Daily Archives: 05/14/2004

Typhoon Alley

This thing just appeared out of nowhere. Yesterday there was no storm, just a long line of disturbed weather in the Western Pacific. Today, a tropical storm coalesced out of the disturbance west of Palau. It poses no threat to Guam or even poor Yap, but I am amazed at how quickly this thing formed and developed into a tropical storm. People in the Philippines better watch out, it’s heading directly for Luzon.

The satellite loop shows lots of feeder band activity in Palau. Weather reports from the Palau airport indicated steady rain, increasing in intensity over the last day. I’m sure it will dwindle off at the storm heads off to the north.

Mainly I am worried that 2004 will be another year for typhoons, and that Guam will be struck again, just like in 2002. I really don’t want to go through that again, I shudder just to think of it.

Burt Rutan Pushes To The Edge Of Space

In-Flight Photo of SpaceShipOne &copy Scaled CompositesThursday marked another milestone for aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites. The company’s privately designed and funded spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, flew it’s third power flight on May 13th, reaching a height of 212,000 feet. This is within striking distance of 329,000 feet, the threshold of space required to claim the Ansari X-Prize.

To claim the prize SpaceShipOne needs to reach 329,000 feet with two paying passengers, return to Earth, and repeat the process within three weeks. Scaled Composites has issued no timetable, but they are widely expected to attempt to reach space and claim the X-Prize next month.

Sign me up, I’ve always wanted to visit space.

Two Quick Space Notes

Time for a couple quick links about space before I head to the office.

  1. BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble sees ‘planet’ around star – Hubble spotted a planet orbiting a white dwarf star, the first direct observation of an extra-solar planet.
  2. ESA – Proba – Great Wall of China seen from space – The same European satellite that took that picture of San Francisco I posted last week has photographed the Great Wall of China from space, finally putting to rest a myth that the Great Wall is the only man made structure visible from orbit. Sure it is, if the observer has a really powerful telephoto zoom on a camera. Otherwise tough cookies.