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An Epic and Historic Show and Event Happens Tonight Across the Galaxy and Most of the Planet – The Longest Total Lunar Eclipse of the Century, the “Blood Moon,” and Mars Easily Observed

“Blood Red Moon” During Lunar Eclipse (Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is the national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Willwork is in the shows and events business.

Today’s post is tied to the shows and events theme.

It is also a follow-up to the most recent post in this space – the post published on July 19 that features Willwork’s highly valued client, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI), and the role HMI technology is playing in a major industrial astronomy project: the installation of radio telescopes in northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle.

Yes, today’s post stays with shows and events, and astronomy.

And we are talking about the most awe-inspiring of events, of shows – those that occur and play out and take place in the skies and heavens above.

Like the longest total lunar eclipse of this century, which will be seen by most of the world on the evening of July 27-28.  The downer is that an area of the world from which the eclipse is not viewable includes almost all of North America.

Before going on, here is the short-and-sweet definition of a lunar eclipse provided courtesy of Wikipedia: “A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind Earth and into its shadow.”

Following is an excerpt from an EarthSky story, “Century’s longest lunar eclipse July 27,” written by Bruce McClure:

“The full moon on the night of July 27-28, 2018, presents the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century (2001 to 2100). The total phase of the eclipse – called the totality – spans 1 hour 42 minutes and 57 seconds. That’s in contrast to the shortest total lunar eclipse of this century, which occurred on April 4, 2015 and lasted 4 minutes and 48 seconds. And it’s in contrast to 2018’s other total lunar eclipse – on January 31, 2018 – whose totality lasted 1 hour and 16 minutes.

“A partial eclipse precedes and follows the total phase of the eclipse, each time lasting 1 hour and 6 minutes. So, from start to finish – on July 27-28, 2018 – the moon spends nearly 4 hours (3 hours and 55 minutes) crossing the Earth’s dark umbral shadow. Wow! That’s a long eclipse.

“Adding to the excitement on eclipse night … this eclipse will happen on the same night that Earth is passing between the sun and Mars, placing Mars at opposition in our sky. In one of the sky’s wonderful coincidences, the Mars opposition happens on July 27, too. It’s not just any Mars opposition, but the best Mars opposition since 2003 …. ”

Mr. McClure also writes that, at points during the eclipse, due to the alignment and movement of Earth and sun and Mars, “the moon will turn red from sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere onto the moon’s surface.”

As well, he explains that the actions and placement of the planets and the sun will make Mars particularly easy to see, even with the naked eye.

Again, though, the way the universe works does not have North America in the physical viewing zone of the eclipse, and “blood moon,” and Mars being all lit up and easy to find.

The best places on the planet to watch the eclipse are Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Central Asia. And is across this stretch of the planet that the blood moon will be cloaked partly, or fully, in the shadow of Earth from 1:14 p.m. to 7:28 p.m. (EDT).  A complete eclipse, “totality,” happens from 3:30 to 5 p.m. (EDT).

Good news is that even if you are home in the U.S. or other places in North America, today and tonight, technology and online communications avails an opportunity to watch the eclipse as it happens.

Willwork recommends two real-time viewing options:

  • The Weather Channel hosts a livestream on its app beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT) today. (Willwork wants to note that the digital properties of the Weather Channel are owned by longtime Willwork client IBM.)
  • Starting at 4 p.m. (EDT) today, NBC News hosts a livestream.

This big-time celestial event occurs a little less than a year after another rare and extraordinary show played out in the sky – that time, though, the show took place in the sky over America.

The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 was the first solar eclipse, since the solar eclipse of June 8, 1918, in which the eclipse was visible across the entire mainland of the U.S., and the first, since the solar eclipse of February 26, 1979, in which a total solar eclipse was visible across all the contiguous U.S. states.

A solar eclipse, and here we refer again to Wikipedia, “is a type of eclipse that occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and when the Moon fully or partially blocks the Sun.”

Lunar and solar eclipses foment deep curiosity and intrigue and engagement among we Earthlings.

Soul-enriching, happy, inspiring, heartening, smile-inducing … unifying … all this is what eclipses and other events and performances played out in the cosmic and celestial space above can make happen.

The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Peggy Noonan saw all of this play out on the streets of New York City on August 21, 2017.

Watching the Solar Eclipse Over the Empire State Building; August 21, 2017 (Image credit: Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal)

Ms. Noonan shared and reflected on her solar-eclipse experience in her August 24, 2017 column, “For a Day, Our Political Troubles Were Eclipsed”.  The subtitle of the column is “It was beautiful: Up and down Madison Avenue, people looked upward.”

