General Astronomy

Large Meteorite

It’s Space News Week!


Yep, lots of exciting announcements all throughout the week. First, we started with the XPrize Foundation‘s Visioneering. That’s where new X Prize concepts are researched to incent innovation and address market failures. Arguably the most well known was the was the Ansari X Prize, a $10M prize for the first privately funded spaceflight. And now you’re probably hearing that X Prize creator Peter Diamandis is now on to space more directly with a new venture: Planetary Resources.

Planetary More >

Astronomical Data Processing Challenges


This past week I was at the Wolfram Data Summit 2010, a gathering of “data processing folks”. Wolfram, of course being responsible for both, Mathematica (Of which version 8 is coming very soon), and the WolframAlpha “Computational Engine”. One of the interesting things that struck me as interesting was that most of the presenters have statistics representative of large populations – but their data ends up being a small number of actual data points. However, one presentation stuck out as More >

Planning a Night of Astronomy


Here in the Seattle area, we get lots of cloudy days — and nights. So when there are clear viewing opportunities, it’s always nice to maximize overall productivity instead of spending the night trying to figure out what would be interesting to see, slewing all over the place and not giving objects the attention they deserve.

Some choices — like whether or not one is planning to do visual observing or imaging are pretty easy to decide — but then what are you planning to look at? That pair of More >

Exoplanet in Fomalhaut

Exoplanets, Aliens, and Where Are They?


Today during lunch, one of my colleagues mentioned there was recent turmoil presented at the TEDGlobal conference. Normally, I’d not be thinking about it except that the enjoyable readings of Alan Boyle reminded me with an article: Millions of Earths Talk Causes a Stir. Ironically, I just the other day finished the book by the same author referenced at the bottom of the article, The Case For Pluto. Then the discussion quickly turned into the “have we ever seen an exo planet, or do we just More >


Astronomy Literature


Given that it’s been cloudy here since May 13 another nice way to explore the sky is with some good reading. Aside from the obvious monthly magazines (which take a month to produce and a day to read) such as Astronomy Magazine or Astronomy Technology Today, there are some really good books out there. For starters, The Backyard Astronomers Guide is one of the most complete “get started” books I have found. It’s written for the layperson and contains a wealth of information. From eyeball More >

Voyager 2 Not Abducted By Aliens…


According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Voyager 2 has had a mysterious “bit flip” in it’s memory. A few weeks back there were net-rumblings that aliens may have had something to do with the garbling of data received. Oh well, maybe next time…

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