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549 posts tagged with astronomy.
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pieoverdone, star hustler

So I'm driving to Salina, KS in the middle of the night and I realize that in all that nothing, I can look out my windshield and I can see stars. Like, all the stars. And I think that it's a bummer that I don't know that much about what it is I'm looking at.
posted by pieoverdone on Apr 29, 2006 - 41 comments

The scientific tradition in Africa

The scientific tradition in Africa. An interview with Thebe Medupe, a South African astronomer.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 19, 2006 - 5 comments

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole.

Function Follows Form in Quantum Mechanics and Astronomy. The need for a NEW Black Hole. A Weblog.
posted by nthdegx on Apr 14, 2006 - 22 comments

Exterior Decorator

Missouri Skies: The show me state .
posted by hortense on Apr 2, 2006 - 18 comments

March 2006 Solar Eclipse Photos

There was a lovely total solar eclipse over parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia yesterday. See the photo galleries from Spaceweather, BBC, various Flickr users, and the International Space Station.
posted by brownpau on Mar 29, 2006 - 12 comments

But can we make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs?

Howdy, neighbor! A direct detection of a brown dwarf only 12.7 light years away (practically next door in interstellar terms) adds another substellar object to the list of those relatively close by. While not quite the closest such object yet detected, it’s notable for being pinpointed with a combination of ground-based adaptive optics and Simultaneous Differential Imaging, a special set of filters designed to subtract out starlight while leaving the light from substellar objects. This could be an important milestone in the ongoing quest to directly detect extrasolar planets, as opposed to finding their traces indirectly via methods such as stellar wobble or gravitational microlensing. Direct detection, among other things, makes it much easier to analyze planetary atmospheres for traces of life. An object that could be as small as 9 Jupiter masses, less than 13 light years away, is a heck of a good step forward, especially considering that the very first indirect detections of extrasolar planets weren't made until the 1990’s, and I recall serious arguments being made in the 1980’s that they did not, in fact, exist.
posted by kyrademon on Mar 22, 2006 - 8 comments

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich has some excellent online collections related to maritime history and technology, including telescopes, marine chronometers, sundials, and a whole lot more. Some stuff I've been looking at: John Harrison's chronometers (described in Dava Sobel's book Longitude), polyhedral sundials, and pocket globes.
posted by carter on Mar 15, 2006 - 4 comments

Astronomers: want to watch a supernova?

Odd Supernova Amateur and professional astronomers rejoice , point your telescopes at RA: 03:21:39.71 Dec: +16:52:02.6 to watch a new phenomenon that could turn into a supernova explosion
posted by elpapacito on Feb 24, 2006 - 17 comments

Portraits of a Universe in Motion

Galaxy Dynamics GRAVITAS is an ongoing project to visualize and animate the dynamics of galaxies using supercomputer simulations.
posted by ZippityBuddha on Feb 2, 2006 - 21 comments

I Spy Black Satellites

I Spy Black Satellites Amateur satellite spotters can track everything government spymasters blast into orbit. Except the stealth bird codenamed Misty
posted by Postroad on Feb 1, 2006 - 16 comments

Plans for this summer? Asteroid strike, maybe?

Asteroid to graze past Earth this summer...but how close? If you liked 2004 MN4, you're bound to enjoy 2006 BQ6. Very small but real chance it could even hit around the end of July, beginning of August this year. NASA isn't officially tracking it yet, but they are including it in their report of upcoming close approaches, where the minimum possible distance is...zero. The space.com discussion puts everything into perspective, including graphs and charts and such.
posted by gimonca on Jan 26, 2006 - 47 comments

Space Nerds Rejoice!

Stardust@home. The Stardust spacecraft (discussed recently here) should land in Utah early Saturday, carrying in its hold a sprinkling of grains of interstellar dust. Researchers are seeking the public's help in pinpointing the submicroscopic bits of dust. Participants will sift through the hundreds of thousands of pictures of the roughly square-foot collector plate.
posted by ND¢ on Jan 11, 2006 - 21 comments

Polarises? Polarii?

