Both Mars rovers are back and hard at work again since the Martian dust storms have started to die down. Opportunity will be going down into Victoria crater,(pic below) which has exposed bedrock, a geologists dream. Spirit will be overtaking the Viking 2 lander for the title of the 2nd longest lasting spacecraft on the surface of Mars: 1290 sols (martian days). Viking 1 holds the record with 6 years 3 months and 22 days!, don't think that's gonna be beat anytime soon.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Check out Anna's site, she was going to be out this morning as well trying to get some pics of the eclipse, hope everything went well for her too. Actually my guard did come back, he finally started talking, he's a history buff, we got talking about the American civil war actually, something I am very interested in, great eclipse, great weather, and great conversation.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Tycho Crater named after Tycho Brahe is the major crater near the top of the moon and off to the left, the crater with all the bright lines coming from its center. It's a very steep crater, about 14,500 ft high and 52 miles in diameter. The next major crater is Copernicus Crater named after Nicolaus Copernicus , the guy who brought forward the idea that the Earth and all the planets revolve around the Sun, not the other way round. Copernicus is the bright crater just to the right of centre in the middle of the moon. The third major crater I would like to point out is Plato Crater, named after Plato the Greek philosopher. Plato is near the bottom, right of center, it is the darkest crater on the moon. All three of these craters are known hot spots for Transient Lunar Phenomenon.
(note: Telescope optics invert objects, ie. Tycho crater is actually on the bottom of the moon when viewed without a telescope)
The picture below was taken tonight as well, without the filter and at 50X magnification. I will probably end up taking some pics in each magnification. Well it's T-73.5 hours and counting and and the weather station's calling for variable clouds, with any luck at all and my fingers crossed, I should be taking my first eclipse pics since 2004.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
There is the theory of General Relativity which Albert Einstein came up with which explains things like gravity, space, time, the cosmos, just about everything we see around us can be explained by this major theory, Quantum mechanics on the other hand deals with how subatomic particles behave. In quantum mechanics the saying is," you don't understand quantum mechanics, you just get used to it".
Some of the weird and interesting stuff of quantum mechanics are for example, a subatomic particle, lets say an electron, can be in numerous different places at the same time, until you look at it, then it is at the place your looking at, and no other place. In the quantum world you can know too much about something, therefore you have to find negative information to cancel out the fact you know too much. Another thing, lets say you look at some type of subatomic particle, by looking at it you destroy its "quantum nature", so it behaves one way if your watching it, but another way if your looking away, its as if your looking at it forced it to behave the way you expected it to, all mind boggling stuff.
In short, subatomic particles don't behave the way they should when we apply the general relativity theory, space and time as we know them don't work, subatomic particles have their own theory called quantum mechanics. The worlds greatest scientists and theorists are working busily on developing the Theory of Everything which would bridge the gap between and make sense of both quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. As it stands right now Superstring theory is what most theorists think is the missing piece to this puzzle. The superstring theory's basic premise is that everything is made of vibrating strings instead of teeny tiny particles, this brings in all kinds of wacky things like 10,11 or even 26 extra dimensions called branes.
If your a student and your university is sold out of this book, or an alien from the planet Quantum and you want some light reading before bedtime, the first 10 bucks plus shipping and handling gets it. I found myself another anchor book Physics-Astronomy Frontier ,
that's right another big hardcover book with no pictures.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The picture above was taken from shuttle Endeavour as she was pulling away from the International Space Station. I saw this live as the shuttle was leaving the space station Sunday on NASA TV, it was simply stunning! You can see the boot shaped Italy in the background, like a map come to life.
The shuttle and space station orbit around 250 Nautical miles (about 287 regular miles) above the Earth, when you think about it, it's not that far away, just think about a city or town that far away from you and that's how far the space station is traveling above you when it's overhead. One thing that really stood out when I was watching the shuttle orbit Earth, is our planet looked so peaceful, fragile and finite, oh and by the way I didn't notice any lines separating the countries, no names either, man has done that. By looking at the mostly blue and white globe you'd never guess there was so much conflict going on below. I don't usually get so philosophical, but whenever I think of the vastness of space or the smallness of our planet I'm overwhelmed. God has given us an oasis in the middle of what seems like nowhere, in the harshest environment known to man, what do we do?, we cut it up, pollute it to the max and then perform all kinds of genocide, not cool.
