Negative on the false positives (#MarsWalk)

Today I got in the car, checked my pedometer, drove to work, and checked my pedometer again. The route I drive is about ten miles, and if you know Syracuse’s potholes, you know it’s not very smooth.

Total steps recorded while in car: Zero.

I got out of the car and walked across the (narrow) street, and checked again. Twelve steps.

I’m kind of impressed.

MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

#MarsWalk recalibration

I don’t know how I can be expected to figure the distance from Viking 2 to MSL when I can’t even measure the distance from one step to the next.

When I started using the pedometer I measured my stride length and have been using that for distance calculation. Yesterday was the first time I compared pedometer distance to a map distance, and the two disagreed by about 10%. Either my measured stride length was too short or the pedometer was missing 10% of my steps.

Today I took another walk of known length. Along the way I did some step counting of my own which agreed closely with the pedometer — at one point I counted 500 paces and the pedometer read 502. Afterwards I tried directly measuring the distance of 30 paces in my driveway. Both of these and yesterday’s walk give stride lengths agreeing within an inch and disagreeing with what I’d been using by about three inches.

(Of course I’m sure stride length varies depending on circumstances. I have no idea how to estimate and correct for that, though, so I won’t try. Also the pedometer probably gets false positives when driving, etc., which I haven’t looked into.)

So I’m retroactively revising my distance estimates. As of last night, instead of 153.9 km as calculated with the old stride length, I now am claiming 171.9 km.

MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

#MarsWalk day 29, 143.5 km

[Edit: Using the revised stride length measured on 7 Feb 2016, distance was 160.3 km.]

I didn’t get quite as far this week as the past couple, but about 33 km isn’t bad. The next several days should get me 5% of the way to MSL.

The nearest thing of interest this past week was about 60 km off to the east: a pair of HiRise images. “Crater with Sharp Rim and Elongated Secondaries”, it says (you see, I told you, ripe for naming*). The two were taken about a month apart and form a stereo pair. Below is the central part of one image, but you should grab your 3-d glasses and go look at the anaglyph image. Zoom in and pan around, check out those elongated secondaries. The crater itself looks crazy deep to me, almost hemispherical, though maybe that’s an artifact of the imaging.Screenshot 2016-02-05 at 2

*There’s Uwingu, of course, naming up a storm but without IAU sanction. Which kind of suggests IAU is maybe moving too slowly on the nomenclature front. Anyway, from what I’m seeing on their site, I think Uwingu’s not naming any craters north of 30°N latitude, so even unofficially we’ll be in sparsely-named territory (marsitory?) for a while yet.

MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

#MarsWalk day 22, 110.7 km

[Edit: Using the revised stride length measured on 7 Feb 2016, distance was 123.5 km.]

Cleared my first 100 km this week! Only another 29 of those to go.

There’s not much of note nearby. Looks like it’ll be about another ten days before my closest approach to the next of the named features within about 100 km of my track. And then they get even more sparse after that. There are quite a few named craters and other such features near Viking 2, and near MSL, but they’re few and far between otherwise: Mars is ripe for a whole lot of naming! (See for a database of named features.) It also will be several days before I pass the next fairly nearby HiRISE picture.

So instead, a few words about something left behind. And off to the side. The rim of Mie Crater is about 160 km from Viking 2, so about a month’s walk at my leisurely pace if I’d gone east instead of south. Not that nearby. But it’s the largest crater less than 200 km from my track, with a diameter just over 104 km. In fact, it’s bigger than any other crater in a much larger area. If I search at it looks like there are maybe 140 Martian craters larger than Mie. But at latitude 48.16° N, longitude 139.65° E, it’s roughly centered between the 90° E and 180° E meridians and between the equator and the north pole, and in that one-eighth of the surface of Mars Mie is the largest crater. There’s nothing comparable nearby. It stands out.

It’s named for Gustav Adolf Feodor Wilhelm Ludwig Mie, a German physicist.

Here it is as seen in a mosaic of CTX images:Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.40.31 PMAnd in infrared as seen with the THEMIS instrument on Mars Odyssey:Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.41.11 PMNotice the black blotch in the visible, which presumably isn’t a shadow since it’s bright in the infrared: a dark area that warms up more than its surroundings by absorbing more sunlight. I don’t know what that is. Reminds me of the temporary dark stuff thrown up by last week’s recent impact, but I have no idea if it’s at all related.

MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

#MarsWalk day 15, 72.0 km

[Edit: Using the revised stride length measured on 7 Feb 2016, distance was 80.2 km.]

Seven more days, 72 km along. Into Evpatoriya and out again last weekend. Right now there’s nothing with a name (that I know of) particularly close by.

But there’s a HiRISE picture. HiRISE is the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MRO. On 4 Aug 2010 it took a picture of a piece of terrain about 27 km to my west and a little north. The web page says “Candidate New Impact Site Formed between May 2010 and July 2010” and unfortunately there seems to be no further explanation than that. But this picture is one of a few dozen mentioned in this paper. It would seem this region was earlier photographed twice by another MRO camera, the Context Camera (CTX, which covers larger areas at lower resolution than HiRISE), once in May 2010 and once in July 2010. Here’s a detail of the first of these:B21_017654_2279_XI_47N226W_detand here’s the second:G01_018577_2279_XI_47N226W_det

Spot the difference? Yes. Spot. The difference. Something impacted Mars between May and July. It left a mark. Presumably that was why the next month HiRISE was commanded to take a higher resolution picture; here’s a detail of that.ESP_018854_2270_RED.abrowse_detAnd here it is zoomed in to full resolution:
ESP_018854_2270_RED_detLooks like a sharp crater or two a little above the center, is that the new one(s)? And I presume the dark stuff is ejecta from below the surface which lightens as it weathers.

