Sunday, November 29, 2009


i ALMost forGOT! I had unpicked someone's dress off its beads... (and now I have lost the pictures with some old designs)...

I must do it so it's ready for our Eid prayer on the 27th... it took me a few hours to complete it...(in total).

OH DEAR! Part Three

Where Have I been?

I have been looking for this Canon IXUS that went missing after the last photo shoot of a small accident along the road to the bank on the 11th...
mY real LAST LAP WITH picture rendezvous was the 10th November 2009:- referring to my earlier posting...Who Went Missing After The Last Lap?). Was searching for it high and low... already described in that posting, I think!

The 19th, I was going to the airport (KLIA) to see an old friend off. Before leaving the car, I place my MP3 in the dash board. Nothing was there except our small papers, pen, scissors and odds and ends..

The 20th morning, I was going out with Hafiz to get some breakfast (roti canai and lontong)... While he was closing the gate, I put my set of house keys in the dash board. OPS! Whoopy! What did I see? Was it a brand new one? Was it bought by Harith's Mama to surprise me?

I asked Hafiz what everyone was saying about the missing cam? He told me, Tasha was going to buy a new one, next month when she gets her pay. I told him, I too was going to buy next month but don't tell her. Then I showed him what I found in the glove compartment... IT WAS our missing IXUs. BUT where did it come from?

I called Tasha in case she wanted to surprise me. She was also over excited over the discovery but she was equally surprised How On Earth It came about since yesterday afternoon IT was not there while I put the MP3????

When I reached home after buying breakfast, she took the cam, checked the battery level which was empty the day I last used it (that was why I had put it away then... in my large hand bag)...checked the pictures that I shot that day.

Answers??? The battery level was full, the pictures were all missing and the counter started with number one instead of a thousand over ...

NO ONE in our household managed to solve the mystery of this little adventure of our cute Canon Ixus for 9 days...(from the 11th -20th)... has anyone encountered such mysterious incidences... AM sure some have.

This is the lady in pink that went off and came back so mysteriously after her nine days trip to "no one knew where!". The wall paper is a beading project that caught my attention so much.



The 20th - the 22nd

Busy sewing beads to hand over to Wan (my cousin) on the ...22nd when I would meet her at our weekly religious class on Aqidah and Tafsir. After coming home from the airport, I took out her long black abaya and trying to figure out how best to sew beads and where to begin.(I was singing "where do i begin")...

Naturally I started on the shorter parts...On both sleeves :I used a combination of silver, black rounded beads and rounded black/whites..

The next day, was the longest design I ever made... a free hand design..

a three feet long beading stood on the right side of the garment.

A close up on the right side design... the beads are all rounded and longish silver and whites.

A smaller beading on the left side...completed the whole garment. Finally, photo shoots for this blog posting.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Where Have I BEEN? It's already over a week since my last post? So soon.

The afternoon of 19th Of November took me to the KLIA by ERL.... An old schoolmate had offered a lift but I had to leave later than her proposed time. It was to see another long lost friend going back to her work place, in Muscat, Oman. In over 36 years, I have just met her last April when she came home for a short holiday... away from work. She works in a hospital.

Part of the Merridian Hotel and Tower Block near the KLCentral.
This was snapped while I was in the traffic jam.

After my eldest daughter dropped me off and picked up her younger brother who had just arrived from the South, I had to trudge along to find the counter for ERL ticket. I was dropped off on the opposite end this huge KLCentral.

This is the terminal where I was supposed to get down. But Hafiz was waiting to be picked up on the opposite end... so trala la this old grandma, trudged along.

After making an inquiry about "Golden Age cum Senior Citizen's" ticket, I got my ticket (at full price because I am just a little too early for my eligibility) and down the escalator I went. What did I see? Green bags, black suits, TV cameras and cameras. Who were they? From their appearance it was obvious that they were Asian, having pale complexion, some are very young and beautiful, some looked so formal.

Some of them were busy taking pictures and not forgetting to smile at me as I was leaning against this huge pole. I saw some dignitaries with escorts. Anyway, when these two beautiful young ladies were taking pictures, I was there right smack in their frame. Politely they asked me to join them. It was a sheer luck. I almost took up the whole frame of their cam. Hahahhahaha.

I almost filled up their entire "frame"... huge and cuge (cute + huge). I was leaning against the orange pole that was just as huge... How I wish I could put them both in front of me ... hahaha what a wish.

