Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Melinda Obituary and Tucson Memorial Plans

Hi All-
Thanks for the outpouring of love and affection for Melinda you have all shown to us here and on Facebook. Included here is the obituary that will appear in the local paper on Thursday. Note also that this also appears, and you can download photos and memories on the remembrance page of the funeral home at this link. We hope to see all her Tucson friends on Saturday. For those looking in from the Midwest, we're aiming for Saturday the 15th of October at Malone's Funeral Home in Geneva for a memorial for her Illinois friends and family.

Melinda Jo Ketelsen (née) Johnson, 60, entered into eternal rest September 22, 2016 after a 3 year battle with lung cancer.  Born in St Louis, the family relocated to Aurora, IL in 1967.  Melinda entered her life’s work as a nurse specializing in the NICU, spending 30 years at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, IL, and 5 years at UMC in Tucson, AZ.  Her compassion and caring is revealed by the multitude of former patients, parents, co-workers and friends that love and care for her dearly.  She is survived by her beloved husband Dean in Tucson, her sister Mary Alice “Maj” (Jeff) Williams of Sugar Grove, IL, nieces Robin Johnson and Kathy Pelanek, nephews Trés Johnson and Rick (Susan) Pelanek, and numerous nieces and nephews and relatives by marriage from the Ketelsen and Johnson family, and many dear friends and former co-workers.  She was preceded in death by her parents Richard L. and Alice Mary Johnson, her brother Richard L. Johnson Jr. and her sister Susan Mary Charles.  A memorial will be held at Abbey Funeral Chapel, 3435 N 1st at 1pm on Saturday, October 1, followed by a celebration of love at El Saguarito Restaurant, 1763 E Prince Road.  Charitable donations may be made in her name to your local animal shelter, or to Hope Animal Shelter, PO Box 1996 Cortaro, AZ 85652.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Week To Forget That I Will Always Remember!

It was difficult to write the post about Melinda stopping treatments for her cancer. It is even harder to have to tell you of her passing night before last. She died right at 11 pm on Thursday, 22 September after only 30 hours at the in-patient hospice... While it was tough to watch her decline so rapidly, she was surrounded by friends and family and all are relieved that her pain is over and the rest she craved is finally at hand.

Some might want to know some of the details of her last days. After deciding to stop treatments on 15 September, we got a referral to Casa de la Luz hospice and a nurse from the facility came by for evaluation the next morning. She talked to us about policy and services and about how it all works. We were a little concerned that they wouldn't permit her fluid infusions, that had always perked her up and made her feel better. Since they were considered "extending life" they wouldn't be permitted under hospice care. Because Melinda already had an appointment for fluid infusion on Saturday, 17 September, we held off signing up.

Our hours at the cancer center were very nice. After our 3 years of regular visits there, all the nurses are like family. Knowing that Melinda had stopped her cancer treatments, the weekend crew all came by and talked to her and made her as comfortable as they could. It will be hard to not see them in the future now that Melinda has passed.

We got thru thu the weekend just fine. After the fluid infusions, you would expect a lot of peeing going on, but evidently with her disease progression, it showed up as edema in her arms and legs - little to no use of the commode.  We signed up for hospice on Monday morning, they delivered a hospital-style bed, went thru her meds, discarded the ones she didn't need (all of them!), and were supplied morphine drops for her pain control. We started that Monday night (19 September), and man, they worked great - no pain, but zonked her out big time. The next morning, I panicked when I almost couldn't wake her up. I ended up calling her sister Maj and told her if "she wants to have a conversation with Melinda, she better get here soon"! She jumped on a plane and came that night! Luckily, I caught our nurse friend Erica at work that Tuesday - she would stop by after she got off work at the medical center and sit with her while I picked up Maj. Fortunately the initial exposure to liquid morphine does really knock you out, and she got a little more clear-headed thru the day. By the time Erica arrived at 8pm, she was still pretty chatty. Things were good enough that Erica even took a photo of the two of us before I left to the airport. At left, I licked her cheek to make her smile as the photo was taken. Maj arrived, and man, the party started - talking excitedly into the already-late evening hours. I finally turned into bed about 1:30 and warned the girls in the slumber party to get some sleep, and "no talking about boys"!

The next morning (Wednesday, 21 September) another surprise! Our "mother-in-law" Betty stopped in! Now Betty is the mom of my first wife Vicki. You would think family dynamics would have stopped that relationship cold, but Betty and Melinda hit it off like gangbusters and we're still one big happy family. Ninety One year old Betty left Columbia, SC at 7am to pick up her daughter Susan in Dallas and get to Tucson by 11:30. They walked into the house about 12:45, and man, did that bring a smile to Melinda's face! I had a meeting with a lawyer scheduled so had to leave for an hour or two, so that is how I left the house - full of happy women.

