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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
posted by brownpau
on Jun 13, 2005 -
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 -
the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
posted by semmi
on Sep 20, 2004 -
IN 1877 Isabel Gill visited an inhospitable volcanic blob
in the mid-Atlantic to help her husband
with ground-breaking astronomical measurements.
Then she wrote a wrote a book
about it, including an attempt to explain to fellow Victorian ladies the concept of a solar parallax in terms she thought they might be able to grasp:"I myself do not understand mathematical terms, so how could I use them with the hope of explaining these things to my readers? However, I can use knitting-needles, and perhaps they may do just as well."
Wierdly, more than a century later
visited the site and found the sandy paths which marked the Gill's lava-top camp still undisturbed by the Atlantic winds.
posted by penguin pie
on Sep 16, 2004 -
This is a pretty neat website for anybody interested in astronomy. Give it your location (City names work, even my white bread red-neck plains town did) and it'll give you star maps, fly by times and viewing instructions for satellites and so on.
posted by substrate
on Sep 10, 2004 -
exists because astrosociology is not yet a widely recognized subfield of sociology, and therefore it can benefit from a centralized approach. It is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growth of astrosociology from a general state of nonexistence.
As a little known sociologist fights his lonely
quixotic battle to introduce a new sociology subfield
, some who are stuck in their earthbound paradigm object
posted by found missing
on Jul 29, 2004 -