Hubble reveals that the North Star is not one, not two, but THREE stars. Dear god, we've all been living a lie. I feel so disillusioned.
posted by 40 Watt on Jan 10, 2006 - 36 comments

Celestron SkyScout

The Celestron SkyScout (Flash page) is an amazingly cool portable device combining an celestial object database with GPS abilities. It's not quite the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but it's definitely one of the most compelling applications I've yet to see of GPS - it takes note of your viewing location, and uses text and audio to guide you around the night sky. Announced at the CES show, there's no pricing info yet, but dang, I want this badly.
posted by dbiedny on Jan 7, 2006 - 17 comments

Rotating RAdio Transients

Rotating RAdio Transients (RRATs) are one of the newest things in radio astronomy. According to Sky and Telescope magazine, a team of astronomers analyzing data from the Parkes Radio Telescope have seen a number of neutron stars that have emitted sporadic but powerful radio bursts. RRATs (pdf) have spin properties that resemble magnetars. The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) could help find many new RRATs.
posted by Fat Guy on Jan 6, 2006 - 12 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

So you want to buy a telescope?

So you want to buy a telescope? Read these pages first.
posted by jiawen on Dec 19, 2005 - 27 comments

Come on big gravity waves... No whammies!

Do Gravity Waves Exist? This is one of the big unanswered questions in physics. Gravity telescopes such as the LIGO and the Geo 600 may soon tell us. These massive detectors are sensitive to a displacement of 1 part in 1000000000000000000000-- that's like "measuring a change of one hydrogen atom diameter in the distance from the Earth to the Sun." Such a discovery would mean a tremendous boom to science. And big cash payouts to those who put their money where there mouth was.
posted by justkevin on Nov 18, 2005 - 32 comments

Anticlockwise?

In one corner, precise astronomers who just want to keep things as they are. In the other, revisionist telecommunications officers. Fight!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 10, 2005 - 25 comments

Stellarium

Stellarium. A free program which renders realistic skies in real time, and more. Handy for anyone who ever wrangled with one of these. And very cool to watch in fast forward.
posted by fire&wings on Nov 7, 2005 - 20 comments

Stunning Saturn/Dione Photo

Stunningly beautiful photo of Dione and Saturn with rings. Such a sensation of depth and grandeur. Thanks, Cassini/JPL/NASA. [animation] [planetary photojournal entry] [B/W mirror from kokogiak] [now you play fun Flash spaceship game].
posted by brownpau on Oct 21, 2005 - 18 comments

Cassini Flies by Tethys

Cassini Flies by Tethys and Hyperion, and the photos so far have been awesome and weird. I especially want to point out this fascinating view, which, if you look at it closely, reveals what appears to be a string of small impact craters, in a straight line over older terrain. What kind of meteor impact could have produced such an excellent formation of craters? Hyperion photos are coming. (Kokogiak's got backup in case the JRUNS strike.)
posted by brownpau on Sep 26, 2005 - 29 comments

Math You Don't Know, and Math You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

Jim Loy's Mathematics Page is (among other things) a collection of interesting theorems (like Napoleon's Triangle theorem), thoughtful discussions of both simple and complex math, and geometric constructions (my personal favorite); the latter of which contains surprisingly-complex discussions on the trisection of angles, or the drawing of regular pentagons.

Similarly enthralling are the pages on Billiards (and the physics of), Astronomy (and the savants of), and Physics (and the Phlogiston Theory of), all of which are rife with illustrations and diagrams. See the homepage for much more.

If you like your geometric constructions big, try Zef Damen's Crop Circle Reconstructions.
posted by odinsdream on Sep 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Save Yerkes!

The Yerkes Observatory owned and operated by the University of Chicago, and home to the world's largest refracting telescope, is in danger of being sold to a real estate developer. Find out what is being done to save this national treasure and how you can help.
posted by achmorrison on Sep 14, 2005 - 9 comments

Keep watching the stars, Quincy

Forensic Astronomy is the practice of using astronomy in legal cases to find the exact lighting conditions existing during a crime. It was used in a case in 1857 by a U.S. President. Lately, forensic astronomers are using their practice to find out all sorts of things. One astronomer has recently figured out just when exactly the Autumn Moon rose over the High Sierra. This Thursday, should you happen to find yourself at Glacier Point, you can see exactly what Ansel saw.
posted by bondcliff on Sep 13, 2005 - 5 comments

Spirit photographs Phobos and Deimos

Two Moons Passing in the Night. Mars rover Spirit took these sequential photos of Martian moons Phobos and Deimos passing overhead in the night sky. Those rovers are still going strong!
posted by brownpau on Sep 10, 2005 - 17 comments

This is Home

The Home Galaxy. What does the galaxy in which we live look like? via Cheryl's Mewsings
posted by thatwhichfalls on Aug 16, 2005 - 17 comments

Man Very Early Made Jars Stand Up Nearly Perfectly Ummm...