Upon my return at 3pm, an emergency had occurred. Melinda had been hungry (the first time she expressed hunger in weeks!). They were feeding her a pear snack pack when she vomited (not particularly unusual for her), but this time she aspirated some of the fluid/stomach contents. Turns out that is a bad thing - stomach acid in your lungs will get you with pneumonia pretty quickly if your immune system is weak. We called the hospice nurse (not allowed to dial 911). Melinda was making gurgling noises, and breathing with difficulty. It sounded like there was something in her throat, though in reality was much lower. We tried sitting her upright and lying on her side with no effect. The nurse finally arrived, and after evaluating called for oxygen delivery, and checked on an in-patient room, which was available. Oxygen and patient transport arrived the same time and before I knew it, I had an empty house that felt very hollow...

I fed the livestock (our 8 cats) before getting up to the hospice about 6pm that Wednesday. She was tucked into a comfortable bed and looked pretty peaceful. She still had the labored breathing that sounded gurgly, but was surrounded by Betty and Susan, friend Donna from Phoenix, Roger, Maj and myself. She was still speaking with difficulty, and always shook her head when queried about pain. Late into the night everyone eventually left, as did I for a while. After about 45 minutes of sleep, I got a call from the nurse at hospice. Maj had thought there was a change in her breathing. I showered to wake up and went back in. She seemed about the same to me, but getting a response from her required "getting in her face" and speaking loudly. The last words I under stood were about 3am on the 22nd... I somehow wanted to record the moment - her sister and I at her sides, holding her hands. Maj was sound asleep when I took the left image, and I one-handed a shot at right with my hand in hers. I didn't record her face, as her features had changed from the beautiful woman we all knew...

As night changed to morning our friends returned to keep us and Melinda company. The nurses rotated in and tended to Melinda's needs and patiently answered our questions. Betty and Susan left for the airport to return to Dallas at 11. When informed of their departure, Melinda opened her eyes and made eye contact for the last time...

After that it was just a matter of time. The breathing always seemed difficult, but the gurgling stopped. Around 10pm she started skipping breaths, and right at 11 she breathed her last and the nurse came in to confirm her passing. We didn't stay for transport to the funeral home, but the attendants who saw her off on her earthly plane (Maj, Donna, Roger and me) left for eventual sleep among lots of hugs...

We're making final arrangements - tentatively narrowing in onto Saturday afternoon, 1 October. Tough to make arrangements on weekends, so can't confirm exact times, but will likely be at Abbey Funeral Home's chapel, and are thinking of a reception afterwards at el Saguarito restaurant at Campbell and Prince afterwards. It was her favorite local place to eat when she had an appetite, and they've agreed to do it for us.

I put an announcement on Facebook and the emotion and testimonials have poured in from her hundreds of friends. If I can, I may read some out loud at the memorial service, though it seems I choke up pretty easily when trying to talk. But what I've taken away from those expressed thoughts is that Melinda brought out the best in everyone. Tuesday afternoon her primary doctor made a house call (!), unusual enough, and just sat and talked to her for 30 minutes. Even her home health care nurse that had stopped by once a week the last month stopped by the hospice for a visit. She didn't need to, but knowing Melinda made her WANT to. I know that over the years she has brought out the best in me too. I know I am a better person for knowing and loving her. But from the outpouring of emotion I see from across the country from people who know her, they are drawn to her and are made better...

So what did she get from me? She always told horror stories of her first husband, whose marriage lasted less than a year, and ended just as we started dating. I can hardly believe some of the stories, but evidently I'm better than Ralph... Perhaps it was the astronomy I exposed her to that provided a "big picture" of her place in the universe. I'm going to close with a video that just today appeared on Phil Plait's "Bad Astronomy" blog. It is an amazing video and the quotes from the interviewees while being filmed under dark skies is really why we continue to share the views and look skyward. So think about Melinda, what an incredible person she was, think about how she affected you. Feel free to comment if you would like. And keep looking skyward and be amazed...

Infinity ² from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Battle - Winding Down...