On a lighter note, we are just one week away from the total Lunar eclipse Tuesday August 28th. 3:54 am EDT. And guess what folks, my forecast is looking just great! Unfortunately my calculations for that time in the morning put the Moon right behind the neighbors trees. This means I will be toting my scope and camera to the park across the street, so if I'm not arrested or worse yet mugged I should have some nicest pics.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I was going through an astrostuff type of magazine and picked out a few things I really, really, really, need. My wife is always telling me that I exaggerate way too much, I don't see it, can't remember the last time I did, but instead of me saying I really,really,really need this astrostuff, I will say I need this astrostuff.
The nicest telescope. There is a rule of thumb with telescopes, if it's bigger than you, it's nicest.
This scope is so nicest that when you look through the eyepiece, the nebula/galaxy/ even star clusters will be in color, just like the Hubble! It is a RC optical systems 20"truss system. Base price is nicest too, around $54,300.
Below is what I have, sure it's nice, not nicest nice, but nice.
All I'd have to do is call up NASA tell them the type of scope I have, the nicest scope, and they could hire me out to do work for them when they send probes to the Moon/Mars, like they did with Parkes observatory and Apollo 11. Lets say they pay me $1,000 an hour, for even just 54.3 hours, the scope would be paid up for in just a couple of days. Just to keep my wife happy I'll cut what they pay me to $500.00 an hour, don't want to be accused of exaggerating, the scope would be paid up in just 4 days.
Next, because of the size of the nicest scope, you have to have a nicest observatory to keep it in.
Sirius Observatories sell the nicest university model for, well it doesn't even say, but it's their nicest and again , work for NASA , the observatory would pay for itself in just a few days.
Below is what I have, it's more in the category of cute, which is fine for puppy dogs, but when your dealing with astrostuff you need at least nice, preferably nicest.
Now, because you will be spending a lot of time in your nicest observatory working for NASA, you'll need a Sony LCD TV. Full 1080p HD, and only $3,600, that's only 7 hours of working for NASA. Below is what I have. Oh wait , I don't have one yet, all the more reason to get one. There are more nicest astrostuff I need such as nicest eyepieces, camera, fridge, sofa, stove, but it will have to wait till I get the basic nicest stuff first.
The space shuttle Endeavour unlocked from the International Space Station at 7:56 am EDT. Sunday morning, one day earlier than planned to allow the shuttle to land Tuesday before Houston has to prepare for Hurricane Dean. Below is a picture of Hurricane Dean taken from the space shuttle. To keep up with the shuttle news NASA TV has all the latest happenings.
Friday, August 17, 2007
On a more sombre note, more bad news for the Endeavour and her crew. A micrometeorite dinged the shuttle's windshield, man these guys can't catch a break, my wife suggested they park the shuttle by the side of the road and wait for the next ride down. On Wednesday mission control cut short the planned 3rd. spacewalk because Rick Mastracchio noticed a hole in his space glove, the hole only penetrated 2 of the 5 layers of the glove and Houston stressed Rick was in no danger but hurried him back inside just to be safe, maybe they should do the repairs to the space shuttle just to be safe as well.
It is official now, NASA has decided that no repairs will be done to the shuttle's tile system. The chairman of the mission management team John Shannon said Johnson Space Center's engineering group in Houston wanted to proceed with the repairs , but every one else including safety officials voted to skip them. Douglas Osheroff a Nobel Prize - winning physicist who worked on the Columbia investigation four years ago, questioned NASA's decision not to proceed stating since they "can only increase their chances of making it down." he also stated "I don't see why NASA is going to invent a fix and not use it, this attitude of it looks okay, let's not do anything about it, seems like the Columbia NASA." And I thought Anna and I were the only ones having major concerns about this, I'm glad we're not alone on this one. Here is a good CNN video on the tile repair situation that I found for your viewing pleasure.
