Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shadow & Substance

I posted a link to a great site the other day showing an animation for the upcoming lunar eclipse... and not just an animation, but one showing what it wold like from lots of locations. Plus, this site, called "Shadow & Substance," seems to regularly post a variety of astronomical animations.

I wanted to find out more about the creator of these animations and the person behind the Shadow & Substance website so I used "The Google" (have you heard about it?) to find out who he is. His name is Larry Koehn. Then I posted a link to his site at Stargazers Lounge and at Cloudy Nights and I emailed him to say thanks for his website and also asked him to tell me why he posts these animations.

Here's what he said. You can tell from how he wrote back how excited he is about astronomy. And isn't that what it's all about (sorry Kiefer Sutherland... you can kill yourself in the barn because you are melancholy about Melancholia, but we're just excited. Period.)

Larry's email to me (edited minimally):
I have been fascinated with astronomy for over 50 year. I will give S & T a lot of credit for getting even more interested in astronomy along with the wealth of material I have digested from them over the decades. I have taught astronomy part time at the University of South Carolina and Tennessee The physics department at UT was kind enough to let me represent them at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park back in the summer of 1982 by me giving astronomy presentations at the various campsites within the park (at the same time the World’s Fair was held in Knoxville TN).

I have had some photographs published in Astronomy magazine along with S & T and APOD. I did photograph Mars retrograding through the sky back in 1988 which S & T published. Dennis di Cicco (writer at S & T) said it was a first!

My website has been up since 2004 with a present count of approximately of 2.3 million. I had let S & T use some of my solar animations and other graphics in the past, but I wanted to have more control of it. The graphic I created of Comet Hale-Bopp got somewhat out of control; especially, when the Associated Press starting using it back in 1996 and claiming they produced the graphic (plus a few other entities I won’t get into to).

Anyway, the biggest night, count wise, was back in February 2008 during a lunar eclipse. On that night alone, I had over 100,000 hits! My server wasn’t too happy about it though. The website has been fun in that I have communicated with lots of people around the world. The Chinese government linked to my website during the 2008 Olympics in conjunction to a solar eclipse happening in that country.

Dr. Tony Phillips, at, has been kind and has linked to my site often. I presently live in Huntsville Alabama, and I go to work each morning seeing the Saturn V and 1B poking above the trees at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

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