We've been a little mum on Melinda's cancer battle front. Her last PET scans in June showed continued progression of the disease. She had some radiation therapy which helped relieve some of her back pain, caused by the tumors in her spine. The relief was short-lived, however, and her oncologist got permission for her to get Opdivo - the new miracle drug that works with the immune system. However it has not been approved for small-cell lung cancer and Medicare refused to cover it. More delays and finally Bristol-Meyers Squibb agreed to cover the costs and she was to start last Thursday.

But meanwhile, the cancer just was sapping her energy and one of the side effects of nearly any chemo is extreme fatigue, and she couldn't imagine another battle with chemo side effects. So when we consulted with the oncologist, she agreed that stopping treatment was a reasonable decision. She had fluid infusion to perk her up and we got a referral for a local hospice to assist with her care. So there we are - you are now up to date!

We've contacted family and our local circle of friends, so most everyone is aware of her decision. We signed on with hospice (Casa le la Luz - house of the light!), and instead of the Vicodin that we've been using (mostly effectively) to control her pain, we've moved to an alternative because of the toxic dose of acetaminophen she was getting. Her first night on liquid morphine drops went well, so that concern has passed. Hospice aims to keep the patient at home, so I'm here full time now taking care of her. Sister Maj is returning soon and will give some relief. At left from a week ago, Mia made herself at home on Melinda's lap while she napped. It seems to be where Mia wants to park, so lately we've been keeping her in her bedroom so as not to bother her...

While I've never seen her back away from this battle, she is just too exhausted to continue. We've always done what the oncologist had suggested, so she can't be faulted for finally getting a break. Three years and 5 weeks, spent fighting cancer every day is a long struggle and she deserves her rest. I'll keep you updated on any changes, but for now she is at home, with her beloved cats and friends around her. And she is at peace both with her decision, and with us to stop pressing her to continue the fight.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Monsters at the Door!

Late Summer is prime time for observing our other "little pets" - the gecko colony in front of the house! I've posted about them last year - you have to be quite observant to see any of them - they are quite shy and retiring. Walking up to the house when arriving after dark, you might spot one or two behind the glare of our porch light before they scurry off. I had to go to great lengths to capture the family portrait at left - do NOT go out the front door, but rather out the side gate from the back yard, walk around the car parked out front, and sneak close enough to take a flash picture. But I was rewarded by capturing 10(!) of them! My previous record for visual spotting was 5. You can play "where's Waldo" by clicking the left image to view at full size before going to the labeled version at right where they are all marked. They can penetrate quite narrow cracks, so have plenty of places to hide around the eaves of the front door, and will all disappear in seconds as they are approached.

I also mentioned in the above post that these are Mediterranean House Geckos - not native to Arizona. They are evidently imported for the pet trade, and after escaping or being released, set up shop in the urban areas, like in front of my house, feeding on insects attracted to exterior lighting. At left is a wide shot of another before he scurried away for the nearest opening. The eave vent hole at bottom is about 2 inches in diameter, providing a bit of scale - these aren't large at all, topping off at about 5" long or so. Because they are so shy, I've never been able to observe their hunting technique. While they were all running for cover, this little fellow paused at the rear end of a Moneilema gigas - a cactus longhorn beetle. I can't tell if it was considering taking a bite of it, or was attempting to hide behind it, but he continued scurrying away after taking the photo at right.

Anaglyph 3-D - get your red/blue glasses!
Anaglyph 3-D, get your red/blue glasses!
But fortunately for me, when they hide in the latticework of our security door or look out from one of their hiding cracks, they seem secure, allowing me to ease in for some close-up images. Of course, you know me - one of the things I go for are the 3D stereo images! With a subject quite still and used to me taking flash images of it, I took a pair of images from slightly different vantage points. Presented as anaglyph images here, you need your red/blue glasses to see the 3-D effect. In these extreme close-ups, they lose a lot of their "cuteness" and appear much more reptilian! Both of these 3-D images are from the same image pair, but with different crop factors. The left image is displayed at full camera resolution, and the image at right made from a larger section of the image. The eyes are quite amazing - instead of eyelashes, they have a row of inclined scales that can be spotted in the closer version. They evidently don't blink, licking their eyes to keep them moist, though I've not seen that action...

Their feet and pads are equally amazing. While the local lizards we've had the privilege of imaging close-up have little fingernail claws - like the horned lizard shown here, these geckos seem to have little scale-covered fingerlets. This effect is shown in close-up at left, showing one of his front arms from shoulder to toe-tips. This is a 3-frame focus stack to extend the zone of sharpness over the full image...   Similarly, the image at right used 10 frames, all with a slightly different focus point, combined to make a sharp image.

