Lick Observatory

Last night, another storm passed through the Bay Area. By late afternoon, large clouds crossing the skies were casting their shadows below on Silicon Valley. I knew that Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton had seen a dusting of snow, so I started scanning the horizon for that landmark.

After an extensive study of all the snow-capped foothills, I finally found it. The challenge was that the low clouds had obscured the observatory at times. Even after I found it, I could see it appear and disappear from view depending on the changing conditions on the peak.

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Waxing Crescent Moon 35%

Tonight, the waxing crescent moon danced across the night sky with the planet Mars just off to its right. While full moons garner the most attention, the crescent moon really shows off the contours of the lunar surface. The strong directional light really highlights all the craters on the moon.

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Snow-Capped Foothills in the Bay Area

Click on image to see in full-resolution.

Last night, the Bay Area experienced a light dusting of snow at the higher elevations. If you look behind airship hangars at Moffett Field, you can see the snow-capped foothills.

To the far left is the Dumbarton Bridge and to the far right is the new Google HQ under construction.

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Golden Eagle

I was walking along the Permanente Creek Trail in Mountain View, CA at noon when I spotted an enormous bird on Vista Slope at Shoreline Park. Every time I’ve seen one of these large birds on the ground, they were having a meal, and this one didn’t disappoint.

I missed the hunt, but saw the Golden Eagle dining on its lunch catch. I’ve seen a lot of squirrels and an occasional hare running along Vista Slope, so maybe one of them ended up as the prey. Although the animal was obscured by the tall grass, I could see the Golden Eagle tearing off strips of meat and consuming them over a course of 15-20 minutes.

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Total Lunar Eclipse

I missed the super blood wolf moon. I peeked outside a few times throughout the night but the moon was pretty well hidden behind the clouds. The rain didn’t help matters either. Towards the tail end of the eclipse, I could finally see the moon as an opening in the clouds emerged.

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Urban Forest

Urban Forest

During a recent hike to the Stanford Dish, I was amazed by the volume of trees stretching to the horizon. Usually, I see trees in isolation. However, this elevated view provided a different perspective. Maybe we’re living in an urban forest. We just don’t know it yet.

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Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

Richmond-San Rafael Bridge

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge connects the city of Richmond in Contra Costa County to the city of San Rafael in Marin County. The first time, I crossed the bridge, I was surprised to discover that San Quentin State Prison was located right on the shores of the San Francisco Bay. The prison is the set of buildings in the bottom left corner of the photo.

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Monarch Butterflies

Made a return trip to Natural Bridges State Beach, which is the winter home to migratory Monarch butterflies. When I was there six years ago, the boardwalk was quite crowded and the trees had clusters of Monarch butterflies.

This time around, I didn’t see as many people. There were opportunities to observe the Monarch butterflies, but most of them were flying about. I even spotted a pair that was focused on procreation.

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Google Bay View Campus

The new Google headquarters being built on North Shoreline Boulevard between Amphitheatre Parkway and Charleston Road has attracted a fair degree of attention. Located next to the Googleplex, that project boasts an eye-catching dome design. I walk by that job site a few times each week and have seen their steady progress over the past few months.

From Shoreline Park, I’ve also seen the cranes on Moffett Airfield. I had assumed that Google Bay View campus would be a traditional corporate park, like the adjacent Google office buildings nearby. So, I was in for quite a surprise when I took a walk on the Stevens Creek Trail and spotted the same structural lines that define its big sister a few blocks away. Mountain VIew is going to be an interesting place in the next decade.

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Working in the Clouds

Today, I spotted a person on top of Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. I had never seen anyone up there before. However, it makes sense that there must be some way to change out the bulbs in the aircraft warning lights.

We had a touch of rain the night before so the skies were cleaner than usual. Fortunately, there was a small cloud just off to the side that really completed the image.

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