Here are the first three paragraphs of Ms. Noonan’s column:

“In Manhattan on eclipse day I had planned to go by Central Park to witness how people would react to the big celestial event. But I didn’t get there because of what I saw on Madison Avenue.

“It was so beautiful.

“Up and down the street, all through the eclipse, people spontaneously came together—shop workers and neighborhood mothers, kids and bank employees, shoppers and tourists. They’d gather in groups and look up together. Usually one or two people would have the special glasses, and they’d be passed around. Everyone would put them on and look up and say ‘Wow!’ or ‘Incredible!’ and then laugh and hand the glasses on.”

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“Wow!”

“Incredible!”

Leave it to nature and the unfathomable and infinite energy of the universe to create and conduct shows and events that elicit … that demand … from humans these emotions and these responses.

 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) – a Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Client – is Playing an Important Role in a Project That Will Help Humanity Acquire a Better Understanding of the Universe

Installation of Asturfeito Radio Telescope in Northern Norway (Image credit: Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence)

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

Our client list includes winning and successful companies across almost all industries. On the list are some of the largest and best-known multinationals … and also small, recently started companies that you may not have heard of … yet …. but you will.

Among our clients are organizations that create and invent, and bring to market, the technology that makes commerce more efficient, more cost-effective, and which improves quality of products and services.

One of those organizations is Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) .

It our privilege to service, and to work with, HMI.

Based in North Kingstown, RI, HMI designs and produces solutions that optimize the use of measurement data “to increase production speed and accelerate productivity while enhancing quality” in industrial manufacturing projects around the world.

As explained at the HMI website, “Through a network of local service centers, production facilities and commercial operations across five continents,” HMI is “shaping smart change in manufacturing to build a world where quality drives productivity.”

HMI is a division of the Swedish company Hexagon AB, a “leading global provider of information technology solutions that drive productivity and quality across geospatial and industrial landscapes.”

A major project – a project that benefits all humanity – in which HMI solutions are now being used, is the installation in northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle, of two large radio telescopes, each 13.5 meters (44.3 feet) in diameter.  On this project, HMI technology is employed to assure that the telescopes are assembled with the highest accuracy and precision.

Overseeing the engineering and assembly of the telescopes is Asturfeito, a company headquartered in Spain.  Asturfeito has been an HMI customer for five years.  Asturfeito provides, organizes, and coordinates services for engineering, manufacturing, and commissioning of capital goods for large industrial projects.

In 2013, Asturfeito and HMI teamed as part of the effort to bring into full operation the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), an astronomical interferometer (an array of radio telescopes that operate and record data in unison) located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile at an elevation of 5,000 meters (16,000 feet).  The ALMA interferometer, developed and constructed by an international coalition of scientific organizations and private companies, contains 66 radio telescopes. Planned and built at a cost of $1.4 billion, ALMA is the most expensive ground-based telescope in the world.

In the installation of the radio telescopes, Asturfeito is using HMI laser tracker systems.

Radio Telescopes

Radio telescopes.  What are they?  What do they do?

Answers to these questions are found in the article, “What Are Radio Telescopes?”, published on the website of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO).  Here are the first two paragraphs of the story:

“Just as optical telescopes collect visible light, bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis by various instruments, so do radio telescopes collect weak radio light waves, bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis. We use radio telescopes to study naturally occurring radio light from stars, galaxies, black holes, and other astronomical objects. We can also use them to transmit and reflect radio light off of planetary bodies in our solar system. These specially-designed telescopes observe the longest wavelengths of light, ranging from 1 millimeter to over 10 meters long. For comparison, visible light waves are only a few hundred nanometers long, and a nanometer is only 1/10,000th the thickness of a piece of paper! In fact, we don’t usually refer to radio light by its wavelength, but by its frequency.

“Naturally occurring radio waves are extremely weak by the time they reach us from space. A cell phone signal is a billion billion times more powerful than the cosmic waves our telescopes detect.”

Radio telescopes are essential and fundamental instruments and devices to the practice of radio astronomy, which is, and here we refer again to language from the NRAO website:

“Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves. With radio astronomy, we study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

“With giant, sophisticated radio telescopes, we watch stars turn on, shine, and expend themselves, and then we spy on their fascinating corpses. We watch planets form from dust and ice. We clock the spin of our Galaxy and thousands of others. We see the echo of the clumpy Big Bang and the Universe’s very first stars and galaxies. And we spot the chemical precursors of DNA, floating in space.”