I'm closing with one of the favorite photos taken this week - a 6 frame, hand-held image stack in close-up of a gecko hiding in a crack about a quarter inch wide between our security door and adobe bricks. The detail in the eyes and head are quite amazing, taken with pretty simple equipment - my nearly decade-old Canon XSi, plus a few cm of extension tubes with the 100mm macro lens and on-camera flash. I'd use the newer 6D, but I don't have a flash unit for it and it doesn't sport the standard on-camera unit... It would be nice to get this close to all of them w/out them hiding from me, but themz the breaks! We love our little bug-eating reptilian monsters, and I like the challenge in catching them in photos!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Spectral Two-Fer!

Here in Tucson, our Summer rainy season is winding down - right on schedule! You can usually start planning on astronomical observing opening up again in mid-September after the rain starts (and threatens most every day) around the Fourth of July. Our "monsoon" season provides a nice break during the hottest (and most humid) time of the year, so we don't have to worry about fighting discomfort of warm temps and bugs that seem to wait till then to "bug" you!

Yesterday the weather forecasters were saying there was a 50% chance of possibly severe storms, and the next week looked to be a drying trend as weather patterns changed. True to their word - clouds thickened and threatened after lunch. We found ourselves watching from the second floor of the Cancer Center, where Melinda was getting her occasional topping-off of fluid. With the desert dryness and depending how she feels, it is tough to drink enough, so the liter of fluids on about a weekly schedule is welcomed. While we used to enjoy the view of the mountains and the employee parking lot in years past, we now enjoy the mountains and the construction zone as the treatment center expands.

Yesterday, even the mountains disappeared as storms moved in from the southwest. It never rained more than sprinkles at the Cancer Center as they moved around us, but the conditions were fine for rainbow formation! The thing to note is how low the rainbow arc is in the sky. Of course, if you know how they are formed, you know that they appear at a constant angle of 138 degrees from the sun. Since it was about 2:30pm, the sun was still high in the sky and as a result, the bow peaked out at a low angle, just clearing the trees around the construction zone. With the sun higher in the sky, the bow would be even lower - I was on a winter bike ride when we ran into showers and the bow didn't clear the horizon! Of course, you can make your own "rainbow" with a garden hose at high noon and you can see the nearly full circle of the bow around the shadow of your head projected on grass. The close-up at right shows the acute angle it forms with the ground...

A few hours later, after we got home, another band of intense showers moved over us again and the process was repeated. This time, just 45 minutes before sunset the sun was much lower and correspondingly, the rainbow appeared much higher in the sky. At left is shown a panorama-mode image of the rainbow, taken with my IPhone 6S from our back yard. The shower was intense - about the hardest I've ever seen it rain for all of about 2 minutes! But as soon as it passed, the sun appeared, so I knew there was likely a bow... In the close-up at right, you can also spot a fainter secondary bow outside the main one. This second bow is caused by a second reflection inside a raindrop, instead of just the single reflection that causes the main bow. Note also that the colors are reversed - in the outer secondary bow, the red color appears on the inside - on the primary rainbow, red is on the outside! Rain and rainbows are rare enough in the desert that a simple comparison of the heights of the arc are difficult to come by, so it was neat to see this pair in the same afternoon.

And right at sunset about 6:30, some more dramatic lighting appeared - direct sunlight bathing the clouds in sunset-colored clouds while the gibbous moon and shadowed dark clouds also remained in the view. Nice contrast, nice colors, but tough to underexpose enough to not saturate the highlights. Will have to re-read the 6S manual again!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Short Investment, Big Reward!

I'm reviewing recent images for my talk to the Astronomy Fundamentals group tomorrow and saw these images collected 10 days ago while chasing the Jupiter/Venus conjunction over Kitt Peak. Since the planets set so early in twilight, I stayed an hour and took a few guided images - still finding what the "new-to-me" Canon 6D can do! I'm still loving the big sensor (twice the area of the APS sensor!) and low noise - I no longer have to do the "long exposure noise reduction" to reduce electronic noise in the camera (and double the exposure!). Using the small tracking mount that goes on my tripod, Vixen's Polarie, I mounted my old Nikon 135mm lens (via an adaptor) and took some 2 minute exposures at F/4, ISO 2,000. Around the central part of the Summer Milky Way, it looked to be about the perfect exposure. Of course, I could have taken many more exposures to knock down the little noise that remained, but I had little time to tarry as I was needed at home... For all of the frames used here, only two exposures of 2 minutes each were stacked, so 4 minutes of investment per image shown.

