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Astronomy « Ted's Polish-Mexican Page

My first Infographic post

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Published on: December 21, 2014

Sizes of the Universe
Source: Number Sleuth

Two Astronomy Sites

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Published on: October 14, 2014

I changed my homepage to StumbleUpon, so now I’m finding all sorts of fun on the web.

I ran across a site called Chromoscope. The site was put together by two English Astronomers and compiles several “all-sky” projects that you can easily search through. It’s set up so that you can maneuver your view around and zoom in and out. You can also search for specific objects or constellations. A slider lets you view things in different wavelengths.

chromoscope

Although you can zoom in and out, these are from all-sky surveys so don’t expect a lot of detail. I managed to get this interesting view of the Crab Nebula in microwaves, but an attempt to spot Jocelyn Bell’s pulsar in Velpecula was met with failure.

Artist Josh Worth has put together a little demonstration called If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel. He subtitled it “A Tediously Accurate Model of the Solar System.” Be ready for a lot of scrolling through empty space because, well, it’s accurate. As one of his inter-planetary messages says “Most of space is just space.”

There are some oddball little features, such as those messages located between planets. There is also an icon in the lower right hand corner (you’ll see it once you scroll past the opening messages) that allows you to move as fast as light, in this scale anyway. It takes you a bit more than three minutes to get to Mercury. I wouldn’t recommend hanging out long enough to get to Neptune. For a faster trip, you can click the planetary icons at the top of the screen.

I’ll leave it to you to discover the rest of the features, such as changing the scale from light minutes to blue whales. An FAQ page gives you tidbits like the odd reason why he didn’t include Titan at first.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Vela Pulsar

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Published on: January 8, 2013

Phil Plait posted a video of the Vela Pulsar at his always cool Bad Astronomy blog.

Farewell, Spirit: 2004-2011

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Published on: May 31, 2011

It’s hard to feel sorry for a piece of machinery, but I was a little sad when I heard that the folks at NASA had decided to pull the plug on the plucky Spirit rover. It had lasted far longer than the 90 days it was intended to. On May 24, the year long attempts to restore communications with the vehicle were suspended.

APOD published the last view from Spirit, last February’s panorama of the foot of the Colombia Hills. As usual, click to enlarge.

The Current Farthest Thing In the Universe

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Published on: May 26, 2011

Here it is, the current record holder for the furthest thing in the universe: a gamma ray burst so far away that we can’t even see the galaxy that it came from.

It is 13.14 billion light years away and was observed in 2009 by the Swift space observatory. This beats the previous record that was set only a few weeks earlier by Swift of gamma ray burst a paltry 13.04 billion light years from earth.

redOrbit has some details, but the Bad Astronomer blog has a fantastic geek-sating entry about this discovery.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Oops.

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Published on: March 9, 2011

For those of you that got mildly excited about an Earthlike planet called KOI 326.01, well, forget it.

Richard Dawkins Interviews Fr. George Coyne

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Published on: May 13, 2010

This interview was recorded for a documentary produced two years ago called The Genius of Charles Darwin, but was omitted from the final product. Father George Coyne retired from the Vatican Observatory in 2007. Fr. Coyne also taught at the University of Arizona. I keep thinking that this interview was done in St. Augustine Cathedral downtown, but I could be wrong.

I think the public perception of Dawkins is that he’s doctrinal in his atheism, but I’m struck by the respect he shows for Fr. Coyne. Dawkins isn’t going to agree with the guy, but he’s genuinely curious despite how sure he is about his position.

Money quote:
Dawkins: What do you say to people who take the book of Genesis literally?
Coyne: As little as possible.

The interview continued:

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Conversation with George Coyne

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Published on: April 7, 2010

The latest episode of the American Public Media program Speaking of Faith features a conversation with Father George Coyne, Jesuit Astronomer and former University of Arizona professor.

You can download the program here, along with outtakes.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Another Astronomy Related Post

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Published on: October 19, 2008

I was listening to the Astronomy.com Podcast and they brought up a rather unfortunately named star: Beta Pegasi, an irregular red variable star that is currently overhead. The narrator on the podcast gave the traditional name, which I thought I heard wrong. When I got home, I consulted Burnham’s Celestial Handbook.

Yep, I heard right. The name of the star is Scheat. That’s pronounced with two sylables, but that really isn’t that much better, is it?

Apparently, according to Burnham’s, the name comes from an Arabic word Al-S’ad, so named because the star is in the foreleg of Pegasus.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

Asteroids!

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Published on: October 10, 2008

I don’t check the Planetary Society website for a few days, and this is the sort of thing I miss.

Apparently, the folks up on Mt. Lemmon observatory were among those who tracked 2008 TC3, a newly discovered asteroid that, well, isn’t there anymore. Shortly after it was discovered and named, they realized that its orbit would bring it into collision with Earth. This makes the first time that an object was discovered before it collided with the Earth’s atmosphere. This particular asteroid burned up over northern Sudan.

The full known history of the asteroid (about 20 hours!) is over at the Planetary Society’s blog.

Hasta la proxima. Do zobaczenia.

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