Martian skies are starting to clear for the rovers, Spirit is actually doing science again while the little opportunity rover guy is still having power problems.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
There are 3 options for repair available to the shuttle crew.
1. Paint the section with heat resistant paint.
2. Screw in a protective plate.
3. Fill the hole with a protective goo.
Now, if I were an Astronaut on board the Endeavour I'd be voting to do all 3 and then look around for some Duct tape as well, better safe than sorry, right? What's confusing to me is that NASA is still thinking about not doing any repairs at all, or as John Shannon, chairman of Endeavour's mission management team stated, "We're cautiously optimistic that we can fly as is". One of the reasons they are thinking of NOT doing any repairs is they only expect temperatures of 325 degrees on the exposed felt, and the upper limit for heating on the Endeavours hull at the damaged area is 350 degrees, am I the only one doing the math? that's only 25 degrees to the good. Even though the repair itself would be relatively simple, the fact that the Astronauts would be wearing a 300 -pound spacesuit carrying 150 pounds of tools, there is the danger that their tools could bang into the shuttle and cause even more damage, I say you send 2 patch kits with the repair guys/girls instead of one, and when you think of it, just how klutzy are these people anyway? These guys/girls are trained Astronauts. Anything could happen yet, I'm sure NASA will do the right thing whatever that may be.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Just when you are coming down from a meteor shower high, another one comes along. Two thousand years ago in Roman times comet Kiess left a trail of dust behind, which on September 1st. between 3:45 and 5:15 am PDT. we will be able to view as meteors. Only 3 people alive today are known to have seen them. This is an extremely rare event and after this shower there wont be another Aurigid Meteor Shower for another 50 years.
The meteors radiate from the constellation Auriga which at that time in the morning will be directly above you and a little to the east. Because comet Keiss only generated a narrow trail of debris this meteor shower will only be viewable from western North America, the good news is there will be up to 200 bright meteors per hour and since they only last an hour and a half, it will be a wild ride.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Our family is made up of two camps, there is my daughter Lindsay and I who believe in aliens, then there is my oldest daughter Amanda and Cathy who think we are alien, I mean aliens. My youngest daughter and I both have the paranormal gene, we both believe in UFO's and ghosts and like watching the same kind of horror and UFO shows, I remember one particular show we were watching, it was about aliens building the pyramids, at one point during the show we turned to each other and we knew, we knew it was true, aliens did build the pyramids, but more importantly, we needed more popcorn.
Anyways back to the book. There is some wild and wacky stuff in this book but there is also some useful pointers as well, for example, I took a picture of one of the chapters called "What To Do If You See a UFO", it states, " take careful enough notes," as you can see they lost something in the translation from the original Arabic scrolls, but they get the point across take lots of notes, for example, did it zoom or did it hover. They say that after going through your notes you may figure out that what you saw was actually a weather balloon or shooting star which would make it an "IFO "or "Identified Flying Object", which is what your not looking for. One of the crazy sections Is called "Up Close And Personal", where it has drawings of green aliens, I mean really, I think I know what an alien looks like, and they're not all green. Another crazy chapter is "Are You-Or Is Someone You Know-An Alien?", I think I would know if I was an alien, but it did bring up one point that made me think, One of the signs that you may be an alien is "Do you sometimes feel as though no one really understands you?" Oh well at least I don't have scaly skin, which was another sign. The book then gets into how you should defend yourself, basically, if your in front of an alien , just say NO, be forceful and stern, if that doesn't work, get a cat, apparently aliens are afraid of cats. The last chapter deals with reporting the incident, they make a point of telling you not to go to the tabloids, and gives the reader the "National UFO Reporting Center" phone number as well as the "Mutual UFO Network" number. The back cover of the handbook doubles as your official UFO hunter's ID card. Over all a good read and something any self respecting UFO hunter should have.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Wednesday August 8th. at 6:36 pm EDT, Space Shuttle Endeavor had it's successful launch, I never get tired of watching launches, especially space shuttle ones, they have some crazy cool camera placements that show some neat stuff. STS (space transportation system) 118 will carry parts to be installed on the International Space Station. NASA is continuing it's "Teachers in Space" program 21 years after the Challenger disaster, taking the lives of 7 crew members including Christa McAuliffe the first and last school teacher to be launched into space. Barbara Morgan will be the school teacher on STS 118. Interestingly enough, Barbara was Christa's backup on the Challenger mission back in 1986.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Anna's; photography is simply stunning, there is one picture she took of a bird that you could see her reflection in the bird's eyeball. Her pictures of the moon are excellent, she is a rockin' girl blogger.
