5th annual SL Home and Garden Expo

The fifth annual Second Life Home & Garden Expo is currently underway across 16 sims showcasing the work of many of SL’s top homes & gardens creators (many of whom are also sponsoring the event), with two additional sims for entertainment and breedable pets respectively.

The event opened on May 19th and will run through until May 28th and is supporting Relay for Life SL, with the 18 sims sited directly adjacent to the American Cancer Society’s region, which visitors to the Expo are welcome to visit.

The Expo sims are laid out with a mix of home & garden parcels, all based on a grid of interlinking footpaths that make wandering the event easy and which serve as natural boundaries. RFL donation plinths are regularly spaced along the footpaths, allowing people to donate as they go. Given the sheer number of sims and exhibitors, finding things can be a handful, so I recommend you make use of the Expo guide available on the official website.

Expo map

To encourage visitors, many of the participants in the Expo are offering exclusive items which will only be available throughout the duration of the event. These range from building through to furniture to trees and plants – even clothing and aircraft are offered, making it quite an eclectic mix.

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Annular eclipse

May 20/21 2012 saw an annular eclipse of the Sun. This is when the disk of the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun, but the Moon is moving towards apogee in its orbit (the point at which it is furthest from the centre of the Earth), so that while the Sun, the Moon and the Earth are all aligned in syzygy, the disc of the moon is not large enough to cover that of the Sun to leave only the solar atmosphere visible (as with a total eclipse), but instead sits “inside” the disk of the Sun, creating what is called a “ring of fire”.

The eclipse was observable from China through Japan, Canada and much of the US from the west coast through to Texas. Images of the event were carried via a number of streams across the Internet, allowing thousands more to share in it.

I watched the event on-line (the sun having set in the UK a long time before the eclipse took place), along with a number of other SL friends who are also interested in astronomy, leading to a lively discussion about the eclipse itself and the possibility of hosting similar events in-world in the future. Our main stream for watching the event was provided by SLOOH Space Camera, which had cameras active in both California and New Mexico, although I was also keeping an eye on another feed from Reno, Nevada, which was transmitting via Ustream.

Annularity captured by the SLOOH camera in New Mexico, May 20/21 2012

SLOOH is a superb resource for people interested in astronomy and space exploration, regularly hosting events like observing the eclipse and their images are really excellent. I took the liberty of capturing screen shots of the event, as seen through both of the SLOOH cameras and have put them together in a Flickr slideshow (together with some initial images from the Reno feed and a brilliant photo obtained via the BBC) to try to capture the event.

A closer view through the SLOOH New Mexico camera. Note the sunspot close to the black disk of the Moon

The next major astronomical event SLOOH will be covering is the Transit of Venus next month, and if technology allows, there may be a chance people will be meeting-up in Second Life to witness the event, which will not occur again for another 105 years. If this can be arranged, I’ll be carrying information on the gathering on this blog nearer the dates of the transit (June 5/6).

In the meantime, the slideshow:

(Click here to view the slideshow full-screen)

ETA: found this amazing shot of the Moon’s shadow on Earth, seen from the ISS (click to enlarge & enjoy):