APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

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APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:06 am

Image Mars and Orion over Monument Valley

Explanation: Welcome to The World At Night. Sharing the night sky seen around the world, this view from Monument Valley, USA includes a picturesque foreground of famous buttes. Buttes are composed of hard rock left behind after water eroded away the surrounding soft rock. The two buttes on the image left are known as the Mittens, while Merrick Butte is on the right. Recorded in 2007 December, planet Mars is at the left of the skyscape, a glowing beacon of orange that is the brightest object in the frame. To the right of Mars lies the constellation of Orion. Betelgeuse is the reddish star near the center and the Belt of Orion and the Orion Nebula are farther right. Finally, the bright blue star Rigel appears above Merrick Butte in this stunning view of The World At Night.

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by Ann » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:46 am

This is a golden oldie, a fantastic picture. If there ever was an astronomical photo-interpretation of the idea of the Christmas star, it is this one. And indeed, if the Christmas star existed in the first place (which appears to be unlikely), it might have been a planet, or a conjunction of planets. In this picture, only rock formations are there to see it - because we can pretend that the photographer isn't there after all - increasing the harshness of the cold December winter night and underscoring the brilliance of the colored lights above.

This image is a marvellous illustration of the frozen winter cold of (parts of) planet Earth, lit up by the splendour of the heavens.

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by MarkBour » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:17 am

dmiladinovich wrote:Anyone know why would a butte form the hard caprock in the first place? Why is it that there is enough caprock to keep such a large formation standing while everything else erodes away around it?
I probably should let a geologist give an expert answer, but ...
When you see those large structures standing alone like that, it seems surprising and unlikely. But if you explore the surrounding area, it eventually makes sense. I view it as the way probability distribution always works as one moves from one type of landscape into another. The same thing happens between the land and the oceans. At one point you have all land. Then, there are peninsulas, finally, there are islands. A fun thing to do is to look at Google maps (R) in satellite view of Monument valley. There you will see the surrounding larger escarpment that fades into Monument Valley, and the monuments, though still awe-inspiring, are seen to be the sensible, even inevitable edge of a huge formation.
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by starsurfer » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:38 am

The skies there are really dark! If you look carefully, you can see Barnard's Loop.

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by orin stepanek » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:37 pm

Cool picture! 8-) :thumb_up: :yes:
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by Brujo » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:37 pm

"Softer surrounding rock"? Sorry, guys -- you know a lot about the cosmos, but not so much about geology. It's the harder cap rock that erodes more slowly, protecting the rock beneath and creating the steep walls. The 'surrounding rock' that's gone was all sedimentary, all part of the same layer of -- well, maybe its Entrada sandstone, or maybe it's Navajo -- and erodes at the same rate. But it's a lovely photo. Monument Valley is a long way from anywhere but it's well worth the investment of your time for a visit, by the way.

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by Megalodon » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:49 pm

I want to be there, seeing that in real life. My BS's are Earth Science and Biology, but I haven't earned much money at either, except as an offshoot to the exploration of petroleum a lifetime ago.

My fortunes have been on a downward tread since and I cannot conceive of ever getting west, even to see the Grand Canyon, the Mecca (and no insult intended) of all those interested in the Earth and it's wonders.

I saw some buttes as we crossed New Mexico but Monument Valley is so distinctive and Orion is my favorite constellation. So many wonders there in that patch of sky!

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:52 pm

dmiladinovich wrote:Anyone know why would a butte form the hard caprock in the first place? Why is it that there is enough caprock to keep such a large formation standing while everything else erodes away around it?
The butte doesn’t “form the hard caprock”, it’s the other way around. Places where the harder caprock existed or was thicker controlled where erosion would work the slowest, as Brujo also pointed out.

Bruce
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:15 pm

Here’s another iconic view of this oft filmed area.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... mnorth.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... mnorth.jpg
Monumentvalleyviewfromnorth.jpg
In one of my favorite movie uses of this place Forest Gump, after years of running back and forth across the USA, suddenly has an epiphany, right here “in the middle of nowhere”, that his running has ran its course.

Bruce

P. S. Thanks for the editorial help Owlice, and my apologies for making it nessessary.
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Last edited by BDanielMayfield on Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by geckzilla » Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:46 pm

Hey, it looks pretty green in that photo. Not sure if Photoshop or wet season... I wonder what effect the road is having to cause the extra plant life to spring up at its edges?
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:25 pm

geckzilla wrote:Hey, it looks pretty green in that photo. Not sure if Photoshop or wet season... I wonder what effect the road is having to cause the extra plant life to spring up at its edges?
Oh my, you have been stuck in the Big Apple waaaay too long geckzilla. I’m sure you used to know that the limited rainfall runs off roadways and makes for greener forage along roads in arid climes.

