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But that's where the fun is

Atlantis. Hubble. And a big, yellow friend. Astrophotographer Thierry Legault managed to get amazing shots of Space Shuttle Atlantis approaching the Hubble Space Telescope during a transit of the sun. [more inside]
posted by dhartung on May 15, 2009 - 46 comments

[something Delphic here]

Oracle to acquire Sun for $7.4 billion. This gives Oracle, among other things, Solaris, MySQL, Java and OpenOffice, and means that Oracle is now a hardware manufacturer rather than a reseller. [more inside]
posted by ardgedee on Apr 20, 2009 - 60 comments

Solar Prayers

Once every month, Jews bless the moon. Once every 28 years, they bless the sun! This custom dates back to the Talmud, but is also found in other sacred Jewish texts, such as The New York Times. Sometimes, there are misunderstandings. [pdf] Previously reserved to a pious handful of observant Jews, it's on the mainstream media radar this time around, possibly because of its environmental implications. Here's an interesting depiction of the ritual in modern American history, which explicitly deals with its connection to solar power.
posted by ericbop on Apr 8, 2009 - 16 comments

Internet Archive's new data center in a box

Internet Archive - probably the single largest depository of Open Source content (and the Wayback Machine) - has transitioned its data center from racks of Linux machines to a Sun MD, basically a 3 petabyte data center housed in a liquid cooled shipping container, currently sitting in Sun's Santa Clara campus court yard. Sun and IA have put together an interesting interactive tour of how it works and what it looks like. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Mar 25, 2009 - 37 comments

A perfect space storm

A perfect space storm, which happens about every century, like the one that occurred in 1859, could cause "catastrophic social and economic disruptions", according to a new study by the National Academy of Sciences on behalf of NASA. "Potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply and so on," the report states. Outages could take months to fix, the researchers say. Banks might close, and trade with other countries might halt. The next peak in solar activity is expected around 2012.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 7, 2009 - 61 comments

The Solar Connection

Rethinking Earthrise. On the 40th anniversary of the NASA's Apollo 8 mission [caution: weird JFK animation], which answered Stewart Brand's epochal, LSD-inspired question "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?" with an unforgettable image of a seemingly fragile and isolated blue planet, Nature editor Oliver Morton -- author of a new book on photosynthesis called Eating the Sun -- disputes the notion that the Earth is fragile and isolated. "The fragility is an illusion," he writes. "The planet Earth is a remarkably robust thing, and this strength flows from its ancient and intimate connection to the cosmos beyond. To see the photo this way does not undermine its environmental relevance -- but it does recast it."
posted by digaman on Dec 24, 2008 - 39 comments

Hides in winter's skirts

I Know Where Summer Goes Photos by Ryan McGinley. Some nudity; fireworks; fun, longing.
posted by klangklangston on Dec 4, 2008 - 43 comments

Portals Between Earth and Sun Open Every Eight Minutes

Magnetic Portals Connect Sun and Earth. "Like giant, cosmic chutes between the Earth and sun, magnetic portals open up every eight minutes or so to connect our planet with its host star. Once the portals open, loads of high-energy particles can travel the 93 million miles (150 million km) through the conduit during its brief opening, space scientists say." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Nov 5, 2008 - 34 comments

The Sun

The Sun [more inside]
posted by grouse on Oct 13, 2008 - 49 comments

Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge
posted by 445supermag on Jul 11, 2008 - 32 comments

We travel the spaceways

Brother from Another Planet (Pts. 2, 3, and 4) is a documentary about Sun Ra and his Arkestra(s) on YT. It features interviews with Archie Shepp, Amiri Baraka, John Sinclair, and several members of the Arkestra as well as several live clips and scenes from the 1974 movie Space is the Place. (previously) [more inside]
posted by sleepy pete on Apr 19, 2008 - 18 comments

Amateur pictures of the sun

Here. This guy takes pictures of the sun. The actual big shiny one in the sky. Well not my sky right now but you probably know the one I'm talking about. They are stunning. And he did it with some simple gear. You could try it yourself. (How-to's temporarily off line).
posted by daveyt on Jan 2, 2008 - 38 comments

Wot's...Uh The Deal?

Pink Floyd fans may not need no education but Gilmourish, an exhaustive review of the guitars and audio effects of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour (with help from an insider), will leave most comfortably numb.
posted by punkfloyd on Oct 19, 2007 - 35 comments

The sun and mars

Mars as art and the sun as art.
posted by vronsky on May 19, 2007 - 20 comments

Out, damned spots!

