Happy Fourth of July!

320px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svgI’d like to give my American readers a big Happy Independence Day! You make up more than half of my readers, and your support is appreciated very much. I hope you have a wonderful day, a great barbecue, great beer, and great fireworks (if you do all of those).

I may be Canadian, but I do have a connection to the US. You see, my grandmother was born in the United States. North Dakota, to be exact. Yes, my grandmother was American, but immigrated to Canada when she was young. But being from North Dakota, she was Norwegian, as many Norwegians settled there.  Lots in Minnesota, too, right?

When I was a kid, my grandparents had an idea for one summer. They suggested that they take me on a road trip around the United States. They had given me some amazing maps of the US that were made in the 1980s, but incredibly high quality paper. Those were some of my favourite maps. All fifty states had their own map, and I looked at them a lot, being a geography geek as long as I can remember.  That trip never came to be, unfortunately, but it would have been incredible. We would have traveled around with their fifth wheel and stayed at campgrounds all over the country.

Now that I’m returning to Canada with my family, I’d love to take a few road trips around the States, as well as Canada.  Lots of places to see, and I think it would be incredible. So, this is your chance to convince me which places would be a must see in the US. Let me know in the comments.

Advertisements

The Countdown to Pluto

I remember reading Astronomy magazine in the early 90s, seeing the pictures of the planets all the way out to Neptune. I remember seeing the pictures from Galileo and the Mars probes. And then Cassini went to Saturn. Pluto was something I’d wanted to see ever since I was a kid.  It was a childhood dream. Well, that dream will be realised in about 10 days, 20 hours, and 30 minutes. New Horizons passes Pluto, and we’ll finally see what it looks like.

Honestly, my thoughts right now are that I really, really want to see Pluto. It’s surreal. We’ve already seen Ceres this year, and Dawn is still closing in on its lower orbit. We’ve seen a comet from the point of view of a lander, Philae. And now, Pluto!

The latest colour images of Pluto showing detail. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute
The latest colour images of Pluto showing detail. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

But you know what? There’s a website that’s counting down the seconds until the encounter. It’s also got a Pluto picture of the day.

What can I say? I’m incredibly excited by this. I can’t believe the moment is only ten days away! Are you as excited as I am?