Monday, December 11, 2006

Big Island Wake

The Big Island photographed from the space shuttle. To the left is Maui and at top is the Northwest coast including Hilo. The Pacific Trade Winds travel from East to West. The shadow to the left, poking above the clouds with a clear view of Space, is Mauna Kea. Another reason this is such a good observing site is because the air arrives "clean" without turbulence from another land mass.

Clouds pile up along the coast like waves against a ship's prow, then part to leave an island wake. Hilo is the wettest city in the US, with over 100 inches per year. It is a gardenlike setting surrounded by streams and waterfalls. As seen earlier, Kilauea Volcano is surrounded by rain forests. They compete with lava fields as Pele battles her sister Namaka. The lee side of the island, where most of the resorts are located, is nearly dry. The Big Island has over 20 different biomes, everything you could want from jungle to desert.


Blogger Rae Ann said...

That's a really cool picture. When I was on the Big Island in November 1998 it was unusually smoggy. I think one of our tour guides said it was because the Trade Winds had shifted or something, and there might have been some forest fires too. But it was still beautiful and amazing. We rented a car and drove all the way around the Island and tried to see as many different areas as possible. We also took a helicopter tour and saw the lava flows into the ocean, the huge waterfalls, and the desert-like areas with craters, etc. that you can't see from the ground. We also drove down to South Point and saw all the huge windmills on the way. Man, I would absolutely love to go back and repeat all of those experiences, esp. the tour up to Mauna Kea. Of course, we couldn't go inside the observatories, but just being up there was so cool.

3:28 AM  
Blogger nige said...

Very nice picture. I've always been interested in what "wake" effects a particle has when moving in the Dirac sea.

The mainstream starts out with the assumption that the Dirac sea extends everywhere. But it simply doesn't! Beyond 1 fm (10^{-15} m) or so from an electron, the electric field is too weak (below 10^20 v/m) for pair creation/annihilation. This "IR cutoff" therefore limits the range of the polarizable Dirac sea.

Beyond about 1 fm from a real charge, there are no creation/annihilation loops in the vacuum.

Plato claimed on Cosmic Variance:

"Richard Feynman and others who developed the quantum theory of matter realized that empty space is filled with “virtual” particles continually forming and destroying themselves. These particles create a negative pressure that pulls space outward. No one, however, could predict this energy’s magnitude."

He was "justifying" dark energy.

However, pair production only occurs above the IR cutoff. (Collision energies of 0.511 Mev/particle.) Space is thus only filled with particle creation-annihilation loops at distances closer than 1 fm to a unit charge, where the electric field strength exceeds 10^20 v/m. This is the basis of renormalization of electric charge, which has empirical evidence. is a recent analysis of quantum field theory progress that contains useful information on pair production and polarization around pages 70-85. For an earlier review of the subject, see

All you have of physical interest in the vacuum beyond about 10^{-15} from a charge is radiation. All the contraction effects of relativity are due to radiation pressure, as is gravity. I hope to find time, between doing programming work for clients, to soon write up a final paper sorting out the entire problem of gravity and the Standard Model, and will publish the result on

3:29 AM  
Blogger Rae Ann said...

I just remembered that they called the smog "vog" because of the volcanic activity. Sometimes my memory is spotty. Sorry.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully, once they get rid of transfats, global warming will clear up! Hey Rio, how about some more pics of you!

9:48 AM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Must visit sometime,
closest I've been is
Colombia & Venezuela this side
Singapore & Malaysia the other side

11:19 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Nice of everyone to enjoy the Big Island. Rae Ann, I've lately though it is a wonderful place for families.

Good comment again, Nigel. The Dirac Sea was an old idea replaced by anti-matter, which has been proven to exist. It would be foolish to resurrect the sea to justify "dark energy." Foolish to resurrect a cosmological constant too, but look what has been done.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Rae Ann said...

Yes, it would be a great family place! Someday I hope to take mine there. And I'm such a dingaling. I was there in Nov. 1997, not 1998. In November 1998 I was very pregnant with my daughter. When you're a mother your life is remembered by pregnancies and births. LOL

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