Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fleeting Fame!

When I logged on last evening to post about "Trumping our cats", I noticed something peculiar going on with the Blog. On the statistic page there is a plot of readership and there was a huge spike on 1 February - for some reason, we were suddenly popular! The question was why! Shown at left, we hit nearly 500 page views on the 1st. So far as I knew, we hadn't been linked to any UFO posts, and Phil Plait, Mr. Bad Astronomy similarly hasn't linked anything to us, so had to look elsewhere...

Down at the bottom of the page, there is a gadget called "Feedjit". Clicking on the "live view" link below it brings up a page showing the last 50 folks who have looked on the blog - usually those 50 go back a day or more. But even now, those 50 only go back about 5 hours, so are still getting traffic linking to us. Examining those lines reveals where the readers live, what operating system they use, and whether they come to us directly (like a bookmarked link), or from a link from another website. In this case they were coming from the 1 February posting of Astronomy Picture of the Day!

Now the APOD website is the Holy Grail of any amateur astronomers who points a camera skyward. It is the equivalent of a musician getting his picture on Rolling Stone! I've forwarded them more than a few pictures, notably Melinda's accidental fighter jet silhouetted against the sun just before the solar eclipse of 2012, and various versions of the sun setting behind the outline of Kitt Peak National Observatory, but the most they will commit to is "we'll think about it". No, to this point they've not been interested in any images, but why folks were suddenly coming to the blog was because the astronomers who run APOD liberally use links to provide detailed descriptions of what they are trying to explain, like I do in the clickable links here. In the 1 February APOD, they were pointing out the faces people sometime see in the moon. Down in the description, they linked to my similar blog post pointing out a woman in the moon! So I'm getting closer to APOD fame - at least the Blog is on their radar and who knows - someday I might get a photo credit there!

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