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View Full Version : Happy Perhihelion Day!



Hale_Bopp
2002-Jan-02, 08:15 PM
According to Sky & Telescopes web site, today is Earth's perihelion, the day we are closest to the Sun.

Contrary to common belief it is far from summer here /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Rob

Peter B
2002-Jan-02, 08:59 PM
I don't know what news you get from Australia in the northern hemisphere, but it's certainly been warm in and around Sydney lately.

ToSeek
2002-Jan-02, 09:11 PM
On 2002-01-02 15:59, Peter B wrote:
I don't know what news you get from Australia in the northern hemisphere, but it's certainly been warm in and around Sydney lately.


How are all those fires in the area affecting you?

Peter B
2002-Jan-03, 03:06 AM
Well, I don't know whether it counts as astronomy, but you did ask. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

I live in Canberra, where we had five bushfires in and around the city on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Canberra's an open, park-like city, with areas of bushland within the city. One fire closed several major roads for a couple of days, and another burned right past my old school.

Sydney, on the other hand, has really taken a hammering. There are fires all around it, some of them linking up to form fire fronts of tens of kilometres. Two days ago a fire in parkland inside the city threatened a few hundred houses, including that of my brother's in-laws. In all, about 150 houses and other buildings have been destroyed in towns and villages around Sydney, but no one killed, thankfully.

In these sorts of conditions, fire fighters can do little but build containment lines and backburn around property. The nature of the Australian bush is that fires can burn over the same ground twice, the second time either by burning through previously untouched treetops (crowning) or because the fire first time only scorched the ground.

Fortunately, a lot of assistance has been provided by a Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter which can dump 9 tonnes of water at a time (refilling in under a minute), on loan from somewhere in the USA.

The smoke has now drifted over the Tasman Sea to New Zealand, giving them scenic sunsets.

Sadly, many, if not most, of the fires appear to have been lit deliberately. About 20 people have been caught, and some charged with arson. (It makes an interesting comparison with the big fires in the USA last year, where a few people seemed to be assuming government conspiracy.)

Valiant Dancer
2002-Jan-03, 12:26 PM
On 2002-01-02 22:06, Peter B wrote:
Well, I don't know whether it counts as astronomy, but you did ask. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

I live in Canberra, where we had five bushfires in and around the city on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Canberra's an open, park-like city, with areas of bushland within the city. One fire closed several major roads for a couple of days, and another burned right past my old school.

Sydney, on the other hand, has really taken a hammering. There are fires all around it, some of them linking up to form fire fronts of tens of kilometres. Two days ago a fire in parkland inside the city threatened a few hundred houses, including that of my brother's in-laws. In all, about 150 houses and other buildings have been destroyed in towns and villages around Sydney, but no one killed, thankfully.

In these sorts of conditions, fire fighters can do little but build containment lines and backburn around property. The nature of the Australian bush is that fires can burn over the same ground twice, the second time either by burning through previously untouched treetops (crowning) or because the fire first time only scorched the ground.

Fortunately, a lot of assistance has been provided by a Sikorsky Skycrane helicopter which can dump 9 tonnes of water at a time (refilling in under a minute), on loan from somewhere in the USA.

The smoke has now drifted over the Tasman Sea to New Zealand, giving them scenic sunsets.

Sadly, many, if not most, of the fires appear to have been lit deliberately. About 20 people have been caught, and some charged with arson. (It makes an interesting comparison with the big fires in the USA last year, where a few people seemed to be assuming government conspiracy.)


To help you guys out, I would imagine that the smoke from these fires are obsuring any scope viewing in the area as it would make the atmosphere very turgid in those areas. Thanks for the info.

Peter B
2002-Jan-03, 10:23 PM
We've now seen some pictures from space of thin plumes of smoke drifting east across the Tasman Sea. Quite a sight in comparison to the swirls of cloud.

ToSeek
2002-Jan-04, 02:45 PM
Photo from space of fires around Sydney:

http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0201/03sydney/

I've heard the situation is improving, at least. Hope that's the case.

ToSeek
2002-Jan-04, 03:11 PM
Another spectacular photo from space, this one of the smoke rising from the fires:

http://epod.usra.edu/archive/epodviewer.php3?oid=82016