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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Where will you be for the American Eclipse? - August 21, 2017

Coming up on Monday, August 21, 2017 
OK, OK we know...
But do you, really?  Where will you be?

NASA Eclipse State Maps:
(includes viewable and printable maps showing the eclipse pathway and times)

You can see a partial eclipse anywhere in North America!

 In Southern California? 
See the 60-70% partial eclipse!

What Do You Need For Viewing?
  1. Solar filters for eyes, cameras, and scopes:

    Camera Obscura (indirect observation): a pinhole in a card to project the image of the Sun. 

For our friends in Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory posted a great .gif to show the partial eclipse.

 Sun Viewed through a solar filter

We really like their name for the eclipse:


Look for the patterns in the shadows from leaves on the ground.. or your house!
 For More on Eclipses.. 

The Earth Minute presents: the American Total Solar Eclipse 

 Visit the FANTASTIC NASA Site 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Look closely! Spring Rain in Southern California

Southern California doesn't get much rain.
Even though our good rainstorms this year [2017] didn't leave much of a lasting impression, the early morning raindrops on the flowers and leaves made patterns on patterns on patterns.
Look closely and see the magic!


For more adventures in Southern California - 
and around the world...
 Subscribe to
Discover the Headwaters of the Los Angeles River (least sandpipers, American crows) 
Summer Visit to Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park, CA (island fox, common long-beaked dolphins) 
Walk Mulholland Hwy, Santa Monica Mts. (CA towhee, wildflowers)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Earth Minute presents: the American Total Solar Eclipse Only 5 Months Away

On August 21st, 2017 a coast to coast Total Solar Eclipse will cross the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.
Totality will touch Western Oregon around 10:10 am PDT and hit the Atlantic in South Carolina at about 2:50 pm EDT.
The maximum duration along the path will be 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Where will you be for this rare astronomical event?
Below is a video of the progression of the Mongolian Total Solar Eclipse taken by Michael Lawshe in 2008.
The path of totality is narrow, in 2017 it will be only 60 miles wide. 
Keep an eye on this site: for more information and posts about this great upcoming adventure that YOU can be a part of!!

 Visit the FANTASTIC NASA Site is a link to a pdf map of the path.

Thanks to the amazing work of Xavier Jubier for the interactive google map of the total solar eclipse.
NASA: Eclipses and Eclipse Wise by Fred Espenak. 

THEN, Click on the map in this link and find out how much of the eclipse YOU will see.

 for more adventures: Subscribe to us!
Storm Brewing over Grand Tetons National Park, WY
See Yellowstone Hot Pools Bubbling (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming)


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Desert Tortoise Takes First Drink of Spring

Tortoise hibernation, or winter torpor, is an amazing adaptation. For 3-5 months they sleep without eating, drinking or eliminating waste. When they wake up in the spring, they need a long drink of water.

This male desert tortoise has been hibernating since the first week of December 2016. He woke up this morning March 16, 2017.

Watch him drink. His eyes and nose are submerged. He lets the water bathe his eyes and sucks water in and out of his nasal passage to flush out his nose. The Aldabra tortoise, from islands in the Indian Ocean, is known to have a flap in its nasal passage that allows the tortoise to draw water up its nostrils and into its throat without pulling the water into its lungs. I think there is a good chance that other tortoises have this adaptation as well. If you look closely you can see a brown plume area in front of the desert tortoise's nose where it has pushed away the dirt on the bottom of the pan as it blew water out through its nostrils. 

Notice how much he drinks. How much lower the water level is along his body when he stops drinking. 

The creatures around us have amazing adaptations for survival. Definitely worthy of an extra minute to stop and appreciate.

More Earth Minutes with desert tortoises:
Backyard Breakfast - Reptile Style (CA desert tortoise & western fence lizard)
Desert Tortoise Hibernation
Signs of Spring (California desert tortoise)
and other tortoises
See Aphrodisia and The Temple of Aphrodite, Anatolia, Turkey (spur-thighed tortoise)

Visit for your weekly minute in nature. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Catalina Clams in Baja, Mexico

Sometimes an Earth Minute is right at your feet.

I recently traveled to San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Along the shores of the lagoon there were mounds and mounds of shells.


Catalina clams were over harvested here in the last century. The clams were sold as food and millions of their shells were sold in the U.S. for decoration. The mounds of shells piled up in the desert are a testament to the enormity of the over harvesting. Similar mounds can also be seen of pen scallop shells.

Protection of numerous shellfish species over the past few decades has made a difference. Species like the Catalina clam and pen scallop are making a come back. Today fishing combines with tourism to support the local economy.

I went to San Ignacio for the whales. Earth Minutes with gray whales are coming!

Other Earth Minutes with protected species
Meet An Island Fox
Protected Island Fox
Meet a Dugong
Meet a Platypus 
American Bison
Snowy Egret 
Saltwater crocodile
How Tall is a Redwood Tree
California desert tortoise
Great Barrier Reef 

Visit for weekly natural experiences.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pouring Rain in California 2017

It's true. When it finally rains in California, it pours.

Thursday, Feb. 16th, we had our first big rain storm in years. No post because our electricity went out.

Soaking rains over the previous month have made a huge difference for the hillside. This rain is soaking in before running off. No mud flowing.  Two inches fell before noon, a total of four and a quarter inches for the day.

Spring flowers are already emerging and the plum tree is about to burst into bloom.

Have to love the rain.

Rain Earth Minutes:
Rain in New York's Central Park in Fall
Listen to a Rainstorm Approaching Kakadu National Park, Australia
How Do Trees Dream? 
Illinois Butterflies After the Rain 
Great Horned Owl Takes Shelter your 1-minute weekly escape

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Do Raccoons Come Out During the Day?

Here is your answer. This Earth Minute is brought to you by Bodie the dog and the neighborhood canines.


Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are abundant in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. For the last two nights we have heard two raccoons making their chittering talk at night. It isn't often that we see them in the middle of the day, but today was the exception.

This adult raccoon might have gotten hot in its daylight retreat. The weather was unusually warm today. Traveling along the fence top, the neighborhood dogs spotted it and sounded the alarm. Bodie is big enough that the raccoon took to the tree for protection.

A half hour of contained dogs and the raccoon had moved on. It'll probably be back in the early morning to explore the backyard mud for grubs and other morsels.

It's not often that a large mammal makes an unexpected visit. It's nice to have a moment with wildness here in the heart of Los Angeles. 

Other Earth Minutes with Bodie
A Romp at the Beach
Yellowstone Bison Jam
Morning in a Habitat Yard

Other Backyard Visitors in Los Angeles
Alligator Lizard
Family of Ravens
Bewick's wrens build a nest
Watching Lizards in LA Yard
Cooper's Hawk and Raven
Valley Carpenter Bees
Anise Swallowtail
Red Jumping Spider 
Ring-necked Snake
More CA Animals

Visit TheEarthMinute Weekly for a New Minute with the World