Whittie photographs über big asteroid's flyby


Up on a rooftop without a pause, Whitman College astro-geo senior Zach Schierl, Class of 2012, caught images of an aircraft carrier-sized astroid racing overhead that passed between the Moon and Earth on Nov. 8.

Using a telescope atop the Hall of Science, Zach shot pics of asteroid 2005 YU55.

"It was moving extremely rapidly relative to the Earth and moved during the 25-second exposure while the telescope tracked the stars," emailed Nathaniel Paust, assistant professor of astronomy.

The Steward Observatory's Spacewatch Telescope first detected it in 2005 as part of a project to identify potentially threatening asteroids, Nathaniel said.

"At a quarter-mile across, it's small compared to the planets, but the fact that its orbit aligns so well with the Earth's orbit is extremely worrisome to planetary astronomers. Indeed, if it did strike the Earth, the resulting explosion would be several thousand times the size of the nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima," he added.

Fear not. At least for the next 100 years, impact is not likely because its orbit has been carefully mapped.

Its approach on Nov. 8 marks the closest approach of any known asteroid to the Earth. "At the closest, 2005 YU55 was only 319,000 km (198,217.4 miles) from the Earth. For comparison, this is only 80 percent of the distance between the Earth and the Moon."

Zach and Nathaniel are working on a project to enhance the ability of Whitman students to do astronomical research from campus.

‘Residents in assisted living and both care centers (and several Whitman Adopt-A-Grandparent students) have been busy making crafts, pillows, scarves, stuffed animals, etc. for several weeks," said Kayla Kirk in a release.

Their hive of activity is to ensure the Washington Odd Fellows Home's annual Holiday Bazaar will be stocked with a wide variety of items that will raise funds to benefit its activity department.

The event will be 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 18 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Odd Fellows, 534 Boyer Ave. A quilt made by staff and residents in the West Care Center will be the prize in one of the raffles they will feature.

Proceeds will go toward resident activities for tickets, parties, supplies and other costs. A whole lot of baking will ensue, too, for the effort. Hot off the press and ready to sell, the Odd Fellows Cookbook 3 features many new recipes. All the recipes are from residents and staff of Odd Fellows.

Six residents and a couple of Adopt-A-Grandparent Whitman students have painted colorful ceramic Christmas trees for the bazaar.

Many volunteer hours have been contributed by staff members and volunteers, especially a couple of residents' daughters, to make items for the Bazaar, Kayla said.

"I would say we have at least 50 or more people who make things for the Bazaar. It is a lot of work, but a great way to get the holiday season off and running," Kayla said.

Currently up to his eyebrows in genealogical research, Walla Wallan Jim Irwin said his great-grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Bowen-Smith-Blue is buried in Lone Pine Cemetery. To find it, seek a hill in a wheat field about one-quarter mile from the intersection of the gravel Lone Pine and Sieveke roads, southeast of Rosalia, north of Colfax, east of Steptoe Butte and halfway between Oakesdale and Tekoa.

Besides its value as Sarah's final resting place, Lone Pine Cemetery is historically significant for a direct connection to early pioneer settlers of the Tekoa and Lone Pine area, Jim said. Details of its establishment aren't known, but the site indicates patterns of early development by Euro-American settlers. Burials were made there from 1883-1953.

Sarah is also the great-great-grandmother of Walla Wallan Howard Morgan, Jim said. With husband Mr. Smith, Sarah had three children before marrying Jim's great-grandfather, Amos Blue. Amos came west by wagon train in 1851 and she arrived in 1853, Jim said. They homesteaded on adjacent land in the Medford area.

They married there and had six more children before migrating to Whitman County. Sarah died in 1888 and is buried near three grandchildren. Howard is a descendant of one of the three children of her previous marriage, Jim said. Amos was buried in 1912 at Mountain View Cemetery in Walla Walla .

Jim's hepped up about all this information because he's been delving into his Blue family ancestors and even found out a neighbor of his across Stone Creek Park has Blue genes dating to 1790 out Pennsylvania and West Virginia way. The research "never ends and it really is a small world after all," Jim said.

Meanwhile, Lone Pine Cemetery gained a listing on the Washington Heritage Register in March this year according to the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. DAHP is the state's chief agency with knowledge and expertise in historic preservation.

According to a chart at Kramer's Kimball Funeral Home in Tekoa, a total of 115 burials were made there, although just 56 markers have been accounted for.

It's the Dawgs against the Cougs as team supporters/residents at Wheatland Village vie to collect the most non-perishable food to benefit the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank and Blue Mountain Humane Society.

Team members aim to collect 800 pounds of food for BMAC's Food Bank before 2011 expires. The retirement residence is emphasizing the food drive with Wednesday Jeans Days for those who bring in food donations, said Tamara Gordon, marketing director, in a release.

"There's a chill in the air. Arch rivals, WSU Cougars and UW Huskies are close to battling for dominance at the annual Apple Cup and Wheatland Village is going to the Cats… or is it the Dogs?"

Once they know the outcome of the intense competition, the reigning team will have its college flag prominently displayed in Wheatland's Village Square

Situated east of Walla Walla General Hospital, Wheatland Village offers independent retirement living apartments, penthouses, cottages and assisted living. For more details, call 524-4003.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.


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