Webmaster's blog

Learning Linux: Maker Stations

image of old self check machineDo you remember our old self-check machines? Maybe not so fondly? Two of them are coming back, but in a good way! When the library added the new self-check machines, there was a question about what to do with the old ones. We tried selling them, but no one wanted them.

I had an idea. Last summer, we had a lot of interest in Raspberry Pi at our maker event. What if we turned the two free-standing units into stations where people could come and play with the RPi?

Building Services refinished the desktops -- they look fantastic, btw. I gutted all of the self-checks for parts to be used in the library or for future Maker Club projects.

Earth Continues Invasion of Mars!

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's most advanced Mars rover, Curiosity, has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.


Transit of Venus: What We Saw

The public viewing and celebration of the transit of Venus --the rare astronomical event in which planet Venus is seen crossing the face of the Sun-- was a tremendous hit at Edgewater Beach State Park in Cleveland the evening of June 5. Public interest in the transit was, to this observer, surprisingly high. Those who looked through solar-safe telescopes at our nearest star, by and large, excitedly marveled at what they saw. After all, how often do most folks get to see what the Sun really looks like? Obligatory reminder: Improperly viewing the Sun can result in instantaneous and permanent eye damage!

Venus Crosses Sun: June 5

Photo: 2004 Transit of Venus. Credit: SOHO/EIT/ESA/NASAObservers on the North Coast are well-positioned to see the last transit of Venus in our lifetimes on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. A transit of Venus occurs when that planet crosses (transits) the face of the Sun as viewed from Earth.  The event is rare indeed, with the next transit taking place in the year 2117 -- and then not visible from Northeastern Ohio!


Pillars of the Sun

In the mornings and evenings of the cold seasons we are occasionally favored with glorious sunrises and sunsets. A few of those beautiful moments boast something beyond colored clouds and sky; they host sun pillars!

December lunar eclipse? Sorry!

NASA Night Sky Network image of Total Lunar EclipseOn the morning of Saturday, December 10, 2011 there will be a total lunar eclipse. While much of North America will be in a position to see this natural wonder, those of us east of the Mississippi are out of luck! Timing is everything in this case.

POST-ECLIPSE UPDATE: An excellent collection of December 10 eclipse photos is "up" and growing at . Visit: http://bit.ly/szTTYS

Asteroid just passin' thru

Tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Nov. 8) at about 6:28, a space rock a little over 1,300 feet in diameter will pass within about 202,000 miles of Earth. It will not hit our home planet nor will it have any other effect on us; it's just passin' through. Designated 2005 YU55, it is a potentially hazardous asteroid because of its size and near-Earth orbit. It was discovered on December 28, 2005 by Robert S. McMillan at Steward Observatory, Kitt Peak, Ariz.


Or is it okey-dokey? Or perhaps, as Ned Flanders would say, Okely-Dokely?

Clouds for Tonight's Eclipse? Watch Online!

The forces of nature are in motion. The total lunar eclipse will take place tonight (actually in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Dec. 21) and there are no "rain dates." If the skies are clear we will have the rare opportunity to see an entire total lunar eclipse straight through from beginning to end. If the skies are cloudy, too bad, too sad.

Dec. 21 - Lunar Eclipse!

Cloudy or not, here it comes! A total lunar eclipse will take place during the night of December 20 - 21 and will be visible in its entirety from Northeastern Ohio... provided the skies cooperate. The sight, at mid-eclipse, can be eerily spectacular when the evening's formerly brilliant Moon is reduced to a red- or copper-colored orb floating in a dark sky.