Radio telescopes collect and track data emitted from machines, space probes and satellites, that people send into the cosmos.

If you click here you will be taken to the area of the NRAO website where is found interesting history and explanation about radio astronomy.

Jansky’s “merry-go-round” radio telescope (Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF)

As for those radio waves, which are sort of the precursor to radio astronomy, they were first identified almost 80 years ago by Karl Guthe Jansky (1905-1950), an engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, the organizational genesis of what today is NOKIA Bell Labs.  Mr. Jansky had been hired by Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1928, and tasked with locating and identifying static and turbulence that interfered with telephone communications.  To accomplish the mission, Mr. Jansky mounted an antenna on a turntable so that the antenna could be rotated to pick up radio waves coming from all directions.  “Jansky’s merry-go-round”, built on Bell Telephone Laboratories property in Holmdel, NJ, was the first radio telescope.

Using the radio telescope, Mr. Janksy identified all the sources of the radio disruption except for one.  Yet he would discover that source as well.  In 1931, he found that stars were what had been that mystery emitter of radio interference.

Today the name for a unit of radio-wave emission strength is a jansky.

It would be late in 1932, when Karl Guthe Jansky first published his findings on stars and radio waves.  Mr. Jansky launched a discipline and a science that an astronomer and engineer named Grote Reber (1911-2002) would usher along and on which he would build.  Before 1932 was out, Mr. Reber attempted to devise and adapt a shortwave radio to detect radio waves transmitted by the stars. The shortwave radio experiment didn’t work.  What did work though was an antenna he built in his backyard in Wheaton, IL in 1937: bowl-shaped and 9.4 meters (31 feet) in diameter.  This device – bearing a resemblance to the radio telescopes of today – enabled Grote Reber to improve detection of, and learn more about, radio waves, and to develop the first mapping of radiation across the Milky Way, the galaxy we Earthlings call home.

Messrs. Jansky and Reber pioneered a science, what started humanity on the path that led to us the radio astronomy technology of today, what the NRAO calls the “giant, sophisticated radio telescopes” – those like the two being installed in Northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle.

And why inside the Arctic Circle? There are surely far more accessible and environmentally hospitable places.

Radio telescopes are installed in locations far removed from concentrations of human habitat – such as the Arctic – to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI)  from manmade electronic devices, such as radio, television, radar, and motor vehicles.

And HMI technology is relied on to keep the radio telescope installation perfectly aligned, precise, and balanced … even when the work being done is in some of the coldest and windiest and miserable conditions on the planet.

Yeah, it can get like that in the Arctic.

Benefits of Astronomy – Whether Radio or Optical

Whether – and this is greatly simplifying the concept – it is visible light data and information that an optical telescope collects, or the radio frequency data and information a radio telescope gathers, both are a trove that astronomers and other scientists analyze and study to help humanity know more about the universe.

A primary, an overarching … and we dare say … cosmic benefit … of astronomy is that it helps humanity consider, even if we cannot ever begin to fully understand, how impossibly minute and tiny is the place, the planet, we call home, as a component of the galaxies and the never-ending outer space.

And, in this way … as well … it instructs us just how special is Earth, and how important it is that we take care of  our home.

How small and how remarkable is Earth, and how small and how remarkable are its residents, is beautifully conveyed in a short film called “The Blue Dot” that the legendary and great scientist Carl Sagan – whose scientific creds include that of all-star astronomer – created.  The Blue Dot refers to a photo of Earth that the NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft shot on its 1989 mission. It was Mr. Sagan, a member of the NASA Voyager 1 imaging team, who, as the spacecraft was about to leave our solar system, successfully urged NASA officials to turn and train the camera on our home and take the image.

Carl Sagan used the photo, in which Earth looks like a blue dot, as a visual set against a speech he wrote and delivered. Please click here to be taken to the film.

Astronomy provides us answers to questions we did not know to ask.

Astronomy abets humility even as it exalts our station amid the unfathomable vastness.

Oh, yes, of course, astronomy supports the explicitly tangible and innovation and development that makes living, and making a living, easier, safer, happier, and more productive.

