Astronomy Picture of the Week – Prometheus and the Ghostly F Ring

Cassini’s Grand Finale…

The thin sliver of Saturn’s moon Prometheus lurks near ghostly structures in Saturn’s narrow F ring in this view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Many of the narrow ring’s faint and wispy features result from its gravitational interactions with Prometheus (86 kilometers, or 53 miles across).

Most of the small moon’s surface is in darkness due to the viewing geometry here. Cassini was positioned behind Saturn and Prometheus with respect to the sun, looking toward the moon’s dark side and just a bit of the moon’s sunlit northern hemisphere.

Also visible here is a distinct difference in brightness between the outermost section of Saturn’s A ring (left of center) and rest of the ring, interior to the Keeler Gap (lower left).

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 13 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on May 13, 2017.

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 680,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 4 miles (6 kilometers) per pixel.

Click the image for the tif file…

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Great Guitar Solos – Eddie Van Halen Plays Eruption Live

So, I have to admit up front that I’m just not a fan of Van Halen. But it’s pretty much only because of the lyrics. For whatever reason, no matter who the vocalist was, the lyrics were nearly always crap… at least in my opinion (and I understand others don’t agree… that’s fine).

See… lyrics are pretty important to me. If you’re going to write music that involves lyrics, all I ask is that you don’t make them out-and-out cringey. A lot of 80s hair metal bands claim to take their inspiration from Led Zeppelin, but it sometimes seems like they took their inspiration from Whole Lotta Love and Sick Again while ignoring basically everything else. Yes, Robert Plant had his lyrical duds, but he also had his lyrical genius, and at least with him, even his worst, most uninspired lyrics (like Thank You), aren’t ridiculously cringey (except maybe that line about bustles and may queens in Stairway to Heaven… because a bustle is a pair of panties, and May Queen was a popular brand of washing machine at the time… and I really cannot see how it fits with the rest of the song; I think it’s that line that really throws off any attempt to find a deeper meaning to the song). But so much of the 80s hair metal lyrics somehow manage to fly past cringey to just plain insulting, and Van Halen was no exception.

That said, if Van Halen had been a purely instrumental group, I would listen to them every single day, because musically they were phenomenal, and a lot of that was in no small part to Eddie.

So I want to highlight Eddie playing Eruption. I know this one is quite cliche, to the point where it’s relative “goodness” may be somewhat controversial these days, but to my ears, even though it absolutely is a technical masterclass missing much of the emotion I usually look for in guitarists, it’s still an absolutely brilliant piece of guitar work.

What I’m highlighting here is not the studio version. This is the live, 10 minute and 57 second solo. There isn’t much in the way of backing music, either. This is a guitar solo in the truest sense of the word…

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Astronomy Picture of the Week – Haze on the Horizon

Late on this one… by a week… I know why I’m missing these, too… real life has me extra stressed… 🙁

Anyways… here’s more from Cassini’s Grand Finale…

This false-color view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft gazes toward the rings beyond Saturn’s sunlit horizon. Along the limb (the planet’s edge) at left can be seen a thin, detached haze. This haze vanishes toward the left side of the scene.

As usual… click on the image for the tif download…

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Great Guitar Solos – Anna Calvi Plays I’ll Be Your Man Live in Hamburg

I really need to go back to scheduling these. Sorry I keep missing the original dates and such. *sigh*

Anyways…

About 24 hours late, here’s some more Anna Calvi. The song is called “I’ll Be Your Man”. They’re playing live in Hamburg on March 13, 2014. The studio version doesn’t have much of a solo, but live, she opens with an amazing, dissonant, tension-filled improvised solo that I absolutely love…

Keep in mind that this is an audience video recording…

The solo starts at 0:34 and ends at 2:34.

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Great Guitar Solos – Jimi Hendrix Plays The Star Spangled Banner Live at Woodstock 1969

I decided to go with a classic, and also, perhaps, a cliche. I absolutely adore this. Hendrix often gets flack for “sloppiness” or “lack of technical ability”, but I’d argue that that’s not true at all. What’s true is that Hendrix was far more interested in emotion, and was very unconventional in his playing. But he did know what he was doing.

Anyways… this is obviously an instrumental, so the guitar solo is the whole thing. And immediately following the footage is a clip of an interview he did where he talked about playing it, so stay tuned for that, as well.

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(YouTube Video) Doctor Who – Just See Me

This… this is seriously incredible. I’ve watched it probably 10 times, now, and every single time, I cry. It’s so moving and so well put together. And that ending… the shot of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor while Capaldi’s Doctor says “just see me”…

I can’t really put into words why I love Doctor Who. This show is 54 years old, and it’s a mess of missing continuity, confusing timey-wimey stories, vague, often contradictory cannon, and more. I understand why many people who’ve never seen Doctor Who really aren’t interested in getting into it… that’s a very daunting task.

Believe me, I know.

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Astronomy Picture of the Week – More Textures in the C Ring

I also realize I missed last week’s APotW. Apologies…

Continuing on with the Grand Finale

This image was taken on May 29, 2017, with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera. The image was acquired on the sunlit side of the rings from a distance of about 39,800 miles (64,100 kilometers) away from the area pictured. The image scale is 1,460 feet (445 meters) per pixel. The phase angle, or sun-ring-spacecraft angle, is 137 degrees.

(See the bottom of the post for the links to download the associated .tif images…)

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Great Guitar Solos – Pink Floyd Plays Echoes

Sorry for missing this on Monday. I’ve been working a lot, and my brother is in town, so I’ve been distracted. Astronomy Picture of the Week should be up in around half an hour.

Echoes… what is there to say about Echoes? For me, it’s one of the greatest songs of all time. Yeah, sure, it’s 23 minutes and 36 seconds long… but that’s 23 minutes and 36 seconds you will be glad to have spent just… listening.

As for the guitar solos… well… there are no words. Moving, powerful, emotional…

The first solo, an understated intro piece, starts at 1:10 and ends at 2:57. Then there’s a riff that repeats itself, though it is very solo-like, that starts at 3:45 and ends at 4:12. The riff repeats again at 4:56 and ends at 5:24. Immediately, the second proper solo starts. At 5:53, a second, more distorted guitar comes, and we have two guitars soloing at the same time, which ends at 7:01. Thus begins a very funky section, in which the third solo, a really cool distorted solo, starts at 7:24 and starts to fade out into a section of ambient, atmospheric, rather creepy noise at around 10:50, and disappears fully at around 11:25.

I know the ambient section is weird, but try to stick it out. If you don’t want to, it ends around 15 minutes in. The fourth solo starts at 18:14 and ends at 19:11. The repeating lead riff, though much more simplified, starts at 19:56 and ends at 20:15. The fifth and final solo starts at 12:26 and ends with the fade out.

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Does Famous Feminist Anita Sarkeesian HATE The New Doctor?!?

As is usually the case with titles that pose such questions, the answer is… no.

But some people seem to think so.

For those who don’t know, the Feminist Frequency Twitter account posted a short thread in response to the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor. A lot of people seem to be taking it as Anita being really angry at the announcement.

Of course, it seems as if people only picked out one or two tweets from the thread. But if you see the whole thing, you realize that, of course, not only is it much ado about nothing, but Anita had some really important points worth discussing. I’m not just going to post the entire 7-tweet thread here, so please go check it out in full. I will post three of the tweets, however, because it is worth discussing…

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