Big ‘ol honkin’ Earth Fart is related to Dolphins.


Matua Island, MFN* (Strutts News Services) – It happens:

“This detailed astronaut photograph is exciting to volcanologists because it captures several phenomena that occur during the earliest stages of an explosive volcanic eruption. The main column is one of a series of plumes that rose above Matua Island on June 12. The plume appears to be a combination of brown ash and white steam. The vigorously rising plume gives the steam a bubble-like appearance. The eruption cleared a circle in the cloud deck. The clearing may result from the shockwave from the eruption or from sinking air around the eruption plume: as the plume rises, air flows down around the sides like water flowing off the back of a surfacing dolphin. As air sinks, it tends to warm and expand; clouds in the air evaporate.”

The phrase, “detailed astronaut photograph,” disturbs some folks, as there is no astronaut, detailed or otherwise, in the image.  Assuming there was such an entity, and that the image was indeed captured via a detailed astronaut, there are many unanswered questions that need to be answered or otherwise ignored.  For example:

Matua IslandWhich way was this “detailed astronaut”  being pointed when the picture was taken? What size mm lens, what film speed (400 ASA or greater?) and what was his/her f-stop setting?  Where was this detailed astronaut’s aperature located?  Who aimed the astronaut?  How on earth did he/she control the shutter speed?

Regardless, it’s a cool photo.

[Found here. Tip o’ the tarboosh to cbullitt. Related post here.]

*Middle of Freakin’ Nowhere.


Author: Bunk Strutts

Boogah Boogah.

9 thoughts on “Big ‘ol honkin’ Earth Fart is related to Dolphins.”

  1. “Detail” could also be in a military context, as in “The astronaut was on photo detail”. The astronaut, thus detailed, becomes a “detailed astronaut.”

    Still the missing details from this detailed astronaut makes me think this is slipshod work, and that tax dollars are being misspent. The American taxpayer, indeed, have a right to know what film type, F-Stop setting and shutter speed was used. But above all, I think the taxpayer should also know how it was that he kept the camera steady? How was the tripod mounted?

    Cool photo, I agree.


  2. The “steam pushed into a bubble shape” is a cloud generated by the rising column of hot air, and not a part of the eruption itself. These clouds are common above explosive eruptions. The one in this picture is beginning to be dissipated by the rising ash cloud.

    Gretal, read the title of the link in your first comment. Now read your second comment. See what you did there? 🙂


  3. Slippy! Where’ve you been?

    Steam = water vapor = cloud. You’re parsing. As for Gretal’s 2nd comment, the space shuttle is indeed a satellite, but why it took aim and fired on a volcano is a mystery that may take hours to unravel.


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