Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 8, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 11



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 8, 2012 


Scientists have unveiled an unprecedented new look at our planet at night. A 
global composite image, constructed using cloud-free night images from a 
new NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 
satellite, shows the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the 
planet in greater detail than ever before.

Many satellites are equipped to look at Earth during the day, when they can 
observe our planet fully illuminated by the Sun. With a new sensor onboard 
the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite 
launched last year, scientists now can observe Earth’s atmosphere and surface 
during nighttime hours.

The new sensor, the day-night band of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer 
Suite (VIIRS), is sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal glow produced by 
Earth’s atmosphere and the light from a single ship in the sea. Satellites in the 
U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program have been making observations 
with low-light sensors for 40 years. But the VIIRS day-night band can better 
detect and resolve Earth’s night lights, providing researchers with valuable data 
for a wide variety of previously unseen or poorly seen events.

“For all the reasons that we need to see Earth during the day, we also need to 
see Earth at night,” said Steve Miller, a researcher at NOAA’s Colorado State 
University Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. “Unlike 
humans, the Earth never sleeps.”

The day-night band observed Hurricane Sandy, illuminated by moonlight, 
making landfall over New Jersey on the evening of Oct. 29. Night images 
showed the widespread power outages that left millions in darkness in the wake 
of the storm. With its night view, VIIRS is able to detect a more complete view 
of storms and other weather conditions, such as fog, that are difficult to discern 
with infrared, or thermal, sensors. Night is also when many types of clouds 
begin to form.

“The use of the day-night band by the National Weather Service is growing,” 
said Mitch Goldberg, program scientist for NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System. 
For example, the NOAA Weather Service’s forecast office in Monterey, Calif., is 
now using VIIRS day-night band images to improve monitoring and forecasting 
of fog and low clouds for high air traffic coastal airports like San Francisco. 
According to Goldberg, VIIRS images were used on Nov. 26, the Monday after 
Thanksgiving, to map the dense fog in the San Francisco Bay area that resulted 
in flight delays and cancellations.

Unlike a camera that captures a picture in one exposure, the day-night band produces an image by repeatedly scanning a scene and resolving it as millions of individual pixels. Then, the day-night band reviews 
the amount of light in each pixel. If it is very bright, a low-gain mode prevents the pixel from over-saturating. If the pixel is very dark, the signal is amplified.

“It’s like having three simultaneous low-light cameras operating at once and we pick the best of various cameras, depending on where we’re looking in the scene,” Miller said. The instrument can capture images 
on nights with or without moonlight, producing crisp views of Earth’s atmosphere, land and ocean surfaces.

“The night is nowhere as dark as we might think,” Miller added.

You can contact Bob Eklund at: 

This image of the continental United States at night is a composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi 
NPP satellite in April and October 2012. The image was made possible by the satellite’s “day-night band” of the 
Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to 
near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, gas flares, auroras, wildfires 
and reflected moonlight. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/NOAA NGDC



Innovative Ways to Care for Your Elderly Canine Companion

 Ever wonder if there was more you could have done, or could be doing to 
keep your older dog healthier and happier in its golden years? Well, I often think 
about what I could have done to provide a better quality of life to my beloved girl, 
“Lady” when she started showing signs of her age before she passed away 11 years 
ago. She was at least 19 or 20 years old at the time, based on her estimated age of 
2 when I adopted her from the El Segundo SPCA. Back then I was nowhere near 
as informed as I am today about the health and emotional needs of an elderly dog. Although I know for sure she got plenty 
of love and tender care, I can’t help thinking of how much more I could have done to keep her comfortable as her final day 

 Now that my current dog “Tater” is moving into the senior stage of her life, I am so pleased to have the many information 
resources made available by the internet and by my veterinarian, Dr. Sylvia Domotor, who has gained a wealth of knowledge 
about caring for elderly dogs over the many years she‘s been in practice. Dr. Domotor’s wise advice to owners of senior dogs 
is to recognize that they are indeed old and are unable to do many of the things they were able to do when they were young. It 
is really no different from what happens when we humans get old. “Patience is number one” she said in a recent conversation 
regarding caring for older canines. “Sometimes we forget how old they are. Dogs are considered seniors at 7 and that is when 
they begin to lose their hearing, their eyesight and their olfactory senses. Understanding why an elderly pet might poop or pee 
in inappropriate places, or fail to respond to a recall is very important in having patience with them.”