Sunspot activity is closely linked to climate. Although it observes an 11 and 22 year cycle, the overall trend of activity shows much longer term variations. The so-called Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) coincided with the Little Ice Age, while the Medieval Maximum coincided with the Medieval Warm Period. Analysis of beryllium isotopes from ice cores in Greenland shows that sunspot activity is currently at a 1000 year high. Could this account, at least in part, for global warming? Recent data from Mars suggests this may be so, while others remain sceptical. Bonus pix, more here.
posted by unSane on Apr 10, 2007 - 60 comments

The Traveling Rings of Santa Monica Beach

The Traveling Rings At Santa Monica Beach
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 5, 2007 - 12 comments

"The sun descending in the west, The evening star does shine;"

Have you ever wondered what a solar eclipse would look like from space? The STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) has just sent back its view (awe-inspiring video included). It has also sent back some gorgeous pictures of our sun (and the McNaught Comet). For more media, check out the other galleries (including some 3D images). For more about the project, see NASA's STEREO homepage. Be sure to also stop by the Johns Hopkins University STEREO Page, where you can download a mission guide (pdf), view animations, watch a video of the launch, or even make your own papercraft STEREO model (pdf). You can also learn more in six minute segments with their series of short educational videos.
posted by wander on Mar 13, 2007 - 15 comments

Archaeoastronomy in Peru

The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo in Peru may be the Western Hemisphere's oldest known full-service solar observatory, showing evidence of early, sophisticated Sun cults, according to archaeoastronomy professor Clive Ruggles. The 2,300-year-old complex featured 13 towers running north to south along a ridge and spread across 980 feet to form a toothed horizon that spans the solar arc. Last year, another ancient observatory was discovered in Peru by Robert Benfer. The Temple of the Fox is 4,200 years old, making it 1,900 years older than the Chankillo site, but wasn't a complete calendar.
posted by homunculus on Mar 3, 2007 - 8 comments

Blowing up the universe.

How to blow up the Earth (with a coffee can), and why we should, along with some discussion of how it is done in fiction. Blowing up the moon (and how the US nearly did in 1958, with the help of Carl Sagan), and lots of reasons why, including one in song [YouTube]. How to blow up a star. How we might accidentally blow up the universe in November. [prev. discussion of Earth destruction]
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 22, 2007 - 32 comments

How to reduce global warming? Block out the sun.

Instead of reducing emissions, maybe we can block out the sun. This is a proposal offered by the United States in response to a draft of a UN report on climate change, prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the linked article, the U.S. has resisted a treaty that would involve binding targets for emissions reductions, and is instead pushing for the exploration of techniques for blocking out the sun, including (according to the Sydney Morning Herald article) "putting a giant screen into orbit, thousands of tiny, shiny balloons, or microscopic sulfate droplets pumped into the high atmosphere to mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption." This is via Yale Law professor Jack Balkin, who speculates that there is Biblical precedent for this proposal.
posted by jayder on Jan 29, 2007 - 93 comments

A reason to call in sick tomorrow.

Last night there was a pretty cool coronal ejection that ought to be arriving shortly. When it does, expect Auroral activity as far south as Tennessee. (Or Northern Italy. Or New Zealand.) [Via MonkeyFilter]
posted by absalom on Dec 13, 2006 - 35 comments

DON'T LOOK

Transit of Mercury again. here Transit of Mercury again. Today -- and not for another seven years or so -- Mercury passes between the Earth and the Sun, shwoing up a speck-like black circle. But don't look. Starting times, real-time visual, ways to see it and another caution are here. rotoman
posted by rotoman on Nov 7, 2006 - 40 comments

Staring At The Sun

The Solar Optical Telescope (SOT), an advanced telescope onboard the Hinode satellite, was launched into space by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency on September 22, 2006. On October 23, the SOT opened its protective doors and began taking pictures
posted by Drunken_munky on Nov 2, 2006 - 11 comments

Icarus times Two

The Space Shuttle Atlantis and The International Space Station...crossing the Sun.
posted by vacapinta on Sep 20, 2006 - 35 comments

7 mph would be the equivalent of driving at the speed of light

At forty miles (64.4 km) from Pluto to Sun, the Maine Solar System Model is the largest complete three-dimensional scale model of the solar system in the world. What, you didn't know there was more than one? And yes, Pluto is staying put.
posted by jessamyn on Sep 4, 2006 - 29 comments

Damn, Sun!

