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Izabel Fire

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

izabel fire
Photo by Dave Anning

A five-acre wildfire on the east-facing slope of McMillian Mesa Friday afternoon appears to have been caused by youngsters playing with fireworks. The first of the fire's two alarms was called in at 2:14 pm, and by 3:45 p.m., firefighters had established a perimeter around the fire with the help of four slurry drops, holding the blaze to about five acres, said Jim Wheeler, assistant fire chief for the Flagstaff Fire Department. Luckily no structures were damaged.

Dave Anning captured some of the action from the USGS campus in this photo gallery.

More: The Arizona Daily Sun.

Terrible Fire Near Astrogeology's Home Town of Flagstaff

Friday, June 23, 2006

Brins Fire
Courtesy Brent Archinal (© 2006)
These pictures were taken from the Schnebly Hill Road overlook between 9 and 10:30 PM Friday night, June 22, 2006. The fire was pretty much covering all that Brent Archinal could see of the eastern side of Wilson Mountain.

Brent reports that one can see generally the flare-up of the left (southern) part of the fire as it climbs up a huge cliff (~1,000-1,500 ft high), and also as fire streams down a narrow line from the top of the mountain just to the right of that same area. There are also a couple of photos of the (apparently) contract television crew that did a live report from there to a Phoenix station. That's why much of the foreground vegetation in all the photos is brightly lit.

There is some "astrogeology" here, Brent writes, as in the first two photos. The "star" just above the mountain to the left-center (almost in some of the flames) is Mercury, with the stars Castor and Pollux together above the mountain at right. Those images and later images also show two "stars" to the upper left, which are Saturn (brighter) and Mars.

fire on the horizon
Courtesy Brent Archinal (© 2006)
fire on the horizon
Courtesy Brent Archinal (© 2006)

Bridge Progress on Cedar Hill

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ped/Bike Bridge – Cedar Ave Photo Credit: Vincent H. Richie of Arizona Historical Society

Those of us who work at USGS in Flagstaff have probably noticed progress of the bridge, on Cedar Hill. Tiffin Miller, Project Manager, says the Contractor continues to work on falsework for the bridge span, and plans on forming & pouring the soffit and web through the week of May 8, 2006. On May 16th, they plan on closing Cedar Avenue at night, at around 10:00 P.M. and work until 6:00 A.M. to set beams for the bridge.
Cedar Avenue has been narrowed and restricted to two lanes throughout the project vicinity. Lane restrictions will remain in place through project completion, anticipated for the end of July of 2006. On May 16th, Cedar Avenue will be closed between Turquoise and West Street from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Signs will be installed to detour traffic around the closure. Emergency vehicles will be accommodated through the work zone if necessary. On the 26th of May, the contractors plan to pour concrete. Conservatively, the bridge should be done before or by the end of July.
For current information on the progress of the bridge, visit flagstaff Urban Trails System Project at .

MLK Star Fest

Thursday, January 12, 2006

January 15, 2006


MLK Star FestLowell Observatory celebrates the holiday weekend with a Star Party. For this special Sunday event, we'll have numerous telescopes set up for viewing, as well as indoor presentations. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Regular nighttime admission fees ($5 per adult, $4 per senior, college student, AAA member; $2 per youth, ages 5-17). For more information, contact Kevin Schindler (kevin(at)lowell(dot)edu or 928-233-3210.

Dark Skies in Arizona (Arizona Daily Star report)

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Astronomers have rallied strong support for keeping the skies dark in Flagstaff, where sky- watching has a long tradition, and Tucson, a world-famous space science community. Local governments in Coconino and Pima counties have upheld lighting ordinances that protect the night skies by using lights sparingly and shielding them so they point down at the things they're meant to illuminate.

To address statewide light pollution issues, State Sen. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson, has sponsored astronomy-friendly legislation, including the "good-lighting bill" that the governor signed into law in 2003. And she helped defeat legislation last spring that would've allowed for bright, blinking billboards along the state's highways. But she says she's fighting a hard battle with her colleagues from Phoenix.

"Many members don't understand the importance of rural Arizona, don't understand the importance of industries in Flagstaff or Pima County and they just don't care," she said. "They feel that Phoenix is the central driving economy to the rest of the state."