So the green in the Wikipedia photo I posted is normal if there had been a recent rainfall, and no photoshop alterations were made, I’m sure.

The greenery along the road has an unfortunate side effect: it attracts herbivores to the greener grass and forbs, and the herbivores attract carnivores, and both sometimes end up as road kill, even on roads less traveled. But for careful, observant drivers this can provide views of wildlife that would be hard to see otherwise.

Bruce
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by Boomer12k » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:10 am

Really neat image...so much stuff, and you can even see the faint redness of the Hydrogen around the Orion Constellation.

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by geckzilla » Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:00 am

BDanielMayfield wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Hey, it looks pretty green in that photo. Not sure if Photoshop or wet season... I wonder what effect the road is having to cause the extra plant life to spring up at its edges?
Oh my, you have been stuck in the Big Apple waaaay too long geckzilla. I’m sure you used to know that the limited rainfall runs off roadways and makes for greener forage along roads in arid climes.
My ignorance has nothing to do with my location; something I am quite tired of reiterating. I considered rainfall runoff but didn't want to make any assumptions.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:03 pm

geckzilla wrote:
BDanielMayfield wrote:
geckzilla wrote:Hey, it looks pretty green in that photo. Not sure if Photoshop or wet season... I wonder what effect the road is having to cause the extra plant life to spring up at its edges?
Oh my, you have been stuck in the Big Apple waaaay too long geckzilla. I’m sure you used to know that the limited rainfall runs off roadways and makes for greener forage along roads in arid climes.
My ignorance has nothing to do with my location; something I am quite tired of reiterating. I considered rainfall runoff but didn't want to make any assumptions.
I’m sorry that I irritated you by my comment geckzilla. Ignorant would be the last word anyone should choose to describe you. And as I suspected, you knew the answer, but you modestly asked because you had doubts. Asking is how smart people dispel ignorance and uncertainty. Good for you.

Bruce
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by geckzilla » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:29 pm

I'm still not sure runoff is the entire answer. I was wondering about the permeability of the road surface and whether or not water vapor would condense on or near the plants at night more easily. I think the road would store energy and avoid condensation. A vehicle driving by with an air conditioner on full blast would liberate droplets now and then but I think those evaporate before ever contacting a plant. Do the plants also like the wind and CO2 generated by the cars? Conversely to your idea that animals are attracted to the road side, maybe some animals are repelled. The vibrations might be annoying for underground creatures. Hmm... well, anyway, it probably is just rainwater runoff.
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:39 pm

geckzilla wrote:I'm still not sure runoff is the entire answer. I was wondering about the permeability of the road surface and whether or not water vapor would condense on or near the plants at night more easily. I think the road would store energy and avoid condensation. A vehicle driving by with an air conditioner on full blast would liberate droplets now and then but I think those evaporate before ever contacting a plant. Do the plants also like the wind and CO2 generated by the cars? Conversely to your idea that animals are attracted to the road side, maybe some animals are repelled. The vibrations might be annoying for underground creatures. Hmm... well, anyway, it probably is just rainwater runoff.
Monument Valley receives nearly an inch of rainfall a month in the summer- more than enough to produce this kind of plant growth. And the combination of road runoff and disturbed soil makes most roads especially green along their margins. I doubt that vehicles have much impact one way or the other.

Some animals may be repelled by traffic, but that leaves plenty that drivers need to watch out for.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by geckzilla » Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:03 pm

I once saw a whole ripgut get pulled underground by a gopher. If it could handle that, who knows what devastation the beasts could be capable of wreaking. I mean, come on, the plant is called a ripgut and the gopher took it. Supposedly those spinning plastic flower ornaments vibrate the ground and repel them. If cars driving over roads have a similar effect, maybe... then again, I'm not sure those flower things have any effect on them.
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Re: APOD: Mars and Orion over Monument Valley (2014 Feb 02)

Post by BDanielMayfield » Tue Feb 04, 2014 6:29 pm

geckzilla wrote:I was wondering about the permeability of the road surface ...


If a paved road is permeable it is poorly constructed and it will pothole quickly. (I only know this because my dad was a heavy equipment operator and he'd helped construct and rebuild highways in Texas and California. I must have heard him gripe about other contractors' work dozens of times.)

Bruce
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