Vienne; has an excellent blog based on eavesdropping on unsuspecting people, you have to give it a try, very unique concept, another worthy rockin' girl blogger.
Aura; Has a spooky interesting blog about the unexplained, but the best reason is her picture, scares me just thinking about it, in a cool sort of way. rockin' girl blogger all the way.
Barbara; Is getting the word out about Jericho, what a great show it is, and that the Nielsen Ratings suck, well the suck is my word. Good choice for all her hard work.
Ross; Has a cool blog with cute animal pics, Quotes and other neat things, but mostly because he plays bass, good choice for awesome guy blogger.
Just to prove I am worthy, I posted a pic of my blue guitar (custom painted by a friend of mine) which matches the blue guitar in the award, it was meant to be, the cat is Spot, named in honor of Data's cat from Star Trek the Next Generation. Spot wasn't going to be in the picture but she kept butting in and ruined a lot of pics, so I finally told her to stay still and look into the camera, and she agreed.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1 scene 5.
Back in 1998 Saul Perlmutter and Brian P.Schmidt discovered through the observations of type 1a Supernovae that the universe was expanding faster then it should be . This was a mind boggling discovery. What was the dark repulsive force that was able to increase the expansion rate of the universe? Michael Turner called it Dark Energy and scientists were able to determine that it accounts for around 73% of the total mass of the universe, 23% consists of something else we have no idea of called Dark matter, in fact everything we see , stars , planets, galaxies and people only account for 4% of the total mass of the universe, thats mind boggling. We don't know a whole lot about the make up of either dark energy or dark matter, we know that it isn't made up of the Baryonic matter, we and everything else we see is, and is only detected through the observations and effects it has on the Baryonic matter around it. If you think about it, your probably being bombarded right now with all kinds of non-baryonic matter
as your walking to the store, driving to work, non-baryonic matter is all around you.
As it stands right now there are 3 possibilities of a dark energy universe. as my above diagram shows.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Lunar Transient Phenomenas or "LTP"for short, are short lived phenomena, usually of bright white or red lights coming from the moons surface, apparently they are rarely photographed, the picture above is from 1953. I belong to the "LTP Research Program" and have spent many hours looking at Aristarchus and Plato,(50% and 15% of the LTPS happen in these craters) just hoping for some kind of flash to happen, to date notta, nothing, but there is always hope.
Scientists have discovered a strong relationship between "LTP'S" or "TLP'S" and escaping gases from beneath the moon's surface. "Radon" is a non colored gas but when it is cooled below-96 degrees Fahrenheit it becomes a yellow gas, if the temperature dips below -180 C it actually turns a red color. the Moon's temperature varies between 111C nearside temps to -193C at the darkside.
Apollo 15, detected traces of Radon in the Aristarchus, Kepler and Grimaldi. craters. Below is a conversation between capcom (capsule communication on earth)
and Orion, Apollo 16 lunar module.
Capcom: You talked about something mysterious?
Orion: Ok, Gordy when we pitched around I'd like to tell you about something we saw around the LM (Lunar module). When we were coming about 30 or 40 feet out, there were a lot of objects-white things flying by. It looked as if they were being propelled or ejected, but I'm not convinced of that.
Capcom: We copy that Charlie.
Could the Orion have been witnessing a LTP? I am going to leave you with a cool YouTube video of the descent, ascent and the famous hammer, feather experiment of. "Apollo 15" , a mission summary of Apollo 16, notice the "UFO?" behind Charles Duke and a "."Apollo 16" strange flashes video.