More: Arizona Daily Star - Tucson, Flagstaff help astronomy; Phoenix is another matter by Anne Minard

Link: International Dark Skies Association

Robert McCall Show at the Arizona Museum for Youth

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Celebrating 100 Years of Powered Flight
Robert McCall
The Arizona Museum for Youth will present Dreaming of Tomorrow, The Art of Robert McCall from August 26, 2005 until January 6, 2006. Robert McCall came to public attention in the early 1960s as the illustrator for LIFE magazine's memorable series on the future of space travel. At that time, he became one of a few select artists to be chosen for NASA, documenting the progress of American space history, and has been present at nearly every NASA event since.

In addition to artworks by Robert McCall this exhibition will feature some out-of-this-world activities including: design a scene from deep space, create an original space craft from paper, build a robot, stroll on the Moon, enter the "space race" to Mars, and draw a galaxy.

More: City of Mesa - Dreaming of Tomorrow, The Art of Robert McCall

Link: Arizona Museum for Youth

NASA Field Tests Wi-Fi in Arizona

Sunday, January 25, 2004

NASA has begun field tests, in an Arizona meteor crater, of a mobile Wi-Fi system that could allow astronauts on manned planetary exploration missions to easily deploy wireless data connectivity, similar to the wireless technology used by many people to connect their laptops and other mobile devices to the Internet. Mars explorers might carry wireless-enabled personal computers while on extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) for collecting and exchanging data and information with eachother, the lander, and mission control on Earth.

More: Wired - Wi-Fi Enters the Space Race

Lowell and Discovery Channel to Build New Telescope

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

On October 15, in a Mars Hill press conference, an agreement between the Observatory and Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI) to build a major new $30 million telescope near Happy Jack in Northern Arizona was announced. The Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) is to be a modern, 4-meter-class telescope with a uniquely wide field-of-view and uncommon versatility. This telescope will have about five-and-a-half times the light gathering capacity of the Perkins Telescope, which has been Lowell’s main research telescope for the past four decades.

More: Lowell Observatory Press Release - Lowell Observatory and Discovery Communications, Inc., Announce Partnership to Build Innovative Telescope Technology

More: The Lowell Observer - Fall 2003 Newsletter

More: Arizona Daily Sun - The specs:five years,70 tons,14-footmirror

More: Arizona Daily Sun - New era of discovery at Lowell

Lowell Observatory to Host First Lowell Star Party

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

June 5-8, 2003 Lowell Observatory will host its first-ever multi-day Lowell Star Party, where enthusiasts from around the country will gather for world-class telescope viewing and other adventures in astronomy. Evening viewing parties will be based at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort, Highway 180 and Snowbowl Rd. During the day, star party participants can choose from a variety of activities including tours of Meteor Crater, the U.S. Naval Observatory, the new Shoemaker Astrogeology building at the U.S. Geological Survey, and Lowell Observatory's own Anderson Mesa research site. Attendees also may attend daytime scientific presentations in the Steele Visitor Center and the Rotunda Library at Lowell Observatory's historic campus, 1400 W. Mars Hill Rd.

More: Lowell Star Party Website - Schedule, visitor information, and registration

More: Press Release - Lowell Observatory to Host First Lowell Star Party

Link: Lowell Observatory - Home page

CCC Community Orchestra Performs 'The Planets'

Thursday, May 1, 2003

Coconino Community Orchestra will perform Gustav Holst's "The Planets" with multi-media show in association with the USGS. This performance will use programmatic music to describe the nature and character of the planets. Astrogeology Program Chief Wes Ward will provide narration. The free concert will be held May 8, 7:30PM at V. Phillip Tullar Commons on CCC's Lone Tree Campus (2800 S. Lone Tree Rd., Flagstaff).

More: CCC - Calendar of Events, Division of Arts & Sciences

More: Arizona Daily Sun - Calendar of Events

Kenton 'Factor' Grua Services

Thursday, August 29, 2002

A Celebration of Life Service for Kenton "Factor" Grua will be held Saturday at 4 p.m. It will be located in the Hart Prairie area, south of Fern Mountain. One of the most beloved Colorado River personalities, Factor was an important part of river work for many groups based at the USGS Flagstaff Field Center. Serving as a river guide and boat operator for a number of USGS research projects, his vast wealth of knowledge about the Grand Canyon and its history, in addition to his own fascinating anecdotes, made him a favorite.

More: Arizona Daily Sun - The Canyon's X-Factor (Biography)

More: Arizona Daily Sun - Kenton 'Factor' Grua (Obituary)