We greeted each other (after the picture taking??) and obviously... this old lady who happened to be talkative most of the time even to strangers, asked who they were, why were they here, when did they arrive, where is their next destination... OH MY! My o my!... Was I that busy body? I was, wasn't I? Yes, I was. But they appeared okay... they responded well.

They were from Thailand, on a visit to our Malaysian Railway finding out about ERL (really?), had arrived the day before and going on to Singapore! OK, satisfied? As soon as the ERL arrived, I jumped on board and managed a seat as fast as I could because there were 60 of them in the entourage (I learned this later). I was seated next to a young man whom I have forgotten his name. It was quite long. He told me, the Governor of Thailand was also on board. I told him I thought I saw some dignitaries in the next coach.

The twenty-minute-ride over 40 kilometers ended abruptly as the ERL reached its terminal. I learned later as I was walking among them, the two beautiful ladies were their Channel 7 newscasters. Well, the trip was worthwhile indeed.

When I reached the departure lounge, the people going on a pilgrimage were ready at the check in counters. My long lost friend was going to be missed and lost again. She was no where to be seen. The telephone of this other friend was not responding. What should I do? Do I wait, jog the long corridors, walk the whole walkway? My thinking cap started working. There were three of them there. I did not have her phone number. What must I do? OK, lemme try this number. Okay no answer. Second number, no answer. My luck stroked with the third try. Smart ideas proposed and counter proposed. Finally, they were coming towards me but already leaving the airport.

We were left all alone to recap whatever on our minds and sufficient time to see her off down the escalator, waving and waving. Until the next time we see each other... good bye my friend.

Guess what? I forgot to take pictures with her... but memories linger on and on fresh and crisp on my mind.

managed these shots on my way back to KLCentral.

Empty seats in front of me.. this time no one to ask, no one to answer me.
It was a boring ride home.

While waiting for Hafiz to fetch me, I turned right, left, top to the roof and
out of the KLC...arrival hall.

That's the end of the 19th Nov's short trip to and from KLIA... this is on our way home... just outside the KLC, along the Bangsar Road.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End?

2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End?
Scenes from the upcoming film 2012. Courtesy Columbia Pictures. Scenes from the motion picture "2012." Courtesy Columbia Pictures. Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without much of a whimper because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation. Impressive movie special effects aside, Dec. 21, 2012, won't be the end of the world as we know. It will, however, be another winter solstice.

Much like Y2K, 2012 has been analyzed and the science of the end of the Earth thoroughly studied. Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, the science behind the end of the world quickly unravels when pinned down to the 2012 timeline. Below, NASA Scientists answer several questions that we're frequently asked regarding 2012.

Question (Q): Are there any threats to the Earth in 2012? Many Internet websites say the world will end in December 2012.
Answer (A): Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.

Q: What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?
A: The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

Q: Does the Mayan calendar end in December 2012?
A: Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then -- just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

Q: Could a phenomena occur where planets align in a way that impacts Earth?
A: There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.

"There apparently is a great deal of interest in celestial bodies, and their locations and trajectories at the end of the calendar year 2012. Now, I for one love a good book or movie as much as the next guy. But the stuff flying around through cyberspace, TV and the movies is not based on science. There is even a fake NASA news release out there..."
- Don Yeomans, NASA senior research scientist
Q: Is there a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Planet X or Eris that is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread destruction?
A: Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.

Q: What is the polar shift theory? Is it true that the earth’s crust does a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?
A: A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago), but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles. However, many of the disaster websites pull a bait-and-shift to fool people. They claim a relationship between the rotation and the magnetic polarity of Earth, which does change irregularly, with a magnetic reversal taking place every 400,000 years on average. As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia, anyway.

The Blue Marble: Next GenerationEarth, as seen in the Blue Marble: Next Generation collection of images, showing the color of the planet's surface in high resolution. This image shows South America from September 2004. Q: Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?
A: The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs. All this work is done openly with the discoveries posted every day on the NASA NEO Program Office website, so you can see for yourself that nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.

Q: How do NASA scientists feel about claims of pending doomsday?
A: For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, where is the science? Where is the evidence? There is none, and for all the fictional assertions, whether they are made in books, movies, documentaries or over the Internet, we cannot change that simple fact. There is no credible evidence for any of the assertions made in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.

