Stormstown: A Brief History

The village that is now called Stormstown was located on one of the area’s earliest roads. Laid out in 1791-92, the road served as a main route for the shipment of Centre County iron west to Pittsburgh. First settler Abraham Elder’s tavern, on the east end of the village, was a stopping place for iron haulers. In 1812 David Storm recorded a plat of 30 lots, plus a school lot, that he named Walkerville, on the west side of present-day Municipal Lane in the middle of Stormstown. The origin of the Walker connection has not yet been tracked down. Some twenty years after Walkerville was established, Caleb Way slowly started selling off lots between Walkerville and the former site of Elder’ tavern, in an area that was briefly called Wayville. Eventually, by the time of the Civil War, the whole area was called Stormstown. The enterprises of the village included a gristmill, sawmill, distillery, tannery, wagon maker, and several craftsmen’s shops – blacksmith, weaver, potter, and chairmaker. An Easter fire in 1867 destroyed twenty-six buildings, many of which were never rebuilt. – See more at: http://www.centrehistory.org/abcs-of-centre-county/#sthash.RLS2TFw7.dpuf

Penn State Concerts

One of the many advantages of living near Penn State are the concerts and performances available at Bryce Jordan Center and The Eisenhower Auditorium.

Tonight I attended a performance by Gordon Lightfoot at The Eisenhower Auditorium. Last year, my wife and I attended a night of illusions at Bryce Jordon Center. Years ago, when I was a graduate student at Penn State, I attended a lecture by Carl Sagan at Eisenhower.

Bryce Jordon was built to be a basketball venue. However, it also serves as the venue for Penn State’s commencement ceremonies, as well as for State College High School. Other events include rock concerts, monster truck rallies and trade shows.

The Eisenhower Auditorium is better suited for events such as the aforementioned Gordon Lightfoot concert, orchestras, lectures, stand-up comedians, plays etc.

As far as tonight’s concert goes, Mr. Lightfoot still has it, despite him showing his age. Some of his songs we’re abridged, but he performed The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald in its entirety.

Scotia Rifle Range

Today I exercised my Second Amendment rights by going to the local rifle range. The Scotia Range is just a few miles away from my home. Scotia is a public range that is maintained by The Common­wealth of Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The range provides targets and push-pins but I brought my own. I, of course, brought my .22 semi-automatic rifle, range permit, ear plugs, safety glasses, and ammunition. A range permit costs $30 annually.

The range rules allow no more than three rounds in the magazine at a time. Therefore, I fired 18 rounds in groups of three: nine at 100 yards and nine at 50 yards.

It was my first time out since I was a teenager and, as you can see, I’m no marksman; especially at 100 yards.

100yards-1

At least I put two rounds in the black area and two rounds near the edges of the target. I did significantly better at 50 yards. Eight out of nine is not bad.

50yards-1

I need to work on my grouping.

After I was finished shooting I policed my brass. However, I noticed that not everyone did that courtesy. The ground just in front of the firing stations was littered with spent shells.

Summary of Spring 2018

Meteorological Spring is officially over. Here is a brief summary of Mar 1-May 31 in Stormstown, PA:

Number of days Max T <=32 F: 1
Number of Days Min T <= 32 F: 40
Number of Days Min T <= 0 F: 0
Max T: 88.1 – May 26, 2018
Min T: 17.0 – March 11, 2018
Mar Dep from Normal: -3.0
Apr Dep from Normal: -5.4
May Dep from Normal: 6.1
Heating Degree Days: 758
Cooling Degree Days: 141
Mar Precip: 2.05″, 1.5″ below normal
Apr Precip: 3.57″, 0.18″ above normal
May Precip: 3.85″, 0.62″ above normal

Dobsonian Telescope: First Light

Tonight was my first night out with my new 10-inch Dobsonian telescope. My first target was The Moon. The scope produced a very sharp image with a 24 mm wide field eyepiece.

My second target was Jupiter. I was able to resolve the four Galilean moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Also, I could resolve two bands on Jupiter. I switched to a 17 mm eyepiece for a slightly closer look, and the bands were clearer. The view was similar to this image.

The tracking function worked well and kept Jupiter in the field of view. Jupiter was also low in the sky from 9 to 10 PM, and there was some thin cirrus clouds, which would account for the fuzzy periods. Jupiter will be higher later this year.

For my next viewing opportunity I will need for clearer, darker skies to align the Go-To function. Also, I need to try using my reading glasses. Also, I will try my camera attachment, connected to my laptop. I am looking forward to viewing Saturn and Mars.

New Telescope

I recently bought a new telescope. It is a 10 inch Dobsonian with a Go-To drive. The base required some assembly, which I completed in an hour. Now it is composed of two main parts, the base and optical tube. It sits on a cart so that it can be easily moved from indoors and then back inside. The finder-scope has been installed and aligned. I hope to complete its initialization soon and start observing operations. However, cloudy, rainy weather has curtailed any observations.

Halfmoon Township Divided By Redistricting

District 12 Annotated

The recent redistricting of the Pennsylvania congressional districts caused some confusion during yesterday’s primary. The above map shows the boundaries of the 12th (in gray), 13th and 15th Districts. The gerrymander in the 12th District, to include State College, has divided my local township, Halfmoon, into two parts. Some of the people, that lived in the southern part of the township, that showed up at my polling place to be told that they were at the wrong polling station. This is because they are now in the 15th District.

Centre County is also divided by the new districts. For instance, Bellefonte, the county seat, is in The 15th District, while Centre Hall and State College are now in The 12th District.

Solar Wind Storm

nts_cl

Propagation on the 40-meter and 75-meter bands has been very poor during the past few days. I have a backlog of several radiograms to send, as a result, since it has been difficult to hear the other stations on the nets where I usually check-in.

 

ch_strip

There is a wide “hole” in The Sun’s atmosphere from which gaseous material has been flowing. The resultant solar winds have caused a geomagnetic storm to occur on Earth. The Aurora has been visible in northern Minnesota. The geomagnetic storms may last for more than a day or two.

Measurement of the pH of Rain

Today, with precipitation in the forecast, I set up my mini-laboratory to measure the pH of the local rainfall in Stormstown, PA. First, I installed a standard rain gauge to collect rainwater.

pH-1

I calibrated my pH meter, prior to taking any actual measurements, using standard reagents of pH of 4.0 and 6.86. I used a pH 7.0 reagent to verify.

pH-2

After calibration, I waited for some rainfall and then collected my sample.

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It had rained 0.20 inches over the past two days.

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This was about 400 ml of liquid.

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I measured the pH to be about 5.15, which is in the normal range for rainfall but still acidic. It is not considered to be acid rain.

pH Scale