 Although manufacturers do tend to exploit the ever-growing market for elderly pet care products, statistics indicate that dogs 
are living longer these days, presumably due to improved technology in veterinary care and the development of innovative 
products to help accommodate the specials needs of our furry senior friends, and keep them more comfortable. Specially 
formulated kibble, therapeutic beds, specialized food bowl designs, ramps to help “Fido” get up into the car, restraining 
harnesses for the ride, diapers for incontinence, dietary supplements, herbs and holistic remedies designed to cosset a senior 
dog through its last years are among the many new products found on the shelves of most pet supply stores today. Doting 
pet owners find it hard to resist blowing the bundle to help their four-legged family member, and I am most definitely one of 
them. I can’t count how many times I have walked out of the store or vet‘s office thinking, “There goes this week’s dog-walking 
profits! I guess the money just goes from one dog to another, but she’s worth it!”

 Besides the many products now available to help keep a senior pet comfortable and as healthy as possible, spending quality 
time with an older dog is extremely important for their mental and physical health. I have recently noticed that my girl Tater, 
who will be 11 years old in March, has become more demanding of my attention than ever before; I attribute most of that 
neediness to her age. Her favorite time of day is when I come home after walking several dogs, and lay up on the couch where 
she insists on joining me for an afternoon nap. I always let her lay with me, even though she is quite enormous and takes up 
all the space, because I can tell she needs that time with me. She lets out a low groan, and lays her huge head on my shoulder 
where she falls asleep and snores right into my ear. I am not looking forward to the day when she can’t get herself up on the 
couch, but when that happens I guess I’ll have to get her a specialized stair step that will allow her to climb up where she knows 
she’ll get a fine ration of hugs and loving!

 I find it amazing how human’s priorities change when it comes to caring for an elderly dog. I was truly touched when I 
heard that singer Fiona Apple had cancelled the South American leg of her tour last month, so she could fly back home and 
stay with her ailing 14-year old pit bull “Janet”. Considering how much money she must have forfeited to make that choice, 
not to mention disappointing thousands of ticket holders, that says a lot about how much Fiona Apple loves her dog. In 
one part of a heart-warming apology letter to her fans, Apple 
wrote: “I know she is coming close to the time where she will 
stop being a dog, and start instead to be part of everything. 
She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, 
wherever I go. I just can’t leave her now, please understand. 
If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the 
honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out. . .”

 As dog lovers, I think we can all relate to what Fiona Apple 
is going through, and understand why she made it a priority 
to spend quality time with her beloved old girl, Janet versus 
continuing her tour. I can’t think of anything that could keep 
me away from Tater when her time is close in coming. They 
give us so much unconditional love, and nothing - including 
money or fame can possibly compare to that.


Meet a real sweetie, 
the lovely Penelope 
(A4134671). Penelope 
is an agreeable three 
year old tricolor female 
Beagle/Spaniel mix who 
was found and brought to 
the Baldwin Park Animal 
Care Center on November 
23rd. Weighing twenty-
five pounds, Penelope 
walks very well on the 
leash and was apparently 
an indoor pet. She likes 
small dogs and we think 
she will be a wonderful 
companion for children. 
Super affectionate, this 
medium-energy girl 
wants to be with you at all 
times - she is quite the lap 
dog. Penelope will be a fantastic indoor pet and companion for absolutely 
anyone. To watch a video of Penelope please visit:

To meet Penelope in person, please see her at the Baldwin Park Animal 
Care Center, located at 4275 N. Elton St., Baldwin Park, CA 91706 (Phone: 
626-430-2378 or 626-962-3577). She is currently available now. For any 
inquiries about Penelope, please reference her animal ID number: A4134671. 
The shelter is open seven days a week, 12 pm-7 pm Monday-Thursday and 
10am-5pm Friday-Sunday. This is a high-intake shelter with a great need for 
adoptions. For more information about Penelope or the adoption process, 
please contact United Hope for Animals Volunteer Adoption Coordinator 
Samantha at To learn more about United 
Hope for Animals’ partnership with the Baldwin Park Shelter through its 
Shelter Support Program, as well as the many dogs of all breeds, ages, and sizes 
available for adoption in local shelters, visit http://www.unitedhope4animals.

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc