Solar Eclipse - October 23, 2014

Solar Eclipse – October 23, 2014, photo by David Marvin

Although the clouds didn’t want to cooperate, David got a few shots of yesterday’s solar eclipse. See this one background big and click to his slideshow for more.

More eclipse photos on Michigan in Pictures. And speaking of eclipses, check out this awesome time lapse of the October 8 Blood Moon eclipse by Central Michigan University astronomy prof Axel Mellinger!

Glen Haven MI Sleeping Bear Dunes Empire and Glen Haven Marked RPPC Kodak Stampbox Unsent what looks like a hump of low scrub bushes is actually a forest hill buried in sand

Glen Haven MI Sleeping Bear Dunes, photo by Don…The UpNorth Memories Guy… Harrison

Tuesday was the 44th anniversary of the founding of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You may have heard the Chippewa tale that inspired the name of the park:

“Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tried and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear”.

You might not be aware, however, that “the Bear” was also an actual formation atop a dune about a mile north of the Pierce Stocking Overlook. The Lakeshore says that the formation pictured above…

…hardly looks like a bear now, for it has been changing rapidly in recent years. At the turn of the century, it was a round knob completely covered with trees and shrubs. You can still see some of the thick vegetation that gave it a dark shaggy appearance.

…For a long time, the Sleeping Bear Dune stood at about 234 feet high with a dense plant cover. However, through most of the twentieth century, erosion has prevailed. By 1961, the dune was only 132 feet high, and by 1980, it was down to 103 feet. The process is a continuing one. The major cause of the dune’s erosion was wave action wearing away the base of the plateau on which the dune rests. As the west side of the dune loses its support, it cascades down the hill. The wind, too, is a major agent of erosion, removing sand and destroying the dune’s plant cover.

You can see what the area looks like now and read more right here.

View Don’s photo background bigtacular and get daily blasts from the past in his Northern Michigan Photo Postcards – Our History and Heritage group on Facebook!

 

Ludington State Park Ridge Trail

Ludington State Park, Ridge Trail, photo by otisourcat

If it seems to you that fall colors are more erratic this year than usual, it’s not all in your head! The Great Lakes Echo feature by Juliana Moxley titled Last winter’s cold legacy: Fall colors slower to peak explains (in part) that last winter’s extreme cold is the culprit:

The harsh 2014 winter is partly to blame, said Bert Cregg, a professor in the department of horticulture at Michigan State University.

We are still having a good fall color season in Michigan, but we are likely to see some trees in full color while others are just beginning to turn, he said.

“As you’ll recall, last winter was extremely cold — one of the coldest winters on record,” Cregg said. “The winter stress delayed leaf-out for many trees, and then the tree’s timing was further delayed by a cold rather than normal spring.”

A warming climate can also affect fall color, said Howard Neufeld, a professor in the department of biology at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Higher temperatures, altered timing and/or amounts of precipitation, changes in humidity, changes in cloud cover, increases in the length of the growing season and higher levels of nitrogen inputs in the ecosystem can all affect fall color variance.

“Increased precipitation means that light levels are most likely lower, and trees will do less photosynthesis,” Neufeld said. “With less photosynthesis, there are fewer sugars in the leaves. Warmer temperatures mean higher respiration rates, and more sugars will be metabolized.”

You can read on for lots more including an explanation of the scientific processes that impact color change.

The photo above by otisourcat shows that patchy color well. See it bigger and see more in their slideshow. More about the trail and park in the Ludington State Park guide.

More Michigan trails and more science on Michigan in Pictures!

Foggy morning, photo by Jiqing Fan

Wikipedia says that Portage Lake is part of the Keweenaw Waterway, a partly natural, partly artificial waterway that cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula to provide access for shipping from Lake Superior. If you click the link you can get an aerial view.

View Jiqing Fan’s photo bigger and see more in his massive Houghton & UP MI slideshow. He writes:

Saw the fog on Lake Portage from my apartment window after I woke up today. I knew the potential this fog can bring so I darted down to the lake shore. But the fog was so heavy that the foliage on the other bank were completely blocked. Just when I was about to give up and head back for school, the fog started to break as the sun rises. And then the magic started to unfold before my eyes. Soon the fog lifted and fill the campus uphill, the entire campus was bathed in soft morning light and there were Tyndall effect everywhere! I can not think of a better way to start a day of work.

What’s the Tyndall effect you ask? The UC Davis ChemWiki explains that the Tyndall effect was identified by 19th Century Irish scientist John Tyndall.

Because a colloidal solution or substance (like fog) is made up of scattered particles (like dust and water in air), light cannot travel straight through. Rather, it collides with these micro-particles and scatters causing the effect of a visible light beam. This effect was observed and described by John Tyndall as the Tyndall Effect.

The Tyndall effect is an easy way of determining whether a mixture is colloidal or not. When light is shined through a true solution, the light passes cleanly through the solution, however when light is passed through a colloidal solution, the substance in the dispersed phases scatters the light in all directions, making it readily seen.

For example, light is not reflected when passing through water because it is not a colloid. It is however reflected in all directions when it passes through milk, which is colloidal. A second example is shining a flashlight into fog or smog; the beam of light can be easily seen because the fog is a colloid.

Yay science!

Miners Castle - Star Trails

Miners Castle – Star Trails, photo by Heather Higham

Heather took this gorgeous shot a couple of weeks ago. Check it out bigger, see a day & night comparison and view her Aurora Borealis slideshow.

Lake of the Clouds from the Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountains

Lake of the Clouds from the Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountains, photo by Linda Carter

Linda writes that this photo is taken about 400 feet above Lake of the Clouds on the Escarpment Trail, which starts at Lake of the Clouds Overlook. She says that if you go the whole loop it’s 8 miles, but 2 or 3 miles along the trail you get the most beautiful views of the Lake.

Agreed!

View her photo bigger and see more in her Porkies slideshow.

There’s at the Porcupine Mountain State Park website including a map of the Escarpment Trail & Lake of the Clouds area and more Lake of the Clouds on Michigan in Pictures!

Sandhill Liftoff

October 17, 2014

10-8 HDR 1e_Fotor

10-8 HDR 1e_Fotor, photo by Gregg Mulholland

Apparently the control tower likes to get those birds airborne.

Definitely check Gregg’s shot out big as the sky and roll through his Sandhill Cranes slideshow for more.

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