Hi All,

Fortune cookie say: Man who keep feet firmly on ground have trouble putting on pants

Many of you have on occasion showed interest in space weather.  Kara suggests a web page that you might find interesting.


For example, my mother, or anyone far enough north, could use this page to see if they have a chance to see the northern lights on a given night.  Some comments on the information shown on this page follows (direct from the doctor).

<<  Straight from the Doc >>

The website mentioned above has new articles almost daily.  Usually they are very interesting and include cool pictures.  At this point in the solar cycle there will start to be more and more pictures of the aurora.  Currently, the page has an article on chance of solar flares, of which there are  5 classifications – A, B, C, M, X; X being the largest.  Who knows where they came up with these.  Anyway, a solar flare is not what causes the aurora, but does indicate sun activity, which can lead to aurora activity.  So on the left side of the webpage, you’ll see a whole bunch of numbers that might look like gobbly gook to you.  One of them I just mentioned (solar flares), also listed is the solar wind speed,  sunspot number, K-index, Mag. Field and then several forecasts made by NOAA.  Sunspot number also indicates the amount of sun activity.  During solar minimum, there can be no sunspots at all, whereas right now, there are 165 sunspots.  There is also a picture of  “Current Auroral Oval”.  If you see yellow and red reaching down to where you live, there’s a good chance you’ll see aurora.  The next index to pay attention to is Kp.  Kp can vary from 1 to 9, 1 being extremely quiet, 9 being an extreme storm.  Here’s a map showing the estimated location of how far south the aurora will go depending on Kp value:


Interplanetary magnetic field, specifically Bz, is important, but is NOT one of the easy space weather things to explain, so skip that value.  And the last thing to watch is the NOAA Forecasts, specifically mid-latitude geomagnetic storms, which is where most of you live.  As a reference, Cheboygan, MI is 45 degrees latitude, Orford, NH is 44 degrees latitude, and Boulder, CO is 40 degree latitude.Another website to check out is


This page answers some frequently asked questions by the general public about space weather.  If you’re really interested in learning about space weather, I also suggest checking out


for some basic definitions.  And, a paper on what the aurora is can be found at


Let the questions commence!   🙂

<<  end from the doc >>

One day in early June, a small town just west of ABQ named Grant had a dew point of 1.  Yes, that is a single digit and the second lowest non-negative integer at that (Zero is neither negative nor positive).  You might realize it is odd to see such a number for a dew point.  Let me put on my propeller hat and tell you just what a dew point of one means.  As per wikipedia, the dew point is the temperature below which the water vapor in a volume of humid air at a constant barometric pressure will condense into liquid water.  A high relative humidity indicates that the dew point is closer to the current air temperature. Relative humidity of 100% indicates the dew point is equal to the current temperature and that the air is maximally saturated with water. When the dew point remains constant and temperature increases, relative humidity decreases.   In relative terms, wikipedia stated a dew point ” < 49 deg” is “a bit dry for some”.   The air temp in Grant at that time was in the 90s.  Otherwise, it has been in the BLISTERING 95+ degrees for weeks on end and yes, it seems almost all of CO and NM are on fire again.

For years, Kara has been going to a conference in Snow Mass CO.  Something seems to come up every year and I don’t get to go along with her to see this most intriguing place.  This year was no exception.  We made a small mistake in scheduling and the summer job (I had for only two days) prevented me from going along yet again.  One of the activities I would love to participate in there is white water rafting, Kara has done this in Snow Mass in the past.  Maybe next year!  We do have a few friends, which are on this mailing list, that live in CO be it Boulder or CO Springs.  As yet we have not heard that any of them have had to evacuate due to the fires.

We are hoping to change apartments (on base).  There is a unit becoming available which does not appear to have barking and howling dogs near by, gets afternoon shade and has a few trees around it (YES! something green).

NM stats and facts, I know, I know, you can do funny things with stats.  Lets just look at it as an overall picture, if you had the desire to argue any one point:

–  “Student Access & Success; New Mexico’s four-year institutions receive a poor grade in this area, falling in the bottom 10 in retention rate, completion rate, and credentials produced per 100 full- time equivalent undergraduates.” (US Chamber of Commerce)

– Second to last in access to medical care (US Dept Comm)

– Second to last in quality of medical care (US Dept Comm)

– 25% of jobs in the state are Gov based, this is one of the highest in the nation (NM State Sec Labor).  Flip side not many businesses employ people in NM.

– The job growth rate recently improved to zero percent, i.e. not negative, last month (NM State Sec Labor).

– Violent crimes, 1 per 100,000 population, rank 9th (worst) in the nation.  (US Census Bureau)

– Insurance based crime rate ranking for NM (47), only Nevada (50), followed by Louisiana (49) and South Carolina (48) were worse (data from some strange insurance board)  No wonder our car insurance sky rocketed when we came out here.

Ahhh NM “the land of enchantment”.

I feel as though I am struggling to come up with content that is interesting (as opposed to complaining about NM).  I will try an experiment and include a select photo from out travels that hopefully will be interesting and provide me with something else to talk about.  If you have been diligent and checked out our travel blogs, the photos will be re-runs and our apologies.  For this email, the photo will be reduced in resolution to keep the file size reasonable.  The one attached here is from our trip to Yellowstone in 2011.  Near Old Faithful there are numerous bubbling pools in an area called the Upper Geyser Basin, this photo is of one of those pools.  Some / most of the pools are named.  We neglected to get the name of this pool.  It is widely accepted that Yellowstone sits atop an active mega – volcano (hence the bubbling pools and such).   The subject of the attached photo is considered a:

Thermal PoolsThermal pools, or hot springs are some of the most beautiful sights in Yellowstone. The water color ranges from a deep sapphire blue to a bright teal in these pools. Many are surrounded by rainbow-colored bacteria. Some erupt gently, sending small waves out from the center.

The pools often have water in them which is near 200 deg F and are usually very acidic (ph near 3).   The scenic color can be due to minerals and / or bacteria that are able to survive in such environments.



Hope everyone enjoys the 4th.  Please do keep in touch, for many of you we are overdue to hear your job and or location situation (some have moved, some bought a house) or any other life changes.


Kara and David


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