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Solar Eclipse

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Click this image for an expanded view of NASA's map of total solar eclipses, 2001-2025.

April 8 is the first new moon following the spring solstice, which means that solar eclipse season is once again upon us. NASA, as always, has all your eclipse info. U.S. residents are mostly out of luck on this one, although those of you in Texas will get 20-30% eclipsing goodness. If you happened to be in Venezuela or out in the middle of the south Pacific, you'd be treated to a rare hybrid solar eclipse, which begins and ends as an annular eclipse but becomes total in the middle.

Also from this NASA site, I found this map, showing the paths of all solar eclipses predicted between 2001 and 2025. I'll have to be sure to head back to San Antonio for spring break in 2024; looks like the total eclipse path passes right over my home town April 8 of that year. In the meanwhile, I need to come up with a good excuse to be in Turkey next spring. (Incidentally, next year's Africa-Mideast eclipse is the Saros precursor to the 2024 North American one.)

Ithilien

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Abandoned British munitions dumps stretching across a dusty field near Gaza. If the rains keep up long enough, it might just yield a wheat harvest. 2005:02:19 15:18:44

Astro-Tiyul continued on from Pura to Kibbutz Be'eri and the nearby nature reserve.

An excerpt from the notes I took on the road back home illustrates my impressions:

...fields dotted with raised berms, abandoned ammunition dumps of the British army. The roads also clearly dated back to the Mandate, too. Even older, Byzantine cisterns poked from one hill, near an improbable -- if very small -- waterfall.

I could see Gaza in the distance, faint through dust-bleached sky. I could probably have walked up to the fence.

The Gaza Strip is hardly Mordor, but sometimes it might as well be, spoken of as it is, as a bogeyman land of danger and foes. So this verdant land between the road and the fence, littered with the detrius of old rulers and past wars, has a distinctly Ithilien quality.

Iran

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Click above for an expanded view of this CIA map of the Middle East (Greater Near East, Southwest Asia, whatever you want to call it), from the University of Texas PCL Map Collection.

Over the weekend, journalist Scott Ritter gave a speech asserting that inside sources tell him that the Bush administration has already signed off on plans to bomb Iran in June, and that it manipulated the January elections in Iraq. It would seem that the story has been noticed, since I've seen it on half a dozen web pages and in my email this morning. The folks breathlessly declaring these to be historic revelations need to get a grip, immediately. Though it says something that it's now a notable event for someone stating the obvious to be taken seriously.

So this week's map is presented so as to provide a bit of geographic context to current events.

Map of the Week: The Old City

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Click the image for an expanded view of this map of Jerusalem's Old City, Aer Atika. Never mind its efforts at a "vintage" look; this comes from the map they hand out at the Tourist Information Bureau at the Jaffa Gate.

I've always enjoyed poring over a good map. I can tell a good map because, after studying one, I come away with the feeling that I know something about the place depicted, that I have the beginnings of a feeling for what it would be like to be there. A good map invites the eye to an open-ended narrative of exploration, and in so doing distills the notions of Place and Journey.

It may come as no suprise, then, to hear that I've accumulated a fair collection of the things since I left the States. Since this blog is partly about digging into the various forms of locality, and partly about communicating my travels to the folks back home, I think it makes sense to share some of these maps. Let's try weekly.

Milligan: 1, Weather: 2

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Click above for an expanded view of this road map of central Israel; the route taken by my bus to Jerusalem is highlighted in light blue. The total distance covered from Rehovot to Jerusalem is about 30 km. Just take a moment to really appreciate the settlement density implied by this map.

With my advisor out of the country and the usual Sunday seminar moved to Tuesday, yesterday seemed an ideal opportunity to poke my head up out of Rehovot and survey something. Only having time for a day trip, I decided to take a proper look around the Old City in Jerusalem (i.e. without spending most of my time in shops picking up Christmas gifts). This is absurdly easy to do as, despite Rehovot's diminuitive stature, there are no less than two inter-city bus routes directly connecting the two cities.

The Rehovot central bus station is in the Rehovot mall (every town of more than about 35 people here has a mall), about a 15-minute walk from my dorm. Generally a pleasant walk, especially if breakfast is a pastry from the bakery next door. However, a cold front blew through over the weekend, which in this case meant that it started pouring quite chilly rain about halfway there. Fine, I thought, score 1 for the weather. I put up my hood and figured I'd dry out on the bus.

[Ed. update: lest you think it's just me]

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Map of the Week category.

Israel '05 - Part 4: Retrospective is the previous category.

Mpls '05 - Part 1: Renormalization is the next category.

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