TRACE - The Transition Region and Coronal Explorer, a solar telescope satellite. Launched in 1998, it has since taken millions of pictures of the sun and its many spots, prominences, and filaments. There are thousands of amazing images for you to browse, some with extensive explanations. There are movies as well, strange and beautiful. And don't be ignant, get your sun facts straight!
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 12, 2006 - 9 comments

Happy St. Brigid's | Candlemas | Imbolc | Groundhog Day

Celebrate the most underappreciated holiday of the year! February 1st is St. Brigid's Day or Imbolc or Candlemas. St. Brigid of Ireland, the woman who some make a good case that she should be the Patron Saint of Ireland before Patrick. Others say she was the pre-Christian fertility or fire goddess of the Celts and that the Catholic Church co-opted her day as they did with many pagan pre-Christian holidays. Whether one celebrates Candlemas as a Catholic holy day or as a one of the Pagan cross-quarter days, it is also the Festival of Lights. Regardless, I have loved February 1st and 2nd since college as Groundhog Day is the most whimsical holiday of the year, thankfully it does not have a 2 month retail buying season building up to it. Tomorrow, I shall take a photo to Puxsutawney Phil to St. Brigid's Well in Kildare to celebrate properly.
posted by msjen on Feb 1, 2006 - 11 comments

everyone's a scientist

The sun is solid (this has beautiful images, btw). The earth is fixed, or maybe growing; relativity is wrong, and so is most of current thinking... For the intriguing as well as the insane, visit the fringes of science.
posted by mdn on Jan 5, 2006 - 45 comments

Genesis 1:3

Electrical lighting conspiracy theories can be paranoid, downright bizarre, or actually pretty reasonable.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 5, 2005 - 27 comments

terror in the tabloids

Daily Mail Watch keeps an eye on some of Britain's more right wing newspapers.
posted by handee on Jul 28, 2005 - 66 comments

A New Kind of Solar Storm

Going to the moon? Be careful. A new kind of solar storm can take you by surprise. Biggest proton storm since 1956 - before there were satellites monitoring the sun.
posted by Cranberry on Jun 10, 2005 - 11 comments

No smoke, mirrors.

Sunlight is escaping many of our neighborhoods! The future home of Teardrop Park South, which will sit in building shadows almost year-round and seemed destined to be the darkest of ... no, wait ... Heliostats!
posted by R. Mutt on Jun 2, 2005 - 13 comments

Vitamin D is not a vitamin but a hormone

"...but trust me on the sunscreen." That memorable, always-infallible commencement advice (not from Kurt Vonnegut) takes a hit as scientists now propose that we all need to get more direct sunlight, in order to... wait for it... fight cancer!
posted by soyjoy on May 23, 2005 - 32 comments

solar deathray

solar deathray
posted by philcliff on Mar 23, 2005 - 19 comments

$2.6M for 440 people. That's some expensive sunshine.

As a sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I was interested to discover this village's proposed solution. Were they inspired by Gustav Graves, d'you think?
posted by Specklet on Jan 21, 2005 - 11 comments

Armageddon was a walk in the park...

Because spaceflight, in and of itself, is just way to easy. On 08 August 2001, NASA launched Genesis. It was a spacecraft that would spend 1125 days in space, including 884 days collecting 0.4 milligrams of solar particles. At that point, it would launch a 500 lbs return vehicle that would travel 600 mph back to earth. When it enters the atmosphere, at approximately 11:55am EST on Wednesday of this week, it will be going close to twenty-five thousand mph. Oddly enough, this is the easy part of the mission.

Because then, two minutes later, NASA is going to catch it. In mid-air. With a helicopter. Really.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Sep 7, 2004 - 32 comments

Has Jupiter aligned with Mars?

Venus Transits the Sun. Some really gorgeous pics of this rare stellar event.
posted by WolfDaddy on Jun 8, 2004 - 10 comments

I used to like 'em

Sun Microsystems gives each employee a blog. Will other companies follow?
posted by PenDevil on Jun 8, 2004 - 16 comments

Goodby Sunshine?