Q: Is there a danger from giant solar storms predicted for 2012?
A: Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be an average solar cycle, no different than previous cycles throughout history.

Addition information concerning 2012 is available on the Web, at:

Meteor shower set to reach peak

As reported by BBC News/Science & Environment

Leonids (SPL)
The Leonids come from the tail of Comet Tempel Tuttle

Astronomers have been observing the annual Leonids meteor shower.

The tiny high-speed particles come from the tail of Comet 55 P/Tempel-Tuttle, which was last in the vicinity of the Earth in 1998.

To the eye, the meteors appear to originate from a point in the constellation Leo.

This year, astronomers predicted a strong peak of activity in the shower, with the best views from Asia.

On this continent, astronomers may be able to see 200-300 meteors per hour.

If the Leonid peak lasts longer than predicted, it may be possible to see the end of it from Europe.

North American observers were told the best time to view the shower was from the early hours of the morning until dawn on Tuesday 17 November.

Viewing conditions were expected to be good this year in North America, because the Moon was not lighting the sky.

A second, more intense outburst of Leonids is expected to happen during the early morning hours of 18 November in Asia.

Infographic (BBC)

Monday, November 16, 2009


Late last month, Friday October 30th 2009, Cathy of A Bit of the Blarney awarded me this cute little girl with a huge bunch of flowers... lemme name the flower.... posies? roses? carnations? with a label Gorgeous Blogger Award.  "Thank you very much!"  Cathy for your remembrance.   I guess I am somewhat close to your heart... But apologies for not able to play along sooner than I could.

And now I shall continue.

Here are the rules:

By accepting this award I am required to tell you six things about myself that you don't know and then award it to six other gorgeous bloggers.

1) I have 4 children born in 2 countries : England, the land of warm people and great places to visit and Malaysia the land of many races living together harmoniously with good food and wonderful culture to enjoy.

2) I became a grandma at the age of 53+ and officially became a grandson sitter at the age of 54.

3) I need to trim down before the age caught up with sicknesses such as ... NO!  I shall not mention any of  them.

4) I am hoping to continue with my voluntary work when the time permits.

5) I wish I am rich enough to get my son a very expensive camera... so  that he goes professional one day.

6) Wish I could sing without inviting the rain to come down...or making toads croaking even louder. hahahaha.

Now 6 bloggers to pass this award onto:

I shall be at home as most days are receiving torrential fall.  Flood affected areas have evacuated their residence and they are safe in the relief centers.  Soon we would be celebrating another religious festival called Eid al-l Adha.

Blessings and Cheers to all my visitors.  To my blogger friends, please enjoy the game.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wahhabi: A Mystery in Malaysia

Wahhabi: A Mystery in Malaysia

By Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin

Translation by Umm Jabir (

In the context of Western journalism, the word ‘Wahhabi’ has many connotations. All of them lead to an understanding that it is an Islamic movement perceived as strictly following the legal opinions and evidences (nas) from al-Quran and as-Sunnah in its literal sense, while refusing to consider the more modern or ‘western-influenced’ interpretations. Clinton Bennet grouped ‘Wahhabis’ and Deobandis under the ‘traditionalist’ school of thought, and therefore among the ‘fundamentalists’ (refer to: Muslim and Modernity 18-20, London: Continuum).

Some western writers perceive Wahhabi as a movement that deems ‘Islam as the only true religion’, or that establishing an ‘Islamic State’ is obligatory, or that ‘Jihad’ is to fight the infidels or disbelievers, and other ‘desert-related’ (such as Bedouins or Arab nomads) qualities, which they eventually attempt to associate with terrorism.

Yet in Malaysia, the word ‘Wahhabi’ is such a mysterious term. Many use the term or slander others by it, without a clue of its meaning. They merely regard it as a tool to defend themselves against criticisms. I still remember an incident involving a Tok Imam (the person who leads the congregational prayer) in one of the Northern states; when he was criticized for manipulating the religion to serve his personal interest for demanding fees for his prayer and dhikr (remembrance of Allah), he simply retorted, “Those who disagree with me are Wahhabis”. It might be the case that the person who just advised him was not exposed to a lot of information and it was the first time he encountered the word. Thus, looking perplexed, he asked back, “What is a Wahhabi?” The Tok Imam answered, “A Wahhabi is a person who criticizes his Ustaz (Islamic teacher).” Thereafter, this person i.e. the one giving advice dared not to disagree with the Tok Imam and questioned the infallibility of the Ustaz lest he would become a Wahhabi.