In the following excerpt from an article, “Astronomy in Everyday Life,” published on the website of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) –and authored by Marissa Rosenberg and Pedro Russo (EU-UNAWE), Leiden Observatory/Leiden University, The Netherlands), and Georgia Bladon and Lars Lindberg Christensen (ESO, Germany) – describes specific areas that benefit from astronomy, while also giving a nod to those cosmic contributions and benefits of the science:

“The fruits of scientific and technological development in astronomy, especially in areas such as optics and electronics, have become essential to our day-to-day life, with applications such as personal computers, communication satellites, mobile phones, Global Positioning Systems, solar panels and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.

“Although the study of astronomy has provided a wealth of tangible, monetary and technological gains, perhaps the most important aspect of astronomy is not one of economical measure. Astronomy has and continues to revolutionize our thinking on a worldwide scale. In the past, astronomy has been used to measure time, mark the seasons, and navigate the vast oceans. As one of the oldest sciences astronomy is part of every culture’s history and roots. It inspires us with beautiful images and promises answers to the big questions. It acts as a window into the immense size and complexity of space, putting Earth into perspective and promoting global citizenship and pride in our home planet.”

If you click here you will be taken to the full article in which you can read more about how astronomy makes life better.

We also wanted to point out … and we just had to, because it is all so immensely intriguing and engrossing … an example of how astronomy is enlisted in the quest to find out if we Earthlings share the universe with other intelligent beings.

Consider the ongoing radio astronomy commotion, and vibrant conversation, and deep analysis, and far-reaching conjecture, which rises from the phenomenon of fast radio bursts, or FRB, first identified in 2007 within data that radio a radio telescope had collected.

Now it seems that established and respected scientists believe that it is possible that these FRBs are power sources for alien spacecraft traveling through the galaxies.  Really.  To learn more about the scientists positing this theory, and the science behind the theory, please click here to be taken to a Popular Mechanics story, “Harvard Scientists Theorize That Fast Radio Bursts Come From Alien Space Travel: Could these mysterious flashes of radio waves come from a planet-sized device to power alien spacecraft?”, written by Jay Bennett, and published on March 9, 2017.

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Whether in the field of electronics or navigation or MRIs or searching for beings from other galaxies … or the many, many other sectors of life … astronomy plays an integral and important role.

And Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (HMI) plays an integral and important role in enabling astronomy technology and devices and instruments to operate with optimum accuracy.

 

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Remembers A Solemn Event And Celebrates A Holiday Tradition

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit and Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

In 2017, we have been celebrating our 30th year in business.  Yes, we started out in 1987 – and when we did so, we were a company that focused exclusively on providing exhibit installation & dismantle labor for shows and events in the Greater Boston area.

Today, Willwork has offices in major urban areas across the U.S., and from coast to coast we work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.

Our client list includes some of the largest and most established multinationals, and smaller and newer companies of which you may not have heard, yet … but you will.

Our valued clients and our valued business partners, and our exceptional and hard-working employees, enable and make possible success – and are the foundation of the Willwork legacy of excellence.

Here, deep into the holiday season, Willwork cites and points to and heralds an epic and historic example of noble and human endeavor, of compassion, and of the most heartfelt and enduring gratitude – all generated from a terrible tragedy and immense loss of life.

Looking across Halifax Harbor two days after the explosion (image credit: Nova Scotia Archives and Record Management)

It is an episode, still playing out, that joins two cities on the Atlantic Ocean: Boston, our hometown, and Halifax, the provincial capital of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

It is a story of extraordinary organization and logistics and labor and the most estimable human achievement and virtue.

This year is the centennial chapter and installment of the story – for it was 100 years ago that destruction and fire emanated from the waters just off of Halifax, and the people and resources of Boston quickly were marshaled and dispatched to come to the aid of the city.

The “Halifax Explosion” took place on the morning of December 6, 1917.  In the following excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the disaster, the magnitude and devastation of the maritime explosion is explained:

“The Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden with high explosives, in the Narrows, a strait connecting the upper Halifax Harbour to Bedford Basin. A fire onboard the French ship ignited her cargo, causing a large explosion that devastated the Richmond district of Halifax. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by the blast, debris, fires or collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.  The blast was the largest man-made explosion before the development of nuclear weapons, releasing the equivalent energy of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT 2.9 (12,000 GJ).”

For more information on the Halifax Explosion, including its background and aftermath and legacy, please click here to be taken to the full Wikipedia entry, and here to be taken to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interactive about the event.

As Halifax smoldered, and was engulfed in suffering, the city and Nova Scotia and all of Canada mobilized to treat the wounded, bury the dead, and provide housing, and embark on a broader rebuild.