Still the results are nothing less than spectacular! Shown at left is the full frame of the 135mm lens and the 6D of the Teapot asterism of Sagittarius. The brightest part of the Milky Way (towards its center) is at right, but there are a multitude of objects that can be picked out of the original files. Unfortunately, at the 1600 pixel resolution limit here, many are resampled away, but a few Messier Objects are pointed out in the labeled version at right. Of course, I could gaze at the dark clouds all day - it is these mysterious clouds seen in silhouette against distant clouds of stars that I love to find and photograph. Unfortunately, it is too late in the season to chase many more of these towards the center of our galaxy. Optimum time to chase these are while we are busy up at the Grand Canyon in June!

With only 4 minutes of investment per exposure, I took a series of shots, hoping to do a mosaic of the central part of our galaxy later. Here is a 3-frame mosaic from the "stinger" of Scorpius in the lower left corner, up through the "Prancing Horse" of Ophiuchus. above center. Let me know if you can't make it out, and I'll supply another labeled version! The darkest part of the "horse" is the rear leg area, also known as the "Pipe Nebula", if you consider the dark nebulae rising upwards smoke from a pipe. Clicking on the image, if you poke around the dark nebulae, you can also pick up the sinuous "Snake Nebula", the bright nebulae M8 (Lagoon) and M20 (Triffid) at upper left, and a few fainter red clouds of hydrogen gas down near the "stinger" at bottom left. It is such an amazing part of sky, and with only 12 minutes of exposure invested, how can you NOT collect images like that when given the chance!?

Well, that's about it - just a couple amazing shots whose taking couldn't be much easier. I hope you enjoy and for goodness sake, if you have a camera and tracking mount, feel free to duplicate my results too!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Meeting Night!

Last night was the first Friday of September, so was a general meeting night of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association. It has been a few months since I've posted about one, and for this one, both the beginner's and main lecture interested me, so brought the camera along to document. A few notes about that - I used the Canon 6D for the first time. In the nearly dark lecture hall, I was still able to get decent pictures of the speakers with a 15th second exposure, thanks to ISO 6400! However, since I wasn't sitting in the center aisle, the pictures on the screen were highly "keystoned" which was mostly squared back up with Photoshop... With everything going on in our lives, I don't make all the meetings, but they certainly are worthwhile for anyone interested in astronomy, since we draw on a wide variety of speakers and qualified members for some really interesting talks.

Ben Baily, shown at left, is our current president, serves as emcee, running the meeting and introducing business and speakers. As I indicated, we have some pretty advanced members, and last night had a few local celebrities join us. At right is David Levy, a well-known comet hunter with 22 comets to his or shared credits. He is also a noted author of astronomical-related works with 34 books, and founder of Jarnac Observatory! Behind him is Tim Hunter, a now-retired radiologist who co-founded the International Dark-Sky Association in 1987 whose mission is fighting light pollution, founder of Grasslands Observatory, and the author of a weekly astronomy column in the local paper.

For decades now, we've hosted a "Beginner's Lecture" an hour in front of the main lecture - really just a reason to hold a second talk! The club tries to schedule something that will appeal to those just getting into the hobby. Some of our main lectures given by scientists go way over the heads of many members, thus the idea for an introductory talk was introduced...

Tonight's warm-up talk was by member Mike Magras, who arranged a tour of the Torrance, CA plant of Celestron - one of the foremost telescope manufacturers for the amateur telescope market. Mike had some minor work done on his tube assembly, which resulted in the tour. Celestron was acquired by Synta Technoloty Corporation in 2005, most of the manufacturing capacity of all smaller optics was moved to Asia, with the exception of the 11" and 14" Schmidt-Cassegrains and the EdgeHD production line of the same size.

Celestron has been around a long time - nearly 50 years! Mike talked briefly about Tom Johnson, Celestron's founder when he introduced the compact optical design of the Schmidt-Cass. Actually, let me correct that - he didn't introduce the design, but rather, formulated an inexpensive way to make the complicated curve of the corrector optics. While the 4th-order curve can be polished into a thin piece of glass, testing and fabrication of the plate is involved and not for the faint-hearted! Tom developed the method shown at left - polish a "mandrel" of the inverse curve, and use suction to pull a thin plate into contact with it. The back is then polished flat and when the vacuum is released - presto, a corrector with the correct shape! While Bernard Schmidt himself used a vacuum technique to make the first correctors of the telescope that bears his name, it was Johnson's technique that allowed industrial production-line quantities of them...