Global Dimming?!? In the second half of the 20th century, the world became, quite literally, a darker place. Defying expectation and easy explanation, hundreds of instruments around the world recorded a drop in sunshine reaching the surface of Earth, as much as 10 percent from the late 1950's to the early 90's, or 2 percent to 3 percent a decade. Has anyone been following this? Heat I might do without for a while, but I've grown very fond of light.
posted by ahimsakid on May 13, 2004 - 18 comments

Microsoft - Sun Collaboration

Who Would Have Thought? Sun and Microsoft just announced an historic 10 year collaboration agreement (an announcement that ended with Scott McNealy and Steve Ballmer actually shaking hands). What do you think? Ultimately beneficial ... or not?
posted by MidasMulligan on Apr 2, 2004 - 13 comments

Intense Solar Flare

The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle shot off the sun earlier today. After the media latched on to what was predicted to be mostly a non-event last week (probably due to a NASA article released around the same time about a super spacestorm) , it's not making as much news this time. But you should pay attention this time. This could be the best and last chance for a lot of us farther south to see some auroras before the sun dives into solar minimum, assuming all the variables line up correctly this time. I recommend watching the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch, as it is a great all around resource for solar activity and auroras that includes live data and sightings reports by the general public. Unfortunately though, no doubt as word IS spreading, that site is being hammered again and may be quite slow.
posted by yupislyr on Oct 28, 2003 - 21 comments

Class 3 Geomaganetic Storm Likely To Spawn Aurora

Forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., observed two dynamic areas of the sun, one of which has produced a coronal mass ejection, or CME, Wednesday morning at 3 a.m. EDT that appears to be Earth-directed. The forecasters are predicting a strong geomagnetic storm, G-3 on the NOAA Space Weather Scales, that should reach Earth on Friday, October 24. Satellite and other spacecraft operations, power systems, high frequency communications, and navigation systems may experience disruptions over this two-week period. Auroras visible in the lower 48 states are possible tonight and tomorrow.
posted by y2karl on Oct 24, 2003 - 22 comments

Solar blast will hit earth

Friday Terror! Solar blast expected to hit Earth at 3PM EST!!! Cell-phones, satellites, pagers and electrical grids may be disrupted!!! Could last 12-18 hours!!! Space martians land!!! Bad Friday Traffic!!! ACK!!!! *zap*
posted by omidius on Oct 24, 2003 - 25 comments

Doomed planet found

A Doomed planet orbiting a distant star has been located. No, not Krypton. The planet is going to be consumed by the star soon, but astronomers are not going to wait up for it.
posted by kaemaril on Jan 28, 2003 - 7 comments

Microsoft like Tanya Harding

Microsoft akin to Tanya Harding. So says U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz. The crowbar wielding, knee popping company is also similar to baseball.
posted by Ron on Dec 6, 2002 - 6 comments

omg we're all going to die,

omg we're all going to die, which means the hurricanes, the war against terrorism, high school free speech... it's all a big nothing!
posted by jcterminal on Oct 2, 2002 - 46 comments

Oh No - Not the O-Zone Layer AGAIN!

Oh No - Not the O-Zone Layer AGAIN! It seems that our wonderful ozone hole over the Earth has split in two... Now you don't need to wear 100 sunblock just on Australia and Antarctica. But scientists *sound* a little happier, or perhaps I'm just reading into it a little too much.
posted by djspicerack on Sep 30, 2002 - 4 comments

The Analemma

A very well designed site on the Analemma. Don't be scared off by the math, as there are excellent diagrams and quicktime movies on this difficult to visualize phenomena. Difficult, but not impossible, to photograph (probably less than 10 photos are in existence) Ulrich Bienert came close, and has a gallery and some tips if you're so inclined.
posted by quercus on Aug 6, 2002 - 12 comments

Sol: A Great Big Ball of Burning....Iron?

Sol: A Great Big Ball of Burning....Iron? Well that's what a UMRolla professor thinks anyway -- instead of being mostly hydrogen, that the sun is actually mostly iron. He's going against all popular belief, and indeed lots of evidence, but his theory states that our sun formed around the iron core of an old supernova.
posted by LuxFX on Jul 24, 2002 - 13 comments

Microsoft must include Java with XP and IE.

Microsoft must include Java with XP and IE. Sun sues Microsoft for including Java, then sues Microsoft for not including Java. Fascinating.
posted by milnak on Mar 8, 2002 - 33 comments

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