In some places, a person is accused as a Wahhabi for disagreeing with superstitious rituals and beliefs (khurafat). This include hanging pictures of certain individuals like the Sultan or a Sheikh believing that it brings good charm or increases their earnings, or tying black thread on a newborn’s hand believing that it will protect the baby from bad luck, and many other erroneous beliefs beleaguering/haunting part of our society. Unfortunately, the so-called ‘Ustaz’ endorses some of these practices, and furthermore, they themselves are the initiator of these practices. When people begin to criticize the practice, they will simply say, “You are Wahhabi,” acting in self-defense.
Similarly, those who disagree with the practice of ‘kenduri arwah’ (feast gathering in commemorating the deceased) are also labeled as Wahhabi. This is despite the fact that an old and traditional Malay manuscript, Bughyah al-Talab, by Shaykh Daud al-Fatani mentioned that: “[and it is disliked and] furthermore, it is an innovation (Bid’ah) for the family of the deceased to prepare food and invite people to eat, whether it be before or after the burial, as practiced by many people, [and similarly, it is] disliked and an innovation for the invitees to accept such invitation.” Even if they cannot accept their own justification why should they feel infallible, and further prohibit others from differing with them by using the “You are wahhabi” slogan as a weapon?

On the other hand, some other religious people narrate and spread rejected narrations, such as Israeliyyat, which contradict evidences and legal opinions in Islam, or fabricated Hadeeth or stories of righteous people or Sufi, which introduces confusion over the beauty and excellence of Islam. Some narrate these stories in their talks, while others use them as capital or the selling point for their business ventures. Alas, Islam is tainted with such stories and consequently, this honorable religion appears comical and absurd. If these speakers are critiqued, they would say, “You are Wahhabi”, though the critic may have never read a single book by Muhammad bin ‘Abdul Wahhab.

It is even worse when religious authorities manipulate the issue of Wahhabi. In this case, any teacher who teaches the Quran and authentic Hadeeth will be labeled as a Wahhabi and prevented from teaching at any mosques and Surau if he disagrees with the confusions introduced by many of the religious officers or their colleagues who join a Tariqah (Tarekat) sect, or those who spread fabricated and funny narrations. This is imposed under the pretext of the Sultan’s decree or order.

At the same time, countless obvious sinful and evil practices are left undisturbed while they busy themselves with the revivalists who pose no absolute threat to the society. If there is, it will only be a threat to the rigid and archaic mindset, not the society. To justify their obsession with this group to the extent that obvious evils are abandoned, they would argue: “This is much more threatening, this is Wahhabi”. What is Wahhabi? They say, “Wahhabi is Wahhabi!” This attitude is aggravated by the emergence of the Ahbash sect, which is a group of people whom haphazardly accuse some Muslims as disbelievers and collaborate with certain religious groups [hence influencing these groups].

At a more advanced level, the term Wahhabi is targeted at those who free themselves from the Shafi’i school of thought. They claim that people who do not follow any school of thought are Wahhabis. I have explained the evidences and legal opinions from Muslim scholars pertaining to this issue in previous articles.

As mentioned by Dr al-Qardhawi precisely:
“Those who are infatuated [with subscribing to a specific school of thought] do not allow its followers to exit from it, even when it is clear to its adherents that the evidences used are inauthentic. This is then extended to conclude that those who leave a school of thought are weak-hearted. In essence, this is making obligatory something that Allah does not make obligatory. (Dr. Yusuf al-Qardhawi, Al-Sahwah al-Islamiyyah bain al-Ikhtilaf al-Masyru’ wa al-Tafarruq al-Mazmum, p. 202, Cairo: Dar al-Sahwah).

Interestingly in Malaysia, these same people would actually give consent to rulings and opinions that are not affiliated with any school of thought, as bank ‘advisors’, to enable the bank to operate as an Islamic bank. Rather, many of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah’s (rahimahullah) opinions are accepted in the matter of financial transactions, as his opinions are extensively employed in advancing the Muslim societies all over the world. Ironically, outside of these paid-bank-meetings, they would accuse Ibn Taimiyyah and those who subscribe to his views as Wahhabis. In addition, they even collaborate with those who accuse Ibn Taimiyyah of disbelief or deviant.