A new planet has been found. The new planet, named 2003 UB313 is the farthest known object in the solar system, larger than pluto and a lousy tourist destination. Slacker Astronomy has an interview with co-discoverer Dr. Chad Trujillo.
posted by mosch on Jul 30, 2005 - 39 comments

Watch Your Back, Pluto

Big object sighted... if you liked Sedna and Quaoar, you're bound to love 2003 EL61, which has been found lurking in photographs from a couple of years ago. There appears to be some speculation that this one could be larger than Pluto.
posted by gimonca on Jul 29, 2005 - 19 comments

Moonies

Google Moon - Google Maps gets the Lunar treatment, in honor of the first manned moon landing. No directions, though, so you won't be able to plot the best route from Tycho Crater to Mare Imbrium. (Fun Hint! - try the maximum zoom level)
posted by nervestaple on Jul 20, 2005 - 41 comments

Cassini Photos of Saturn's Rings and Moons

Rocks Among the Rings. The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has compiled some of the loveliest imagery of Saturn's ring-and-moon system from Cassini. More on Saturn from the Planetary Society here. Also see the Cassini at Saturn photoset, from our very own kokogiak, and watch for updates on the latest Enceladus flyby.
posted by brownpau on Jul 15, 2005 - 5 comments

avast ye maties! set sail for the milky way, yarr!

Cosmos 1 is officially lost! However, fellow solar sailors, it's not too late to buy a t-shirt. I, however, can't help but focus my attention on this educational BBC News article; I believe I'm having some sort of pavlovian response to that last diagram, but thankfully it seems I'm not the first solar sailing pervert out there.
posted by analogue on Jun 29, 2005 - 15 comments

View the universe in 3d

Ever have trouble visualizing how the solar system is put together, how the orbits work, how everything is positioned relative to everything else? This site helps you see how we think it all fits together.
posted by Fozzie on Jun 22, 2005 - 16 comments

SLOOH - Access a high powered telescope from your desktop

Play with the big boys of astronomy by accessing a high powered telescope online.
posted by Fozzie on Jun 21, 2005 - 2 comments

The Summer Moon Illusion

For the sake of your sanity, for five minutes this week forget the memos, the autopsies, the celebrity verdicts, and the rest. Go outside and look at the full moon, which will hang in the sky at its lowest point in 18 years over the next three nights, says NASA, creating the "summer moon illusion." If you're a US resident, calculate your local moonrise time here.
posted by digaman on Jun 19, 2005 - 26 comments

APOD

Astronomy Picture of the Day is ten years old today, and over its long life has featured great photos of Earth, the Milky Way, the Sun, Stars - and even Water on Mars.
Happy Birthday APOD.
posted by Mwongozi on Jun 16, 2005 - 5 comments

Pioneer Anomaly

The Pioneer Anomaly. Something's up in deep space: the Pioneer spacecraft, now out of contact, have shown an unexplained Doppler drift, indicating sunward acceleration, effectively decelerating the probes cumulatively. The effect may be be nongravitational, and could be explained by any number of factors: an undiscovered twist in Newtonian physics, localized cosmological contraction issues, or just venting gas. Other deep space probes may have experienced the anomaly as well, and a new mission could explore the puzzle; but for now, all we have is past Pioneer data, and that's stored on old 9 track tape which can only be read by antique readers. What's to be done? (Also see Pioneer Odyssey for a nostalgic romp through those early days of deep space exploration. And NASA, bring back the original Pioneer home page plz, kthx.)
posted by brownpau on Jun 13, 2005 - 21 comments

Solar System Atlas

Mathematicians are creating an atlas of solar system highways along which spacecraft can coast using no fuel. First stop: Mars, where new findings have revealed the locations red planet’s ancient poles. Onward to distant galaxies, and debate over whether a fundamental physical constant has actually changed over time.
posted by dfowler on Apr 20, 2005 - 17 comments

Water on earth's moon?

