Trial Balloon

Moons of Saturn Monday

Posted at 6:00 AM on May 24, 2010 by Dale Connelly (32 Comments)
Filed under: Science

Thanks to the 1,800 + people who stopped by our MPR offices in St. Paul, Rochester and Bemidji yesterday to be part of the Member Appreciation Open House. It was a pleasure to see so many familiar faces, and quite a few new ones as well. I spent the afternoon in our main Radio Heartland studio showing visitors how incredibly easy it is to be a disc jockey. Not only were mere children able to learn the job quickly - several of them became restless and strangely anxious - looking around the room for more challenging work.

Parents, you can thank me later when your brilliant child chooses to become a doctor or a space scientist.

Speaking of space, it's Monday, so there must be more Moons of Saturn on display.

Yesterday I spied yet another striking shot from the tireless Cassini spacecraft, still hard at work 12 and a half years after its launch.

You can click on the photo to see a larger version.

saturns moons.jpg

Two weeks ago we had a look at the moons Pandora and Epimetheus seeming to race around the rings. Saturn has 62 known moons. Imagine if you were with your Saturnian sweetheart, gazing into the nighttime sky. Would it be romantic, or more like watching NASCAR or a parade of dirty icy chunks? You'd need a scorecard. Words of love might have to wait.

Now we see another visual trick where the moon Rhea appears to sit on top of a very tiny Epimetheus. In fact, Rhea is bigger, 949 miles across compare to a mere 70 for Epimetheus. But the difference is exaggerated in this shot by Rhea's being much closer to the Cassini camera.

The eye catching thing about this shot (for me) is how completely fake it looks - the sort of thing I doodled on the back of my notebook in Mr. Tindall's American History class in 7th grade. If I wasn't drawing moons of Saturn, I was doodling superheroes or cars, especially as spring turned into summer outside our classroom window.

What did you do at your desk when you were supposed to be paying attention?


Comments (32)

I dreamed about racing snowmobiles and science experiments.

Posted by Steven in Moorhead | May 24, 2010 6:05 AM


Good Morning, Dale, Mike and All -
too old for texting or emailing - in class we did what i've heard called "paper texting." we sent notes. lots of notes. in 8th grade (a small parochial school) we were graded on conduct. got a mark off each time caught doing something like talking, sending notes, etc. we could sit in detention over lunch or recess to erase those marks - i think 15 minutes to disappear a mark. i sat and sat and at report card time, got a D minus on conduct. my mother wondered how i could get an A in religion and a D minus in conduct. ha, ha

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | May 24, 2010 6:13 AM


I'd draw pheasants and dogs in my notebooks. But mostly I just daydreamed, taking wild trips inside my head all over the universe. I still do.

I just got back from my 50th high school reunion. Lordy, talk about trips. It was amazing how many OLD people showed up wearing name tags I vaguely remembered.

Good morning Heartlanders. I hope y'all have a better week than I'm expecting!

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | May 24, 2010 6:15 AM


Good morning all. In some of my college classes I had trouble staying awake. In grade school I did a lot of day dreaming about being any where other than in the class room. In high school I think I just didn't do any thing and became one of the living dead. In one high school class I do remember reading news magazines that a teacher had available. Of course the teacher thought I should have been listening to her instead of reading the magazines.

Posted by Jim | May 24, 2010 6:34 AM


Mostly in high school I just couldn't wait to get out of high school and out on my own. Fantasy was to be a translator at the UN and live in NYC. And I was going to be a famous poet - although I don't remember writing during class. Actually don't rememer much of any of my classes!

Posted by sherrilee | May 24, 2010 6:34 AM


GM, All. Do read Dale's post for yesterday, Sunday re Open House. Funny.
Have a good day.

Posted by Clyde in Mankato | May 24, 2010 6:41 AM


Oh dear! i mainly paid attention. I might have pulled out a book to read, but only if it was officially sanctioned free time. I was pretty rule bound then. I couldn't even doodle very well, having really poor drawing skills. When it was really boring I may have day-dreamed, but that's as off-task as I would get.

Posted by Renee | May 24, 2010 6:43 AM


Greetings! I was a good student, listened to teachers and paid attention. At the Catholic grade school I attended, the nuns would usually pick me to write down the names of kids who talked if she left the room. When my mind wandered, I would doodle and draw horses or eyes. Geez, how Freudian is that? I was rather lame and boring ...