I don’t think there are any other HiRISE images of the same location but there are later CTX images. You can see the spot fade.

23 Nov 2010:G05_020278_2282_XI_48N226W_det 17 Mar 2012:G21_026436_2279_XI_47N226W_det23 Aug 2013:
D15_033161_2280_XN_48N226W_det 16 Feb 2014:D21_035429_2279_XI_47N226W_det 7 Sep 2014:F06_038040_2279_XI_47N226W_det

Barely visible there, but it seems we have a new crater. (Or, going back to that paper again, a few dozen. That we’ve seen.)

MarsWalk spreadsheet

MarsWalk kmz file (for Google Earth — View >> Explore >> Mars)

And then again…


… sometimes the lake effect machine points itself at the western suburbs. As of this morning the Camillus CoCoRaHS observer was reporting snow depth of 13″, compared to 16″ at the Syracuse airport. I was out in the driveway with the snowblower this week four times… in three days.

And then again again, there are the synoptic storms, which are entirely different. In particular storms sometimes come up the east coast. Like this upcoming weekend. And sometimes their track and their size are such that Syracuse takes a hit, like at the end of January 1966 when a combination of synoptic and lake effect weather dumped nearly four feet of snow on the city.

A lot of the time, though, the coastal storms stay to our south and east. So this time, while they’re forecasting 30 inches in Washington, DC, little to no new snow is expected in Syracuse.Screenshot 2016-01-22 at 1130 inches in DC will be brutal. I lived in the Washington suburbs while going to grad school at the University of Maryland about 35 years ago and I recall schools being closed if an inch or two of snow fell.

We had two allegedly 50-year snow storms during my time there. About 15″-18″ of snow each time and it shut the university down for a week. The first of those storms I and two friends were driving back that night from Boston and the roads just got worse the further south we went. Made it though. A week after the second storm I was walking home along Route 1, except then I discovered I was walking in Route 1 — in a right turn lane that still had not been plowed.

For the current storm, Congress is adjourning until Tuesday, but our New York congresspeople are toughing it out (or being stupid):

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus [NY], said they planned to keep their Washington offices open Friday and Monday, regardless of snow conditions.
This is how civil wars start, you know.

If you don’t like the weather wait five miles

It’s about 11.4 miles from the CoCoRaHS amateur weather station in Camillus, NY (in the western suburbs of Syracuse, and near where I live) to the National Weather Service station at Syracuse’s Hancock Airport (northeast of the city). Last week Syracuse (that is, the airport) got 16.7 inches of snowfall. Camillus got 5.0 inches.

For Wednesday the score was Syracuse 13.7, Camillus 1.0. Snow depth the following day (which generally is less than the total of recent snowfall because snow melts and compresses) was 12 inches in Syracuse, 3 inches in Camillus.

New snow Snow depth
Syracuse (0000-0000) Camillus (~0600-~0600) Syracuse (12Z) Camillus (~6:00)
10 Jan 2016 0.1 T 0 0
11 Jan 2016 T 0.0 0 T
12 Jan 2016 1.9 2.5 T 0
13 Jan 2016 13.7 1.0 7 2
14 Jan 2016 1.0 1.5 12 3
15 Jan 2016 T 0.0 10 3
16 Jan 2016 T 0.0 7 1.5
Total 16.7 5.0

You can get an idea of how this happens from the radar video:

The red line through Syracuse is the New York State Thruway. Local conventional wisdom is that snowfall gets much worse when you go north of the Thruway. The airport is just north of it; Camillus is a couple miles or so south of it. In the video a lot of the time there’s precipitation spread across the general area, but at other times there’s a classic lake effect snow band coming off Lake Ontario, stretching many miles east but very narrow north to south, and usually somewhere north of the Thruway. See 0:14 into the video for instance:Screenshot 2016-01-17 at 9

Driving north-south through one of these bands is interesting. You can have no precipitation at all at two points five miles apart and near white-out snowfall in between. I saw that a lot when we lived in Parish, about 35 miles north of Syracuse; I also saw that these bands sometimes wander north and south, and then sometimes just park right on top of where you live for a week.

Last Wednesday I wasn’t in Camillus or Syracuse (or Parish); I was in Newport News, Virginia, which wasn’t getting any snow at all. But my car was at the Syracuse airport. When I parked it there on Monday — having put a shovel and some boots in the car before I left home — I noticed the outdoor lot had many empty spaces so I figured it was worth checking in the parking garage, and sure enough I found a space in there. $6 more but totally worth it. I did break out the snowblower for the first time this season once I arrived home, but even if I’d been shoveling by hand, doing the entire driveway wouldn’t have been much more effort than shoveling around the car and clearing it off had it been in an outdoor space at the airport.

Shelf help

What I did for the fridge in November I did today for the pantry. When I rebuilt the shelves and reloaded them I obviously didn’t check expiration dates. And then there was stuff that didn’t have expiration dates… but which I knew I’d seen around for a good long time.

Lots of room in the pantry now. Maybe I didn’t need more shelves.

(Or maybe I did. Need to restock.)