Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Feb. 26th and Thurs., Feb. 28th at Ward Pound Ridge in NY.
Take Rt. 121 to signage for the park.
Drive through booth and take Michigan Rd.
Meet at 8:30am in parking area.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The DC Women's Hiking Group will snowshoe/hike at Bennett's Pond in Ridgefield on Tues., Feb. 19th and Thurs., Feb. 21st.
Take Rt. 7 to Bennett's Farm Rd.
There will be a State Park sign and parking area on the right.
Meet at 8:30am.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The DC Women's Hiking Group will snowshoe on Tues., February 12th and Thurs., February 14th at the Ridgefield Golf Course.
Try out snowshoeing for a different type of workout.
The Discovery Center has snowshoes to borrow.
Take Ridgebury Rd. to Dhly Rd.
Turn left into Dhly and follow around to clubhouse.
Meet at 8:30am.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Constellation of the Month - Gemini

Feb. 2013 Constellation of the Month – Gemini

January and February are probably the best time of the year for stargazing in the Northern Hemisphere.  Several prominent constellations with the brightest stars are near the center of the sky. Orion, Taurus, Auriga, Canis Major, Canis Minor, and Gemini all have 1st magnitude, or brighter, stars. 

The "Gemini" are the twins from Greek and Roman mythology.  The names of the twins were Castor and Pollux, and these are the names given to the two brightest stars in the constellation.  Gemini is east of Auriga, our Jan. 2013 constellation of the month, and it is northeast of Orion, our March 2012 constellation of the month.  Gemini is easy to find, because the bright stars, Castor & Pollux, are close together at the "top" of the constellation.  They represent the heads of the two twins.   Their feet are towards the south, at the bottom of the constellation, and the band of the Milky Way passes over them. 

Castor, the one to the Northeast, is a fascinating multiple star.  Through a small telescope at high magnification, it appears as two stars of 2nd and 3rd magnitude.  These orbit each other, and there is a third, much fainter, star which orbits them.  But that's not the end of the story.  Each of these three stars is a double star, so Castor is actually comprised of 6 separate stars.  

There is a star cluster, M35, at the feet of Gemini.  It be easily seen with binoculars.  Gemini also contains a planetary nebula, NGC 2392, also known as the Eskimo Nebula or the Clown-Face Nebula.  Planetary nebulae are roughly circular clouds of hot gases which are expelled by dying stars or ones that have exploded into supernovas.  These gases are, in part, comprised of heavier elements that had been created by nuclear fusion in the stars – such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus.  These and other higher elements in our bodies were originally created and expelled by such a star that has come and gone, leaving its remnants to form a cloud from which our Sun and earth coalesced some 4 or 5 billion years ago.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blizzard of 1978

It was Feb 6, 1978. Sport utility vehicles didn’t exist and 4-wheel drive vehicles were an anomaly. The weather man had said we were in for a big storm but the magnitude of it hit hurricane status. It started to snow about noon. By 5pm there was no going home for a lot of folks with cars stranded along highways all over the state. It continued to snow for 30 hours leaving over 2 feet of wind wiped snow behind. Drifts at times would be as high as houses. Eventually, Gov. Ella Grasso literally closed down the state. It took a good three days to dig out, longer for some of us. For those of us who lived through it, it was either a royal pain or a time for pride in our Yankee resourcefulness. As an employee at the AAA of Hartford, the emergency service lines started lighting up and all departments were called in to help. Some of the guys were recruited to stay overnight, sleeping on cots in the basement. The rest were told to go home early. At one point, even road service had to be closed down as the wreckers were bogged down and drivers decided to wait it out. Emergency personal couldn’t get to their stations with police giving nurses and doctors rides that sometime ended up taking hours. For some of us who were lucky enough to have friends that lived close by our job, it was a time to pack it in and sit it out, not realizing it would be 3 days before we could get home. The Blizzard of 1978 came, claimed its place in history, and left behind life long memories.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The DC Women's Hiking Group will hike Tues., Feb., 5th and Thurs., Feb.,7th at Saugatuck Falls Natural Area in Redding, CT.
Saugatuck Falls Natural Area entrance is located between mail box # 65 and 73 on Diamond Hill Road, Redding. Follow straight in until you see the large sign (entrance marker) on your left.
Meet at 8:30am