Monthly Archives: April 2014

The 2014 Annular Solar Eclipse

The 2014 annular solar eclipse was meant to be a rare one, occurring once every 73 years. It was going to be about 50% in Sydney, not total but still impressive to watch. I left the arc welding helmet at home with instructions for the kids on how and when to use it to look at the sun. The goggles came with me to work.

It was clear all day, but the clouds gathered near the horizon just as the sun dipped and the eclipse was due to start.


The 2014 Annular Solar eclipse as viewed from Sydney. Just clouds.
Vikram and I climbed to the carpark roof to view the eclipse, but it was behind the clouds.

ABC Radio National science podcast

ABC radio has some really good shows, including a whole bunch of science shows. They offer an awesome podcast feed that combines all their science programs plus any scientific segments from other shows into one. ABC hides this feed really well, whenever I have to reload my podcasting app (with my luck with phones, way to often!) it takes ages to locate the feed again.

Well I finally found it, so here it is for the next time I need it, and for anyone else that may enjoy this gem that the ABC hides so well.


Now see this picture from NASA

Sun Over Earth (NASA, International Space Station Science, 11/22/09) Image cedit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center


Camouflaged Gecko

I was moving an old pile of timber out in the back yard over the weekend, hiding in amongst it were 2 Broad Tailed Geckos. I only actually saw one, which had dropped it tail and run off. I knew there was at least one other as there was a second tail writhing about on the ground. The tails moved as though they were alive, made me wonder if they can drop their tails at will as a diversion when they sense they are about to be preyed upon.

I’d placed my jacket on the ground while I was working, when I picked it up a few hours later this guy fell out! Geckos look cool and I always like to see them, I was extra impressed with how effective it was camouflaged against the natural sandstone.

Grinning Gecko
Camouflaged Broad Tailed Gecko, without (broad) tail


Igneous Dyke near Brooklyn

An igneous dyke is where molten magma has forced it’s way up into a crack between existing rocks. Dykes can extend for many kilometers in lines on the surface.  There’s a dyke marked on the Sydney 1:250,000 geological sheet that cuts across the M1 and old pacific highway just south of the Hawkesbury River. It’s mentioned in the “Geology along state highways” section of The Field Geology of NSW. I’ve tried to spot it many times while driving down the M1, I think I’ve seen it but it wizes by so fast it’s hard to be sure.

The dyke is the red line striking ESE just south of the Hawkesbury River. Tv stands for Tertiary volcanics, which means the dyke is less than 65 Million years old. Geologically it’s a baby!

Last weekend I went for a ride down the old Pacific Highway and I’m pretty sure I found it.

Pacific Hwy Dyke
Dyke in a cutting beside the old Pacific Highway just south of the Hawkesbury River

It’s a vertical channel about 4m wide that cuts through the surrounding Hawkesbury sandstone. The material in the dyke was heavily weathered and seems softer than the surrounding sandstone.