566 posts tagged with astronomy.
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Armageddon's Deep Impact

An interactive map of the 174 major meteor impact craters. The largest crater we know of is the Vredefort Dome in South Africa, caused by a meteor some 10 km in diameter. Almost as large in the Sudbury Structure, located in Ontario, which contains some of the world's richest nickel and copper reserves, and has been only confirmed recently to be a crater. Third largest is the now-famous Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan, which probably killed the dinosaurs. Then take a look at an animation of asteroids near Earth [animated gif] and the list of minor planets that could hit us. Want to find out what happens when an meteor impacts in your area? Use the handy Earth Impacts Effects Program!
posted by blahblahblah on Oct 25, 2006 - 13 comments

Face on Mars

Stunning video flyby of the "Face on Mars". Oh, and this one too. via
posted by grateful on Oct 24, 2006 - 18 comments

The Many Worlds of David Darling

The Worlds of David Darling. British astronomer and science writer David Darling has written over 10,000 articles for three massive online efforts: the Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, Astronomy, and Spaceflight, the Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living , and a related encyclopedia of concept vehicles. Though the diversity of entries can be eccentric, and some are quite short, the science seems solid: learn about the illicit corned beef sandwich of Gus Grissom, peruse a comprehensive set of advanced space propulsion concepts, and see a terrific illustrated listing of strange land and air vehicles (don't miss the Peel P50 microcar and the Volvo Gravity Car).
posted by blahblahblah on Oct 16, 2006 - 2 comments

In Saturn's Shadow

In Saturn's Shadow. Pictures of Saturn like none you've seen before, taken by Cassini while the planet was in between the probe and the sun. You can just make out Earth in the photos. Previously.
posted by cerebus19 on Oct 16, 2006 - 17 comments

For your nocturnal viewing pleasure

The clear sky clock (this one is for Boston) provides a graphical representation of seven factors that affect the clarity of stargazing: cloud cover, transparency, seeing, darkness, wind, humidity, and temperature. Once you've figured out where and when to go stargazing (probably somewhere rural) make a custom map for your location so you know what you're seeing.
posted by nekton on Sep 27, 2006 - 7 comments

The Hive Mind Discovers Aliens

The number of communicating alien civilizations = R* x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L. The formula is the Drake Equation, and modern estimates range from several thousand to none but us. You can solve it yourself. What is your estimate of the number of alien civilizations out there?
posted by blahblahblah on Aug 27, 2006 - 88 comments

support democracy

SAVE PLUTO
posted by thirteenkiller on Aug 25, 2006 - 91 comments

Newtonian dynamics unmodified

Good evidence that dark matter is for real.
posted by kliuless on Aug 16, 2006 - 57 comments

I guess we need a new mnemonic...

Ceres, Charon, and 2003 UB313 (a.k.a. Xena) may join the 9 planets we already know (and strive to remember) if a resolution by the International Astronomical Union is passed next week. So what makes a planet, according to the IAU? Having sufficient mass to achieve hydrostatic equilibrium (i.e. be round enough...welcome former asteroid Ceres) and being in orbit around a star without being a star itself or a satellite of another planet (apparently Charon and Pluto are actually a double planet.) Mike Brown, discoverer of "10th planet" Sedna and alleged "Pluto-hater", doesn't really like the idea.
posted by nekton on Aug 16, 2006 - 75 comments

Perseid Meteor Shower Peak

The annual Perseid meteor shower will peak in intensity tonight. The product of Earth intersecting with the debris trail from Comet Swift-Tuttle, the shower should be most dramatic shortly before dawn. More information on the shower can be found in various places.

Those living far away from cities will have the best view, but there are lots of good photos from past showers online for those immersed in city light, or blanketed under cloud.
posted by sindark on Aug 12, 2006 - 18 comments

Astronomy Quilts

Astronomy Quilts "My quilts are to communicate ideas, express feelings, tell stories, and encourage the progress of anti-entropy coalescing order from disorder."
posted by mediareport on Aug 4, 2006 - 15 comments

Huh, your world, maybe, pathetic earthlings!

The Size of Our World. A brief study in pictures of the relative sizes of some astronomical bodies.
posted by Eideteker on Jul 27, 2006 - 47 comments

3D Starmaps

3D Starmaps by Winchell Chung. (I knew him for his game illustrations before I ever knew about his starmaps.) The site contains lots of information about how to make 2D/3D starmaps from standard star tables, a nice selection of pre-existing maps and one of the best listings of 3D starmap software around.
posted by jiawen on Jul 23, 2006 - 12 comments

sun go boom

Life (Briefly) Near a Supernova (pdf, Google cache) by Steven Dutch (UW-Green Bay). What might it be like on a planet orbiting a star that went supernova? "It would take on the order of 100,000 seconds, or about a day, to receive enough energy to vaporize the Earth." Yes, Arthur C. Clarke and Larry Niven are name-checked. (And yes, the Sun is too small to actually go supernova, killjoy.) Via the nonist.
posted by languagehat on Jul 17, 2006 - 19 comments

Antique Celestial Maps

The U.S. Naval Observatory Library features high-res scans of images from antique books dealing with astronomy and navigation. Wallpapers, ahoy!
posted by Gator on Jul 13, 2006 - 18 comments

Ancient observatories - from space

Ancient observatories from space Satellite images of Angkor Wat, Chichen Itza, Chaco Canyon, Stonehenge, Teotihuacan, and others. The observers, observed. High res images available.
posted by carter on May 8, 2006 - 23 comments

Summer begins today. No, really.

Happy Beltane! Today, astronomically speaking, is one of the four Cross-Quarter days, exactly midway between the solstices and equinoxes. To some people, that makes today the start of summer - after all, why would you begin the season that's supposed to be bright and hot on the day when the only direction to go is darker? (Yes, I know they say May 1 - the first site I linked to figures out the exact dates and times mathematically, so I'm more inclined to trust it).
posted by wanderingmind on May 5, 2006 - 16 comments

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

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