1st Day of School

My classes have officially begun! When Kate dropped me off today in front of the Reichardt Building (physics, chemistry, and geology departments) we were treated to a fantastic view of the Alaska Range. The building sits on Wood Creek Butte and overlooks the entire Tanana River Valley (between the hills north of Fairbanks and the Alaska Range). I could sit up there all day and watch the float planes flying all around against the mountain backdrop. On a clear morning like today Mt. Hayes, Hess, and Deborah shine in the sunlight. I’ll say right off the bat, the pictures don’t do it justice. Sorry, the quality here wasn’t what I had hoped. Turns out the panorama software on the camera can’t deal with the shadow created by the lens.

Reichardt Panarama

Notice there are a couple light black V’s in the sky on either side of the picture. Those are the Sandhill Cranes migrating south. Yes, the birds are flying south, the trees and groundcover are changing color, and the air is getting cooler.

By the way the crow flies, Mt. Hayes is (the big one in the picture) is 92 miles away, has an elevation of 13,832 ft., and a vertical rise (from the base) of 11,507 ft. It looks huge , even from this distance. On a clearer day than today we can see Denali (150 miles away and 20,320 ft. in elevation). It is spectacular, and I hope someday soon I will both see it, and have my camera with me.

On a physics note, looking at Mt. Hayes today was like glimpsing into the past. Approximately 4.9E-4 seconds (or approximately half a millisecond) into the past since light only travels about 671 million miles per hour. That’s only half the amount of time of a typical photo flash!

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