Come and get it? Some researchers believe there's water on the Moon in reach of human explorers....as we look towards the Moon with thoughts of setting up a permanent home there, one new question is paramount: does the Moon have water? Although none has been definitely detected, recent evidence suggests that it's there.
posted by Cranberry on Apr 14, 2005 - 24 comments

Redshift 10 Territory

Earth Has Unsymmetrical Auras?!! BFD.
Light from summa the very first stars in the Universe observed : b
posted by dfowler on Apr 6, 2005 - 28 comments

Star Cluster and You

First Super Star Cluster detected in Milky Way, while in the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), MYSTERY Star Clusters are found.
Unique? Us? Haw. Plenty of Earth-like planets await discovery, say researchers.
posted by dfowler on Apr 5, 2005 - 6 comments

First extrasolar planet photo

Orbiting GQ Lupi: first confirmed images of extrasolar planet
posted by dfowler on Apr 4, 2005 - 14 comments

Even the Non Scientist and Curious!

On the mission to understand and communicate miracles of Life on Earth and the mysteries reaching beyond the stars.
posted by breezeway on Mar 7, 2005 - 5 comments

Cage Match: Gravity Leakage vs. Dark Matter

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn published The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It questioned not only the "progressive" model of scientific history, but also bled over into other disciplines and brought into question human perception of just about everything else. (coining the questionable phrase "paradigm shift" in the process.)

One of the most interesting shifts came in the battle about the (not totally forgotten) aether. A modern day equivalent might be "dark matter," an undetected form of matter that explains some of the quirky behavior of gravity. Or, it could all be gravity leakage.
Let the battle begin! (The winner might just set the course of astrophysics for the next generation, or even lead to the holy grail.)
(see also here.)
posted by absalom on Mar 1, 2005 - 26 comments

The truth behind the first cheesy special effects

Misconceptions about the Big Bang
posted by Gyan on Feb 23, 2005 - 39 comments

Magnetars: bigger than the ones on your fridge

On March 5, 1979, astronomers saw a burst of gamma rays so strong it swamped their detectors. Another rare burst in 1998 helped confirm the existence of magnetars, intensely powerful magnetic stars, unusual enough that there might only be a dozen or so in the galaxy. Another one has just been found --when it let off a burst last December that, for a fraction of a second, was brighter than the full moon.
posted by gimonca on Feb 18, 2005 - 23 comments

Location, location, location

The Chaco Culture National Historical Park (flash) encompasses a whole canyon's worth of buildings that appear to be designed to elaborately showcase the movement of the sun and the moon. And the website for the park is pretty well done. Also see the PBS-supported documentary called "The Mystery of Chaco Canyon" from the Solstice Project and a previous Metafilter discussion of archaeoastronomy.
posted by ontic on Feb 16, 2005 - 11 comments

Hubble in Trouble

Hubble doomed again (more inside)
posted by kyrademon on Jan 22, 2005 - 10 comments

Huygens Makes it!

It worked! Huygens has successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan and the Cassini orbiter is sending good data back to Earth as I type. Isn't it amazing how we can take a probe the size of a compact car, send it on a 7 year journey in the most inhospitable environment imaginable, deploy a sub-probe that has been dormant for that entire time and land it where we had planned on another solar body so far away that it takes 67 minutes to get a signal back and forth. Exploration and research has never been so cool.
posted by tgrundke on Jan 14, 2005 - 37 comments

There can be no escape. . .

NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory recently detected [reg required] the largest explosion ever detected in the universe: an eruption releasing the energy of hundreds of millions of gamma ray bursts. Just to put it in perspective, a single GRB releases enough radiation to wipe out just about everything human beings would require for survival in a 1000 light year radius. (The Milky Way spans ~100,000 light years, while the United Federation of Planets spans about 8,000). Arthur C. Clarke has gone so far as suggesting that GRBs might be one of the reasons for Extra-Terrestrial silence: Gamma Ray Bursts are so large and inescapable, a single one would wipe out even an enormous galactic empire. Makes killer asteroids seem downright quaint.
posted by absalom on Jan 8, 2005 - 24 comments

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