Such is the situation when I was a Mufti. When I gave my opinions such as the prohibition of spying (Tajassus), the permissibility to reply to the greeting of Salaam from a non-Muslim, the obligation to name a child after the father even if the father is a non-Muslim, or building a mosque for the Chinese, being tolerant in accepting different views, and others, they are labeled as Wahhabi-like or ideologies by certain religious groups. In contrast, these opinions would be considered as modernist or rationalist views, in which the opponents may be grouped as Wahhabi.

The opposite is seen in Malaysia. That which is open or tolerant is Wahhabi and deviated, while that which is narrow or constricted is the absolute truth. Such is the mindset of the religious authorities within the government, which swiftly weakens the existing strength within the government. This is also the mindset of certain religious groups within the opposition parties. In effect, throughout the 50 years of independence, Muslims have become stagnant in their religious understanding; on the contrary, Muslims have become increasingly confused and intolerant when it comes to Islam.

Their actions remind me of an article by David Brubaker, ‘Fundamentalism vs. Modernism: A Consideration of Causal Conditions’, which mentioned that the move against reformation mainly refers to the survival of a particular group. For them to remain alive and secure within the society and government, the reformers shall be totally opposed. For me, the issue is not Wahhabi, but the insecurity over losing support and status. On the other hand, whenever they feel that there is opportunity to increase in status, like in the Islamic banking scenario, they are able to accept differences without accusing the bank that pays for their monthly and meeting allowances as a ‘Wahhabi bank’.

David Brubaker said, in order to survive, they are forced to choose between two options, accommodation or resistance. Consequently, many are accused as Wahhabis in Malaysia, although in reality, it is a mysterious accusation. I am not denying that some of those accused as Wahhabis may have to be more broadminded in certain matters. Nevertheless, to label others as Wahhabi merely due to differences in opinions is indeed a full-blown backward mentality for someone living in the globalize world.

I am posting this article for my blog friends to read... I am off the blog land for a little while. WHY? I am back to my favorite beading project... this time it's a habaya (long Arabic costume) belongs to my relative. Black in color, it is ... Today, I tried sewing beads on Di's beige baju kurong and unpick them 5 times over... hahahaha. .. Each time, they don't appear nice and beautiful... now I have decided to leave her garment least until she comes home next weekend to see if she likes the latest design. Otherwise, I would patiently unpick them again, again and again. Hopefully the cloth would bear with me and won't get torn with constant unpicking....see you later.

Friday, November 13, 2009


11TH nOVEMBER 2009...??????

mY real LAST LAP WITH picture rendezvous was the 10th November 2009. My! Was I excited that day to share my shots of the fountain and what I captured at the park... ? It was my rare "morning stroll" which was supposed to be a jog or brisk walk. But none materialized. There was no jog. I was busy taking pictures, while Harith and his Mama were both having their normal walk...

Excited wasn't I? Yes indeed I was... the whole week I was receiving exciting news. I was rewarded with the most wonderful news in my entire life. On Sunday Harith's Mama decided to buy me a house, which is going to be next to hers in a newly developed township not too far from where we used to live three years back. MY! Was I lucky? Thank you Tasha, May Allah Bless you with Happy and successful life. Amin. You are indeed a Blessed Child.

Tuesday and Wednesday were the days for the whole clan to have flocked together to share each other's stories. Hafiz has just finished his Semester exam and had arrived by flight on a late Tuesday evening. Di had just went off to her campus for her normal lectures. No semester breaks for her. She is now , at this moment of writing, sleeping in a park somewhere within the City enjoying her curriculum camping in the "mud"... It's a survivor's camping which directly related to her nature of job (later) ... to rescue people by giving medical assistance in whatever "condition" the task requires.

Harith's Mama was back at work on Thursday. Not to loose the momentum of "walking" in the park, we (me, Harith and Hafiz) were fixing our jogging gears and getting ready to move to a bigger park. Just then, I was looking for a smaller cam that I used last Tuesday. It was not in my bag. So, probably I have left it on the table and my sil had kept it safe somewhere. I asked Tasha if she had kept it. Apparently, she did not. Anyway, we borrowed another one that belonged to my sil. This time, it's twice as expensive.

Out we went. Snapping here snapping there. A hundred over shots were taken between me and Hafiz. Night time came, it was confirmed that the other cam wasn't kept anywhere by anyone!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh GOSH! Where could it be?