In Celestron's current facility, most of the tube assembly is still made in Taiwan as shown at right - only the correctors for the above sizes are made in California, and the spherical secondary mirrors are supplied polished but uncoated - for reasons to be revealed shortly.

Part of the "secret" of the success of the larger sizes is Sandra - shown at left. She seems to be the magician utilizing the black arts in finishing out the optics. Assembling the correctors and primaries for the first time, she uses an artificial star for an initial alignment and has the skills to recognize errors that can be corrected by slight figuring of the spherical secondary mirror (why it was provided un-coated). Shown at her polishing stand, she has a hot plate for warming the pitch, a spindle in the white tub in the background, and uses a paper origami technique for making raised or lower areas on the lap to remove glass preferentially (inset).

When finished to her tolerance, the secondary is coated and installed in the final tube assembly where it undergoes one of the final tests, shown at right. In this setup, an artificial star enters the rear of the telescope through a beam-splitter, goes through the scope to a flat where it is returned to an eyepiece for a high-power view of the "star". Note that the 2mm focal length eyepiece, combined with the 4,000mm 14" telescope results in a magnification of 2,000X! And since it goes through the telescope twice (referred to as "double pass") it again doubles any potential errors, as if 4,000X were used...

After Mike's talk he answered a few questions - unfortunately for a group like this, there were some hard questions that couldn't be answered, but did what he could. We then had about a 20 minute break to stretch the legs and socialize a bit with friends before the main lecture started.

The main talk was given by Anjani Polit (at left, shown in inset), who oversees the science planning and scheduling for the HiRISE experiment of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, now in its tenth year of operation at Mars. The acronym HiRISE stands for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, and is effectively a 20" diameter spy telescope in low orbit around Mars. An incredible experiment, it can resolve details less than a foot diameter as it whirls in orbit 200miles above the surface.

As the image at right illustrates, it has assisted in surveying 7 landing sites and taken hundreds of thousands of images. While HiRISE has amazing resolution capabilities, the field is so small, only less than 3% of Mar's surface has been imaged with the highest resolution. With such resolution, it is almost as good as a lander at investigating virtually any spot on the surface and surveying it over a long period of time to look for changes.

Case in point for these temporal changes were shown by images that I've made into gif images here. At left are shown "Recurrent Slope Lineae" (RSLs) that occur as certain seasons that they think are briny deposits being carried down slope as underwater ices melt or sublimate.

Similarly, at right is shown a pair of images showing motion of a barchan sand dune over the course of a 3 year period. Look closely at the arrowed sections to see the obvious motion. With the high resolution of HiRISE, you can estimate that the entire dune is moving on the order of a foot every year given the scale at upper left... For dunes to maintain the shape and motion seen here, the wind in the thin atmosphere must maintain a nearly constant direction.

Other changes that have serendipitously been made with HiRISE are landslides along canyons or crater walls. Obviously you cannot plan to see these but have been spotted accidently, as shown at left. Other temporary phenomena like dust devils have also been spotted. At right are recent meteoroid impacts that are more obvious as they might be as they've broken into icy layers below ground level. They are demonstrated to be water or carbon dioxide ice as they melt or sublimate with the passage of time.

There are a wide assortment of "what the heck is that" moments seen in HiRISE data. At left is one from the polar regions that Anjani said scientists thought were from gaseous jets coming out of the ground affecting the frosts at ground level. And while you've already seen the barchan dunes above, seeing them in false color is another thing. She said (as I recall) that the observed wavelengths are blue/green, red and near-infrared, so the colors can be stretched and recombined into something that might not resemble how they would look to the eye. As a result, blue sand dunes!

I think one of the favorite images was taken early in the mission. They now have rules about spacecraft maneuvers to minimize the impact on other science experiments. As a result they only tilt a few degrees off-nadir, in other words, the spacecraft is almost always within a few degrees of looking straight down. Yet here comes this spectacular image of the moon Phobos, one of the most detailed I've ever seen, but to take it they certainly had to break the pointing rules, as Phobos is always at least 90 degrees off-nadir! Still, images like this, or of watching the Curiosity mission hanging below its parachute, and a few others as well brought gasps from the crowd.

She closed with a couple points of interest - there is a program called HIWish that is effectively a plea for the public to suggest places to observe. Since in 10 years they've only covered less than 3% of the area, they will never get full coverage, so they are looking for assistance in where to look. Click the link above for more information.

And finally, a video that compressed much of the wonder of her presentation into a perfect 2 minute performance (spectacular music!).  Click, turn up sound and go to full-screen HD and enjoy!