Wish I could have attended MPR Open House -- that sounded fun. In high school, I wanted to be a DJ. So on career day when I walked into the room about being a DJ, the guys laughed at me because I had a bad stutter at the time. So instead I got that really useful BA in Theatre ...

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | May 24, 2010 7:05 AM


One great thing about doodling the Moons of Saturn - whether you could pull off a perfect circle with vivid shading and delicately rendered craters or your drawing resembled a misshapen chunk of debris, it was bound to look like ONE of the actual moons. I liked assigning myself no-fail tasks.

Posted by Dale Connelly | May 24, 2010 7:07 AM


In grade school I invented a house to contain my desk...had to open the door to stand up, the light had a string attached to the light above that I tried to remember to turn off when leaving my "house" for any length of time. there was a window to see the teacher...but did I ever look at her?

A more vivid memory is of a college American History class sitting next to a woman who drew little connecting circles down the side of her notepaper...well, that was early in the semester, bythe end of the semester she was filling entire pages and pages of these little circles. Yes, it was a boring class, but I am still curious what was going on in her mind when she did this.

Steve in St. Paul...we are organizing our 50th reunion even now...I know what you mean...

I just read the first chapter of Patricia Hampl's book on memoir...my brain is spinning with trying to retrieve memories..

Happy Monday y'all...stay safe midst the heat and storms!

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | May 24, 2010 7:14 AM


I had an ongoing conversation with a mysterious pen pal who sat at that same desk I had in Russian class (he had it during homeroom). It started with a simple "Hi, who are you?" and went from there. Got to be kind of fun seeing what would be there every day. The teacher seemed pretty tolerant of ballpoint pen all over the desk and would only clean it off when it got too full. About 1/2 way through the year my correspondent figured out we had met, but wouldn't give up his real name...that provided a good challenge for a few weeks. Of course once I figured out who my pen pal was, we still left notes, but some of the magic was gone...But it was a great place to draw doodles and crazy looking creatures in pen.

(Barb in Blackhoof - I got in trouble, too, for passing notes. I remember there being several elaborate folding schemes to keep them private...)

Posted by Anna | May 24, 2010 7:37 AM


In spite of having trouble paying attention, I did some how complete my class work, but I still have night mares asbout failing courses.

Posted by Jim | May 24, 2010 7:49 AM


i got to meet dale and aaron at the openhouse yesterday. fun afternoon. got to see jim ed and chat for a bit too. and all those other people from the other radio shows. julie armacher , and a bunch of the classical music guys and the news people. heck they even let the current people associate with the real radio people. they kept dale in his studio. what a cool set up. the station is a pretty neat place with all sorts of people doing news and archiving and organizing. just a whole bunch of stuff going on i never think about at all. first of all thanks for the tickets to jake and jake at the cedar last night. excellent stuff. jake armerding a singer songwriter who played and sang with a style and energy i really enjoyed and wrote songs that were poignant. he reminded me quite a bit of an early peter mayer and i enjoyed him a lot. jake shimabukuro with the ukulele player was the main act and he was amazing. if you have blue roses falling in the library it was beautiful. his my guitar gently weeps rendition was incredible but so was everything else he did. a truly remarkable artist.
i did doodles that were like drawing the spaghetti on the plate and filling in the holes to make an expressionist design, still do. if i was lucky enough to have colored pencils i would do the fillins in colors. like an appel drawing.
the moon form your camera are remarkable too. dale thanks for sharing them. what incredible clarity on the pictures .

Posted by tim | May 24, 2010 7:58 AM


Greetings, all. I'm late this morning. Had to get in a 10 miler before work, since it's going to be such a hot one today.

Drawing and writing poetry were my diversions when I was supposed to be attending to class.

Have a great day, everyone!

Posted by elinor | May 24, 2010 8:02 AM


Morning all...

I drew tractors for a long time (the John Deere 4020 was my specialty...)

and lots of random sci-fi stuff; made up space ships, aliens, moon rovers...
My best friend Pete and I hung out in the AV office or the band room if we had time on our hands... tormented those teachers.

Posted by Ben | May 24, 2010 8:19 AM


At Harding High School I use to sit in Mr. Williams math class and stare out the window and watch the cars pass by on 94. I can't tell you how many times I did this and I can still picture it many years later.

Now my two boys have spring fever bigtime. It's storming in Bagley today and both boys got up and asked if school was going to be cancelled because of the rain.

