Title: Half of a Piece of Cake

Date Occurred: April 19, 2006

Date Written: April 19, 2006

Date Prepared for Web Site: April 26, 2019

Written by: Joel T. Kant

Copyright (c) 2019 by Joel T. Kant


On weekdays, my wife Holly sets the alarm for 5:50 am. She is generally driving out of the driveway by about 7:00 am to go to work. This morning, about two minutes before the alarm was to go off, I heard a voice from Carol's room.

Carol was saying, "I want a drink of water."

As Holly went to retrieve that, the alarm clock went off, so we had only been awakened a couple minutes early. It is unusual for Carol to wake so early. Most days, she gets up around eight am. Last night, though, she had gone to bed early without complaint. Most nights, Carol drags out going to bed.

Last night, Holly theorized Carol going so quickly and easily to bed came from the amount of physical activity yesterday. Holly took Carol to two playgrounds. I had Carol out on her own swing set. Carol and I also visited a neighbor yesterday. Still, it was unusual for Carol to go to bed so quickly last night, then to get up so early this morning.

After drinking some water, Carol was then up and not going back to bed.

I got dressed, then went out to retrieve the newspaper from the driveway. Looking up at the still mostly dark sky, I could see a bright dot to the southwest that was Jupiter. To the south was a half moon. To the east, the sky was already turning blue, but the "morning star" that is really the planet Venus shone brightly.

When I came in, Holly had Carol already dressed and at the breakfast table. Holly was fixing a waffle for Carol.

I asked Carol, "Do you want to see Jupiter and the moon?"

Carol looked away from me over to Holly, with a pleading expression.

Holly replied to the unasked question, "You can go."

Carol leapt off her chair and hurried over.

I put on her shoes and put on her purple spring jacket. I then went downstairs and got my small Meade telescope on a camera tripod. Then, Carol and I went outside.

First, I set the telescope up to look at Jupiter to the southeast. (See Fig. 1) Carol was very gentle and careful with the telescope, which was new behavior for her.

Jupiter As a Bright Dot

Figure One: Jupiter As a Bright Dot

[Photograph by Joel Kant, April 19, 2006]

Carol looked through the telescope at Jupiter. She then took a step back and pointed up toward the one bright dot in the sky that looked like a lonely star. The sky had brightened enough for most of the stars to fade into invisibility.

Still pointing, she exclaimed, "That's Jupiter!"

What I saw through the 60-mm aperture telescope at seventy magnification was Jupiter with the cloud bands faintly visible. Four moons of Jupiter stood out brightly through the telescope.

I had Carol look at Jupiter again. I tried to get her to understand that the bright dots next to it were moons, but I do not think she comprehended that.

I then turned the telescope to Venus. I had Carol look at that planet. (See Fig. 2)

Venus Above Roof

Figure Two: Venus Just Above Neighbor’s Roof

[Photograph by Joel Kant, April 19, 2006]

Venus never shows details with cloud bands, icecaps, or any details like that. It just looks like a bluish circle. Most interesting is when it is in the crescent phase, but it did not look that way today.

Carol seemed unimpressed by Venus through the telescope today.

Carol pointed to the south and asked, "Let's look at the moon!"

The moon sat in the sky seemingly ready to run into a very tall television transmission tower. (See Fig. 3)

Moon by Television Transmission Towers

Figure Three: The Moon Hangs in Sky by Television Transmission Towers

[Photograph by Joel Kant, April 19, 2006]

I turned the telescope that way, using an eyepiece that put the magnification at nineteen. The entire moon shows up nicely with that.

I had Carol look through the telescope.

She starred into the telescope for some time, then said, "It looks like half a piece of cake!"

I assume she meant a round cake rather than a rectangular one.

I switched back to the other eyepiece so I was at seventy magnification. Only part of the moon shows up in the view then, but it is much more magnified and craters show up even better.

I had Carol look again, then tried to explain about the craters.

She fidgeted, though. It seemed this was enough for now.

I brought her and the telescope back inside.

Carol then ate the waffle that Holly had prepared. (See Fig. 4)

Carol Eats Her Waffle

Figure Four: Carol Eats Her Waffle

[Photograph by Joel Kant, April 19, 2006]

Since Carol had gotten up so early, and that shows how little time the planet and moon gazing had really taken, Holly told Carol that she had time to play a quick game of the Uno card game with her before going to work.

Carol acted like it would soon be time for both Carol and Holly to go to work at GrafTech! Carol made a comment that clearly implied that.

It finally became clear to me why Carol had sprung out of bed so early! Holly immediately understood as well. She had told Carol that her company was going to have a day to bring sons and daughters to work. Really, it is supposed to be for children much older than three-and-a-half-year-old Carol, but Holly thought she might bring Carol in for at least an hour or so. Carol had remembered this, but misunderstood the date! It is not today, but sometime in the next week!

Carol seemed disappointed to learn that she was not going to GrafTech with Holly today.

As they played cards, I began grading the Calculus tests that I will be returning this evening.

Carol won the game. It was then around seven am, so Holly had to go to work.

Carol and I watched from the sliding glass door in the back of the house as Holly drove down the driveway in her dark red Mercury Sable. Carol then ran through the living room and climbed on the couch, shoving away the drapes to watch out the front window as Holly's car left down the street. I have not seen that kind of behavior by Carol when Holly left for work in about a year or so! Carol used to do this watching of Holly leave just like this very often when she was two, but not much since then. Of course, that Carol does not even like to get up until after Holly has left for work surely has much to do with that!

Although Carol is not going to work with Holly, today is the day that Carol goes to school. She only attends one day a week, but it seems good for her socialization.

If I were not typing this account right now, I would be back at grading the Calculus test. It is now 8:08 am as I type this very sentence, by the way.

When I took Carol outside at around 7:15 am, the sun was over the horizon and shining bright.

Carol looked over at the television towers, then said, "The moon moved!" (See Fig. 3 and Fig. 5)

Carol Noticied the Moon Moved

Figure Five: Carol Noticed the Moon Had Moved in the Sky

[Photograph by Joel Kant, April 19, 2006]

It certainly had, although of course most of the motion was really from the Earth's rotation. Where the moon was in relationship to the television transmission towers made the motion very obvious.

I went and retrieved the telescope.

Even with the sun up, the moon still showed up impressively in the eyepiece. (See Fig. 6)

Carol Uses Telescope to Look at Moon

Figure Six: Carol Uses Telescope to Look at the Moon

[Photograph by Joel Kant, April 19, 2006]

I then configured that little telescope to show sunspots by the projection method. Carol looked up at the moon in the sky, then down at the projected image of the sun on white cardboard.

Carol said, "Moon, sun. Sun, moon."

I did not see any sunspots in the image this morning.

I put the telescope in the basement, and then we headed off to school. It is only five minutes away.

By 7:40 am, I was back home. I started to grade tests again, then decided I better write down this story about Carol looking at the moon, the sun, Jupiter, and Venus before I had a chance to forget it.

I did take some pictures using the digital camera of what was going on. However, I ran the rechargeable batteries down. I have them in the charger. A little later, I will download the images to see what I got from that. I expect that after I do, I will have to edit this and put in on the Carol web page.


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