Today, we drove out trying to trace where I had been the day before????? My first stop was the book shop in the campus buying some note books for my classes. Second was the shop selling beads stuff. My efforts went off fruitless...futile.... I came home trying my level best to recall what had happened, where was the cam all those while. The bag was large enough to hold it but I may have not put it properly right inside after using it (Tasha's theory).

So, no more shots from that little Canon IXUs...with the beige casing. Sob, sob, sob!
that was that! Losing the cam is one thing, forgetting something so important is another!

Now after receiving a note from Laura, about an award, suddenly I remember something else. I have not responded to an award given by GrandmaK on Friday the 30th of October... ops! See how time flies. I shall get back to them a little later as the task is heavy! I have to choose bloggers from my list to forward those rewards. AND they are really tough job to do. So, Laura and Cathy, please bear with me...

Meanwhile... I may just copy your postings on the rewards in my blog... I hope you won't mind....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower

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November 10, 2009: This year's Leonid meteor shower 
peaks on Tuesday, Nov. 17th. If forecasters are correct, 
the shower should produce a mild but pretty sprinkling of 
meteors over North America followed by a more intense 
outburst over Asia. The phase of the Moon will be new, 
setting the stage for what could be one of the best Leonid 
showers in years.

 "We're predicting 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the 
Americas, and as many as 200 to 300 per hour over Asia," 
says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. 
"Our forecast is in good accord with independent theoretical 
work by other astronomers."1

see caption

Right: A Leonid meteor at dawn, photographed in 2002 
by Simon Filiatrault of Quebec, Canada. [larger image]
Leonids are bits of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. 
Every 33 years the comet visits the inner solar system 
and leaves a stream of dusty debris in its wake. Many 
of these streams have drifted across the November portion 
of Earth's orbit. Whenever we hit one, meteors 
come flying out of the constellation Leo.
"We can predict when Earth will cross a debris stream 
with pretty good accuracy," says Cooke. "The intensity of
the display is less certain, though, because we don't know 
how much debris is in each stream." Caveat observer!
The first stream crossing on Nov. 17th comes around 
0900 UT (4 a.m. EST, 1 a.m. PST). The debris is a diffuse 
mix of particles from several old streams that should produce 
a gentle display of two to three dozen meteors per hour 
over North America. Dark skies are recommended for full 
effect. "A remarkable feature of this year's shower is that 
Leonids will appear to be shooting almost directly 
out of the planet Mars," notes Cooke.
It's just a coincidence. This year, Mars happens to be 
passing by the Leonid radiant at the time of the shower. 
The Red Planet is almost twice as bright as a first magnitude 
star, so it makes an eye-catching companion for the Leonids: 
sky map.The next stream crossing straddles the hour 
2100-2200 UT, shortly before dawn in Indonesia and China. 
At that time, Earth will pass through a pair of streams laid 
down by Comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1466 and 1533 AD. The 
double crossing could yield as many as 300 Leonids per hour.
see caption
Above: This side of Earth will be facing the Leonid debris 
stream at the time of the Nov. 17th outburst. Observers in 
India, China and Indonesia are favored with dark, pre-dawn 
skies. Image credit: Danielle Moser of the NASA Meteoroid 
Environment Office.
"Even if rates are only half that number, it would still be 
one of the best showers of the year," says Cooke.
The Leonids are famous for storming, most recently in 
1999-2002 when deep crossings of Tempel-Tuttle's debris 
streams produced outbursts of more than 1000 meteors 
per hour. The Leonids of 2009 won't be like that, but it 
only takes one bright Leonid streaking past Mars to make 
the night worthwhile.
Enjoy the show.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

Tuesday, November 10, 2009



I shall let them speak for themselves....



As we walked the green grass and its path
We were greeted by these immense blue water in the lake
Back to Nature with trees, grass, water, skies above
The birds and the bees up there
Fishes swimming freely in the lake

Across the lake from all angles
I managed these photographs
They could speak for themselves
But I insist on talking for them
Just a little bit, not much

The buildings' reflections were hazy
The calm water was not calm and still
Fishes kept surfacing for a breather
But I cannot blame them at all
Could I?

All around me the nature reflects 
the paradox and ambiguity of our lives 
And its creative resolution of opposites
Nature portrays the interconnectedness of lives 
Trees reflect their ecology just as we do - 
the nurturer, conflict, the vibrancy, freshness
All shared their energy amongst the worldly subjects