Have a great day! Marianne

Posted by Marianne | May 24, 2010 8:22 AM


Good Morning RH,

I remember spending a lot of time looking out the window and daydreaming about being somewhere else. In HS, I thought a lot about my future and finally decided to pursue education because I'd have summers off and would be able to develop a nice suntan. (wink)

My first graders like to draw doodles of Star Wars, Pokemon, pretty ponies and earrings.

Dale, your description of the kids growing restless in the studio yesterday cracks me up! Doesn't he crack you up, Mike? (Pengra)

Oh hey, ya'll might be interested in knowing that right now at this very moment, I'm in St. Paul at daughter's after driving up on Sat. for a reunion with son from Chicago and taking in the Twins game yesterday for a late Mother's Day gift. Target Field is incredible. Our seats were 3rd base, second level and in the shade, no less! The layout of the stadium with city skyline as a backdrop is exquisite. But I don't have to tell you natives that! And yeah, they lost to the Brewers, but gave us an exciting last inning with bases loaded and good chance to rally.
Also got to Sea Salt and Liberty Custard. Fine stuff!

Posted by Donna | May 24, 2010 8:26 AM


For me, it would vary. In high school, some classes I had a notebook that would get passed around to my friends. Sometimes, it'd get passed multiple times during a class, but usually it would be between classes. We would read the previous notes during class and respond :) Other times I would be doodling in my notes. I look back at my notebooks now and wonder when I had the time to take notes, haha. In college, I would generally read a book, or do homework for another class. Most of the time, this wasn't a problem. My professors had a habit of repeating themselves. I learned more doing the homework anyway, haha. Now, I just read the blog and NewsQ :)

Posted by Alanna in MI | May 24, 2010 8:26 AM


marianne. funny.. a rain day would be good. i worked construction in high school and learned to love rain days off.
alanna nice to see you back.

Posted by tim | May 24, 2010 8:44 AM


Dale, re Twain, on whon I did a huge amount of study in grad school. 1) Twain was afraid to express some of his religious views, but most of them came out one way or another in other publications he did not mean to be drawn from his notes and published. Twain was not as daring as people expect. He was always afraid of the established literary brahmans, as they were called then, of Boston, with whom he was a fellow traveler. 2) Yes Twain would want us talking about him. A lot of Favre in him. He was once called "the most conspicuous man on the planet." We have trouble seeing the level of celebrity he held, which he loved. A friend of his once addressed an envelope to "Mark Twain the World." It found him in the Far East.

Posted by Clyde | May 24, 2010 8:47 AM


We are having rain today, too, along with high winds with gusts up to 39. Our high temp will only be 56. My cats and dog are reminding me that today must be the day I have to stay home curled up with them, but I don't think that's what on my schedule. Happy Monday, Heartlanders!

Posted by Renee | May 24, 2010 8:50 AM


A former student, wonderful young lady I also had in homeroom and whose family endured a dark dark tragedy, found me on facebook. Apparently she was doodling in my classes.
She told me she was a grammar stickler because of me (but she did pay me a compliment, too). Then she told me she had moved to a very small town in north central MN because she liked living among LESS people. I call it the Ed Newman effect: declare yourself a grammar stickler or expert and you will make an error. I would assume she just picked that up from all of the checkouts across America in her childhood which then said “Ten Items or Less.” However, I taught mass versus count nouns quite extensively in a class she took.
I split my mind in many classes. I daydreamed a lot, do not remember about what. But I could daydream and pay some attention, as all you others can, too when you choose to. I used to tell my colleagues that if they had to go back to HS and go through one week that we put the kids through, they would all go nuts.

Posted by Cly de Boring Ecole | May 24, 2010 9:00 AM


Cynthia -- if you're still on.... I am also a "fill the page w/ circles" person. I do this mostly at department meetings because if I put my whole brain towards the meeting, it will likely explode one of these days.

Anyway, the circles are urban development in my mind... always sprawling and sprawling, filling in all the blank space!

Posted by sherrilee | May 24, 2010 9:11 AM


so clyde the mass vs count makes fewer the choice over less? it sounds correct . i just never learned the rules. my catholic shcool never taught grammer at all. i know noun and verb and that's it.
thnaks for the twain info i am a fan. i guess we do forget what a different world it was 100 years ago, without tv , radio, nationwide or worldwide coverage of anything, he had to be huge. watch out what you wish for. all the recognition left him with worldwide travels to pay off the debt he incurred from thainking that because he was famous he knew more than the rest of us and betting on his ideas of the best inventions of his time. away from his family to keep up the image. hard times for him while fame was all around.

i was laughing at barbs catholic school recollections. i am in a group of vegetarian , recovering catholics. what a kick. i too used to get low citizenship and high religion grades. the people who can stare straight ahead and sit motionless and pay attention were the only way the nuns knew how to teach back in the day.

