Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience?
Is it not really better than fantasy?
Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1
, part 2
), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God
? Does physics-bothering
unrepentant space case
Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards
Ever wondered how the Twelve Colonies
of Battlestar Galatica
fit around a single star? Then gaze upon a lovely map
of star clusters
that is the BSG universe, designed by writer Jane Espenson
and science advisor Kevin Grazier
On July 17th, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
(WISE) satellite completed its first survey of the entire sky viewable from Earth
. After just seven months in orbit, WISE -- a precursor to the planned James Webb Space Telescope
-- has returned more than a million images that provide a close look at celestial objects
ranging from distant galaxies
. The first release of WISE data, covering about 80 percent of the sky, will be delivered to the astronomical community in May of next year
, but in the meantime we can see some of the images and animations that NASA has released to date: Galleries (containing just a small selection of images)
. Videos and Animations: 1
, 2 [more inside]
...the lyrics to that last song were basically taken from an encyclopedia written in the 50s, and since the 50s, some remarkable things have happened...
In 1959, a number of songs about science
were released on an album called Space Songs. One of these was later covered
by the band They Might Be Giants: Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass of Incandescent Gas)
. Only one problem: it isn't
--the song was based on an incorrect text from 1951
. So they wrote an answer song to themselves: Why Does The Sun Really Shine? (The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma)
. Bonus link: see for yourself!
See Saturn this Saturday
April 12 is the second annual International Sidewalk Astronomy Night, a worldwide event coordinated by the Sidewalk Astronomers
. The group, founded in 1968 by John Dobson
(subject of this documentary
), is dedicated to a sort of guerrilla astronomy
-- experienced stargeeks bringing their really good telescopes
out to places where people are
. So even on your way to the bars, the shows, and the honky-tonk you can see stuff like this
- like these people
The Sky At Night
Every episode of the BBC science series made since the end of 2001 viewable online. Anything I know about the universe I learnt from Patrick Moore.
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.
Another massive celestial object, with a companion star in tow,
has been discovered hurtling through the Milky Way. Unlike similar discoveries
confirming the bow shock theory
of stellar dynamics, this week's phenomenon is considerably older, as it's an aftereffect of the galactic core's formation. The French and Argentine astromoners making the discovery believe what they've witnessed may be a black hole, though theoretically, the collasped matter may be a gravistar
Quark Star Observations of two stars, one unusually small and the other unusually cold, have led astronomers to think they are seeing evidence of a new form of matter and a new kind of star, one possibly made of elementary particles known as quarks and denser than any cosmic object other than a black hole.
(NYT link: yada yada) Here's a related link
on neutron stars and quark matter. I rather like the phrase strange quark matter
... Anybody else hear about this?