An amazing cube, like real Space: full of stars!

One of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen made its very first appearance this evening in San Diego. Mitchell Walker, who plays didgeridoo in Balboa Park and Seaport Village, has completed an epic project that began as a dream almost 40 years ago. He has officially completed The Great Stellarium Project!

Mitchell’s 30-inch Plexiglas cube which contains a three-dimensional star map–his amazing Stellarium–made its debut in Balboa Park near the Fleet Science Center. The Stellarium was admired by curious passersby, and by astronomy lovers who’d gathered for the monthly stargazing “Stars In The Park” event of the San Diego Astronomy Association.

Mitchell has an irrepressible smile and a great sense of humor. One of his biggest passions is science fiction–Star Trek in particular. For much of his life he’s had a strong fascination with astronomy.

Years ago, Mitchell’s dream to recreate a part of our galaxy was inspired by the star map that figures in the film The UFO Incident. His idea was to design a transparent cube that holds an accurate portrayal of the stars nearest to our sun. His first attempt to invent such a marvel resulted in a cube that was 15 inches square. He still uses that smaller cube as a night light.

The impressive 30-inch Stellarium that debuted today displays our “stellar neighborhood” within 50 light years of Sol, the sun. Our tiny corner of the galaxy took Mitchell a little over a year to build. The 166 stars are obviously not to scale, but the distances between them and their relative positions around Sol are accurate. Each tiny star, attached to a filament that is almost invisible, shines with fluorescent paint in the color that matches its spectral classification. In darkness, under the cube’s black light, the effect is extraordinary.

After the sun set this evening, I sat on a nearby park bench and watched as people stopped to peer into the dreamlike Stellarium. Some pressed a button at the cube’s base to listen to Mitchell’s recorded audio narration.

Clouds unfortunately concealed the night sky. For a magical moment or two, members of the San Diego Astronomy Association abandoned their nearby telescopes and joined their friend Mitchell Walker, to gaze into a wondrous cube full of stars.

Please visit Mitchell’s web page that describes his Stellarium here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Images from Witches’ Night in San Diego!

It’s April 30. Tonight is Witches’ Night!

Certain witches in San Diego haven’t gathered on a dark mountaintop or in a deep forest to work their magic, however. I know this because I spotted them this evening in Balboa Park’s Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum!

For an enjoyable hour and a half I listened to San Diego State University history professor Elizabeth Pollard and Beth Accomando of KPBS discuss the ancient belief in witchcraft, what distinguishes it from superstition, religion and science, and how witches have been characterized and dealt with by the people of different eras.

Fictional witches discussed ranged from Erichtho and Meroe of ancient Roman literature, to the three witches of Macbeth, to Circe as envisioned by the Pre-Raphaelites, right up to the Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent, and others we readily recognize today in our popular culture.

Before sitting down in the Comic-Con Museum’s auditorium, those in attendance were able to look at some cultural artifacts, a chilling video loop of Häxan from 1922, and several rare books in the collection of the San Diego State University Library. The main attraction under glass was a scarce early edition of Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) printed in 1494–only fifty years after the Gutenberg press!

Here are a few images from tonight. But please excuse me–I have to go make sure my door is locked, because it’s getting close to midnight!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos from the Embarcadero around nightfall.

It’s late in the year and I’m feeling lazy. Time to go through thousands of old photos, to see if there are any I can use!

While searching through my computer, I rediscovered a folder of photos taken from various spots on the Embarcadero around nightfall. Some of the images are fairly striking. Here they are!

When these photographs were taken, I don’t remember. During this summer, I believe.

You might recognize the Marriott Marina, the Donal Hord sculpture Morning, harbor tour ships that take on passengers near the Broadway Pier, and an aircraft carrier docked across San Diego Bay at North Island.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Glorious sunset seen from Santa Fe Depot!

The sunset this evening was absolutely glorious.

I was walking along the long train platform of San Diego’s downtown Santa Fe Depot when the clouds began to really blaze. Fantastic light reflected from the windows of nearby high-rise condos and several hotels to the west. As night fell, dramatic color crowned dark palm trees.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A skeleton in plain sight.

Sometimes I lie awake in the middle of the night, thoughts tumbling through the darkness. Sometimes an uninvited notion enters my skull.

You, too, might share this uncomfortable realization.

I recently published a short story. It’s titled Skeleton Forgiveness.

You can read my very short work of fiction by clicking here.

Cool photos of Pacific Soul at night!

Here are some very cool photos!

Early this morning, while it was still dark, I moved curiously around (and inside) the new Jaume Plensa sculpture Pacific Soul in downtown San Diego. Bright lights shining up from beneath the sculpture give its hollow but extremely complex form weird substance. Every angle fascinated my eyes.

If you’d like to learn more about this amazing public art, which now stands at the corner of Broadway and Pacific Highway near the Embarcadero, visit my original blog post, where several months ago, over the period of several days, I documented Pacific Soul’s installation. In that post I also provided some information about Jaume Plensa, who is a world-renowned artist from Spain.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Walkers linger by the water at sundown.

I took these photographs this evening.

San Diego Bay had quieted. A thin fog was hanging over Point Loma. A cruise ship was heading out.

A few walkers lingered by the water as daylight gradually faded.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!