Also mobilizing, in a big way, were Boston, and the Massachusetts government; they quickly teamed to send a train to Halifax which carried nurses, doctors, surgeons, and medical supplies.  When the relief team arrived, it went right to work, coming to the aid of the exhausted Canadian physicians and medical staff.

Boston Mayor James Michael Curley and Massachusetts Gov. Samuel McCall took the lead in establishing the Halifax Relief Committee.

Massachusetts donated $750,000 to the Halifax relief effort.  For perspective, adjusting for inflation, that $750,000 in 1917 represents about a little more than $13 million in 2017.

Nova Scotia, the year after the disaster, expressed its gratitude to Boston and Massachusetts by sending to the Hub a large white spruce Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree was originally a one-time gift, but it would become an annual tradition, starting in 1971 when the citizens of Nova Scotia again sent a giant white spruce tree to Boston.

As for what constitutes “large” or “giant”, the white spruce tree that Nova Scotia every year gives Boston is in the 45 to 50-foot high range, with the 2017 edition (donated by the the married couple, Bob and Marion Campbell, of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) actually a bit taller – 53 feet.  Yes, a large tree … a giant tree.

By the way, the journey from Nova Scotia to Boston on and along which the tree is transported is one of about 700 miles and takes two days.

And every holiday season, since 1971, the tree given by the people of Nova Scotia is the Christmas tree that takes center stage, complete with tree lighting celebration, on Boston Common.

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, Boston magazine published on its website an interesting and informative story by Madeline Bilis, titled, “Throwback Thursday: Boston’s Helping Hand After a Disaster in Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia sends a tree for the Common each year to say thanks.”

If you click here you will be taken to the article.

Also interesting and informative is a Q&A that Madeline Bilis conducted – published on November 15, 2017 in Boston magazine – with Dave MacFarlane, 41, who for the past 20-plus years was the truck driver who drove the white spruce from Nova Scotia to Boston.  (And who drove the tree to Boston in 2017?  That would be Dave MacFarlane.)

The following comment is among those Dave MacFarlane provided in the interview:

“ …. You know the tree is always a big deal in Nova Scotia. A lot of people compete over it. Every year they have several trees that people want to go to Boston, and they pick the best tree.

“But I just really like it. It’s just fun to see all the people, all the warm wishes, and everybody’s excited to see the tree. It means a lot to all the Nova Scotia people what Boston did for us in our time of need when the explosion happened. I’m proud to be a part of the position … ”

By clicking here you will be taken to the full interview with Dave MacFarlane.

A truly wonderful story and history, one which further testifies to how when fate and circumstances confer the worst, the most good and caring and decent of humanity arises and responds to meet the challenge, and to alleviate and heal anguish and hardship.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Servics Wishes All the Happiest of Holidays!!

A Thanksgiving message from Willwork, Inc. Exhibit and Event Services

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management.

In 2017, we are celebrating our 30th year in business.

Back at the launch of Willwork, in 1987, the company had the sole purpose of providing exhibit installation & dismantle labor for shows and events in the Greater Boston area.

Our corporate office was a room in a house basement. Our office equipment consisted of a steel desk, a wood chair, a telephone, an answering machine, a floor lamp, and notebooks and pens – and that was about it.

And, oh yeah, Willwork had one employee.

Today, Willwork, still based in the Boston area, has offices in major cities across the U.S.  We have 60 full-time employees.  Depending on the show, the event, we have run crews of over 200 skilled laborers.

The Willwork workforce, strong on diversity, is the best and most capable in the industry.

Our client list includes some of the largest and best-known multinational corporations, as well as smaller enterprises that you may not have heard of, yet – but you will.

Willwork operates and functions within a team culture.  Our employees work together, and they hold themselves and their teammates accountable.

Outcomes are achieved together.

We work hard, and understand that it is beyond our good fortune to live and do business in the United States of America, a republic flawed and imperfect, and far and away the greatest nation on earth.

It is a privilege for the employees of Willwork to be a part of and contribute to the commerce that is an important and necessary component of the strength of our nation.

To be a great company, it is incumbent on those within that organization to be thankful for the opportunity and freedom to work and earn a living.

This opportunity, this freedom, can never be taken for granted.

Never forgotten, and always top of mind, should be the brave and noble men and women, the best of our country, who have served and sacrificed, and today stand guard, to preserve and maintain our rights and way of life.

On the occasion of Thanksgiving, Willwork sounds a particularly clear and loud note of thanks for all that we have and for all that we have been able and allowed to accomplish.

And, to All, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services Extends and Wishes the Happiest of Thanksgivings!!