The Day the Earth Smiled
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I'm a couple of months late posting this, but here it is...beautiful...

In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn's rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. It is only one footprint in a mosaic of 33 footprints covering the entire Saturn ring system (including Saturn itself).  ...  This is the only wide-angle footprint that has the Earth-moon system in it.

Saturn's rings and our planet Earth
The dark side of Saturn, its bright limb, the main rings, the F ring, and the G and E rings are clearly seen; the limb of Saturn and the F ring are overexposed. The "breaks" in the brightness of Saturn's limb are due to the shadows of the rings on the globe of Saturn, preventing sunlight from shining through the atmosphere in those regions. The E and G rings have been brightened for better visibility.

Earth, which is 898 million miles (1.44 billion kilometers) away in this image, appears as a blue dot at center right; the moon can be seen as a fainter protrusion off its right side. An arrow indicates their location in the annotated version. (The two are clearly seen as separate objects in the accompanying composite image: PIA14949.) The other bright dots nearby are stars.

This is only the third time ever that Earth has been imaged from the outer solar system. The acquisition of this image, along with the accompanying composite narrow- and wide-angle image of Earth and the moon and the full mosaic from which both are taken, marked the first time that inhabitants of Earth knew in advance that their planet was being imaged. That opportunity allowed people around the world to join together in social events to celebrate the occasion.

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 20 degrees below the ring plane.

Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 19, 2013 at a distance of approximately 753,000 miles (1.212 million kilometers) from Saturn, and approximately 898.414 million miles (1.445858 billion kilometers) from Earth. Image scale on Saturn is 43 miles (69 kilometers) per pixel; image scale on the Earth is 53,820 miles (86,620 kilometers) per pixel. The illuminated areas of neither Earth nor the Moon are resolved here. Consequently, the size of each "dot" is the same size that a point of light of comparable brightness would have in the wide-angle camera.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov.


Smile for Photo of Earth From Deep Space
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pacificngal
It's Space Week!  In the spirit of this spacey time in our lives, I thought I'd post about the Cassini probe and what will be happening on July 19th.  Cassini will take photos of Saturn's rings for a few minutes, and at least one photo will include an image of Earth, a pale blue dot, like the image below.  For more information, go to http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/whycassini/cassini20130618.html.  If you have a little geek in you, go outside at the specified time, and wave or just look in the direction of Saturn with the rest of the world's geeks.

This simulated view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft shows the expected positions of Saturn and Earth on July 19, 2013, around the time Cassini will take Earth's picture.

World Ocean Day
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I wasn't prepared for this, nor am I close to an ocean at this moment, so I will observe World Ocean Day by posting a photo.  I hope mankind does a better job of managing our oceans over the coming decades.

Spring anyone?
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pacificngal
Snow in mid/late March?  Uh, what?  I'm looking for signs that Spring is here to stay.  How about no more snow.  Ha ha! 

Debate prep
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The first presidential debate of 2012 is tomorrow night.  No drinking games for me, but I suspect I will enjoy a little bit of my favorite Balvenie single malt as I take in the "show", along with tens of millions of others around the world. 

Earth Hour 2012
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Earth Hour is Saturday, March 31.  Citizens of Earth and corporations are encouraged to turn off all our non-essential lighting for one hour beginning at 8:30 p.m.  Let's do it...for our beautiful planet!

http://www.earthhour.org/
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Dry Spell (where are the new SGA stories?)
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I miss brand new SGA fic...drama, romance, action, h/c (especially Sheppard whump).  My favorite LJ authors used to post new stories on Sheppard H/C all the time.  I am guessing (hoping) that there is writing going on behind the scenes and I look forward to reading any stories posted in the coming weeks and months. 

In the meantime, I discovered other SGA stories that were new to me or are getting renewed attention and having new chapters posted.  However, they are WIP and I am currently waiting on the next chapters.  " Finding My Way" by firedew, "Careful Hands" by Scarlet79, the amazing  "Road Trip" by stella-pegasi, "Dress Blues and Second Chances" by Windimere Wellen, "Guardian" by rubycaspar, and last but not least "Dark Shadows Rising" by Wedjatqi.  I think I've read everything else these authors have written.  Okay, that's a lot, but like I said, I am waiting on the next installments/chapters for all of these.  I finished "Recreation and Vindication" by Kariesue (a wonderful series).  I have thoroughly enjoyed all of these fics.  Thank you to those who are writing and/or have written these stories and others.
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Whisky for everyone
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My 2012 list of scotch whiskies to try has been edited down to a fairly good list, I think.  At least for my taste.  I may continue to remove or replace brands or expressions through the rest of the year, but I think I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going.  As I am in the early stages of tasting scotch and whisky in general, I am tasting mostly Speyside and Highland scotch.  I hope to graduate to having a pallate for smoke and peat, while still loving a good Speyside.  

I have now tried Glenfiddich 12 year and Glenlivit 12 year; the Glenlivit being my favorite of the two.  I am not near experienced enough with tasting to tell you the specifics of why I do...I just prefer the flavor notes (fruit/floral) and finish, I suppose.  I haven't opened my Balvenie 15 year Single Barrel bottle yet.  I plan to open that in a month or two.  I recently purchased Cragganmore 12 year, Dalwhinnie 15 year, and Johnnie Walker Green Label.  Of those three, I have only tasted the Cragganmore 12.  I like it.  It is similar to the Glenlivit, but a bit stronger and more complex.  Dalwhinnie 15 will be next.  I'll save the Johnnie Walker for later this summer (I have read it has complexities and flavor notes that I will want to ease myself into).  In the meantime, I ordered Monkey Shoulder Batch 27 Blended Malt Scotch and a Japanese whisky, Suntory Hibiki 12 years.  I'm looking forward to tasting both.  I have to admit that the Hibiki came to my attention after I watched the movie "Lost in Translation", a slow but quirky and interesting little flick.  I know it's silly that I buy a few whiskies before I'm even ready to taste them, but that's part of my strange, newbie plan.  I want to keep certain expressions of scotch/whisky on hand for the moment I am in the mood to taste it.  It makes all kinds of sense to me, and those bottles will keep.

NOTE:  I drink responsibly and urge everyone to drink responsibly.  Cheers!
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Scotch Quest
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I don't know how far I'll get, but I have taken on a quest to explore the world of single malt scotch.  I am reading a lot and have purchased 3 single malts so far:  Glenfiddich 12, Glenlivit 12 and Balvenie 15 year.  Being a fan of Joe Flanigan's and having read that he enjoys drinking scotch (and smoking the occasional cigar), I wondered what brands of scotch he drinks and what is his favorite.  Thanks to rsharpe, I just learned that Joe's father introduced him to Laphroaig and it has since been his scotch of choice.  I hadn't read any reviews of Laphroaig yet, so off I went.  No wonder Joe favors this scotch (the influence of his father aside):  he is a surfer, a man of the sea and earth, and enjoys the taste and aroma of a good cigar.  Here is a review I found by The Scotch Noob (newbie) of Laphroaig 10 year:
Laphroaig 10 year ReviewCollapse )

I have not ventured into the Islay scotches yet and am not sure I will like heavy peat or smoke, but I do want to try it.  After all, it is the quest I am on...to explore the world of scotch.

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Greetings
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pacificngal
This is my first journal posting.  This is a learning experience for me, and I have a feeling it will take me a while to get into the swing of things.  I hope I won't make too many mistakes as I learn the best ways to navigate LiveJournal.  Cheers!

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