Posted by tim | May 24, 2010 9:16 AM


tim--I only taught this in a program I developed in which kids took an English class during their first year of French that taught them English and French grammar at the same time, as well as comparative culture. Mass versus count nouns are a significant difference in French.
Okay, only grammar lesson I will teach on here: mass nouns are things we cannot count but come in mass, such as air, popcorn, luck, charisma, spirit, etc. Count nouns can be counted, such as rocks, shoes, blessings, and most nouns. We pluralize count nouns, refer to them by numbers, and use the word “fewer” in reference to them. Ten item or fewer. Fewer people. Four dogs. Mass nouns are not pluralized, and we use the word “less” in reference to them. Less room, less air. English, being the very adaptive language it is, has many words which are mass in one reference and count in another. Most drinks are like this. The goat gave more milk. I had three milks for breakfast.

Posted by Cly de Grammere | May 24, 2010 9:44 AM


Like both my older sisters, I, well, I talked. I will never forget my dismay, upon receiving my computerized report card, with its computerized comments...and realizing that Comment #7 meant "Inattentive in class." Being a perennial Good Girl, I was simply horrified.

I recently ran into that teacher when I was home for my mom's funeral. 36 years have gone by, and the first thing I said to this woman (when I realized who she was--when had she gotten so old??) was "INATTENTIVE IN CLASS!" The conversation was pretty much downhill from there....

Posted by Lisa | May 24, 2010 9:48 AM


barb, tim, others—I have no problem seeing why you can get high marks in religion and poor marks for deportment, to use the very old word for it:
1) I used to work with Catholic religion teachers and they almost all went to great lengths to NOT grade behavior, spirituality, etc.--all of the hallmarks of a religious life-- as religion itself because of all of the dilemmas in doing so.
2) The brightest kids, the gifted, are often a challenge. I used to send home letters to parents for kids who I thought were worthy of praise that was not reflected by the letter grade. I often sent home such letters for kids who were active, talkative, argumentative, etc. (They were often astounded that I had sent the letter home.) So the kids who would learn the stuff of religion the best could easily be a challenge in behavior, control, etc.
(By the way, MN law forbids teachers to include behavior as part of an academic grade, which would not of course apply to Catholic schools.)
3) Most adults can split their minds and gifted kids learn to do it at an early age, one of the ways to identify them. When I ran a gifted program, I had a great third grade teacher say to me in frustration in reference to one of my students “He drives me crazy; he pays no attention to me but he knows everything I am doing and saying.” I would bet many of the bloggers on here are 1) the kind of student who would today be identified as gifted and 2) challenges in the classroom.

Posted by cly de pedagogue | May 24, 2010 10:42 AM


Clyde.. I like your way of looking at it... "splitting your mind". This is exactly what I do when I'm in my meeting. Half the brain goes to the meeting and the other half to my doodling/urban sprawl project. It's funny because I've been doing this at this particular meeting for a few years and people actually ask to see my paper when we leave... I can almost always cover a whole 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. Luckily my boss understands that I am actually paying attention w/ part of my brain!

Posted by sherrilee | May 24, 2010 10:49 AM


Oragami

Posted by Ben A | May 24, 2010 11:48 AM


to throw another twist into the mix: it was a Wisc. synod Lutheran parochial school i went to, not catholic! the A in religion was because i could memorize bible verses. (we had a certain number of verses assigned to memorize and recite to the pastor each morning - we would study them in the line, waiting to recite and then forget them immediately afterward)

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | May 24, 2010 1:24 PM


(Late post - out of town guests left a bit ago.)

My best friend and I kept in touch by TOSSING wadded up notes to each other at the back of 7th Grade history. The teacher was this cool old guy, really mellow, who didn't really give a rip and just left us alone for the most part, so we got bored with it and quit!

In second grade or so, remember the little half circle of chairs you would sit in for reading group? Barby Block and I sat with one person between us, and when bored somehow began tickling, behind the chair of this kid between us, each other's inner wrist and forearm. Never got caught.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | May 24, 2010 3:39 PM


Sherrilee...just back on at 4:35...was that YOU sitting next to me at CU?

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | May 24, 2010 4:33 PM


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