Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lost In Space

Beautiful sight in the evening sky now, and for the next week: Jupiter and Venus moving closer and closer together each night, and when they are a mere 2 degrees apart, a slender crescent moon will join them to create a lovely trio. Look in the sky just after sunset the next week or so, and you’ll see the players slowly taking their places, like actors backstage at a play. The whole thing culminates December 1st.

The diagram above is from the Sky and Telescope’s website.

I was going to post video of the giant fireball in the sky over Canada last week, but it’s been posted a bunch of times already. If you want to see it go to Youtube. Or Bad Astronomy. Or beekeeper extraordinaire Gordo.

I will instead post a link to footage of that $100,000 toolbelt that got lost in space during a spacewalk last week. Apparently an amateur astronomer got video of it crossing the sky. The video is here; it’s about 4 seconds long. Incredibly, If you go to Space Weather and put in your zip code they’ll let you know when and where to see it yourself. You’ll need binoculars or a telescope, though.

I started planning for The New Novel seven or eight months ago, expecting to begin it on January 2nd. Now that that date is a few weeks away, my brain is popping with changes, major and minor. And yesterday I finally figured out the title!

I almost fell over.

I'm not going to say what it is. I'm a tad superstitious about letting details out before I have a large chunk done. I will go this far: it's a nod to one of my favorite Whitman quotes.

I wrote The First Novel with no map. Just started writing, and let it take me wherever it wanted. That's a wonderful strategy for a short story, but too much damn work for a novel. Every time you make a significant change, you've gotta go back and retrofit the novel to make it work. So this time I've got a general sense of where I'm going.

We shall see if I can stay on course, or if it develops a will of its own. Check back with me in two years.


Eric Shonkwiler said...

I want details, man. You're killing me.

How big is this bunch of tools, that you can see it with some binocs? Is its orbit decaying, is it that much closer to Earth than satellites? I saw a satellite once, just a dot, gliding across the sky.

What did you think of the McEwan, I see on your recent reads? I read that little bit of Atonement, didn't like it.

Hilary said...

That's very cool. I find out some of the most interesting things here on your blog. It seems that tool belt just passed by as I was checking that site out.. not that I'd have been able to see it anyway. But just very cool. Good luck with your writing. :)

Gordo said...

I had seen the planetary dance in the sky, but kept forgetting to check who it was. Thanks!

The truly funny part about that toolbag video is that it was shot about 30 minutes East of me. ;-)

Gordo said...

Oh, I'm also not sure that I'm an extraordinaire anything other than goofball, either. ;-)

Daisy said...

Woohooo! Dancing with glee! WHen's the booksigning then? I need to stake out my place in line. Pants and I will have out sleeping bags...

NiteSkyGirl said...

Nice nice to see someone else posting about the jupiter / venus meetings , i have been writing them on my blog. December 1st the new crescent moon joins the 2 planets !!

Sarah Sometimes said...

I saw Jupiter and Venus when I was out walking tonight with my neighbor! We wondered what those two bright dots were! Now I know.... Thank you!

Mutha said...

A: I would know nothing about what's flying around overhead if I did not check in here.
B: Go man go on that novel! I have never come up with a title before starting. It usually hits me mid-way through the first draft. Are any of your other stories out there for the average reader to consume?

Clowncar said...

A couple details, then, Eric. It's using multiple POVs, which I've never done before. And it's got a slight sci-fi edge. Which I've also never done. A centerpiece scene is a public squirrel burning in the town square. Ugly.

And the toolbelt isn't big, just very shiny.

Oh, and McEwan was pretty disappointing. Sharp Teeth rocked though - you should give it a try.

Glad to help, Hill. Sorry you missed the toolbelt. I think it's supposed to burn up in the atmosphere some time next year; maybe you can catch that!

Gordo, you are the only beek I now, so that makes you extraordinary, if only in my limited world.

Ah, Daze, I wouldn't pull out those dancing shoes just yet. A couple years of dull plodding to go.

Enjoy your blog, NSGirl! Thanks for stopping by!

You're welcome, Sarah. It'd hard to see any stars through that NYC glow. Glad the planets cut through the glare.

Mutha, most of my stories are too long to post. I've got some prose exercises posted - look on the sidebar for the "prose" label.

Daisy said...

1, Public squirrel burning? I'm on it! (tho the squirrel holes into the attic are getting plugged next week, so maybe I won't be the hater that I am now by the time you finish the book.... )

2. My dad's a "beek", if you care, so you know another one by extension

3. A thousand thank yous for the heads up about the tool belt! The kids were amused and I dazzled my dad with my knowledge. (You know, the dad who's the beekeeper...)