evening programs to begin.
I don't think I told you that we had tickets to the McDonald Observatory's star party the second night of this trip, and had to miss it since the Observatory was closed for the snowstorm. We were already in New Mexico anyway...
I was secretly devastated, but held out hope we'd get back through West Texas later in the trip. I'll see the 102-inch telescope sometime soon, but not on this trip, so we settled for Lowell's 24-inch Clark telescope instead.
The campus at Lowell is serene and creatively lit, and was busy with holiday tourists.
We did get a look at Jupiter, the surface of the Moon, and some really neat artifacts of Astronomy history... One in particular struck a chord with me, the Blink Comparator, which is the instrument Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto.
The apparatus takes two photos of the night sky, and superimposes them on each other, revealing near-orbit objects through the principal of parallax. Parallax is one of my favorite observances in physics, and one of the first tangible manifestations of perspective I can ever remember experiencing. My Dad only sees with one eye, and I remember being about 4 years old when he taught me about binocular vision, my superpower. You've experienced parallax before too, if you've ever been driving an old car, looking at the speedometer and you see a different speed than the passenger can see from their perspective because of the angle of the needle. Parallax doesn't just apply to astronomical objects...
So now I sit high in the mountains, winding down and enjoying the day's perspective... with clean laundry. Tomorrow, I will peek at the Grand Canyon and make the journey to Zion National Park. Everyone enjoy your own parallax this New Year's Eve... responsibly, of course.
There is just no explanation for this face... but it was my beer. Bart ordered the Sangria, I'm sure you guessed that.