Archive for the ‘The Cosmos’ Category

The Total Solar Eclipse of August 1, 2008

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

From Wikipedia:

The solar eclipse of August 1, 2008 was a total eclipse of the Sun with a magnitude of 1.039 that was visible from a narrow corridor through northern Canada (Nunavut), Greenland, central Russia, eastern Kazakhstan, western Mongolia and China. It belonged to the so-called midnight sun eclipses, as it was visible from regions experiencing midnight sun.

In Siberia, the total eclipse zone passed through populated places, including the “capital of Siberia” Novosibirsk, and the cities of Nizhnevartovsk, Barnaul and Biysk. The greatest eclipse duration was reached near the town of Nadym in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in Northern Siberia.

A partial eclipse could be seen from the much broader path of the Moon’s penumbra, including eastern North America and most of Europe and Asia.

–>Link to NASA’s website for this event

–>Link to SpaceWeather.com photo gallery

NASA Confirms Water on Mars

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Laboratory tests aboard NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander have identified water in a soil sample. The lander’s robotic arm delivered the sample Wednesday to an instrument that identifies vapors produced by the heating of samples.

“We have water,” said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. “We’ve seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted.”

–>Link to NASA article

Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

The Lick Observatory is an astronomical observatory, owned and operated by the University of California. It is situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, just east of San Jose, California, USA. The observatory is managed from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where its scientific staff moved in the mid-1960s.

Significant discoveries made at Lick Observatory include several moons of Jupiter and several extrasolar planets.

–>Link to Lick Observatory
–>Link to Lick Observatory “HamCam”

Psychedelic Salon: Podcast 149 - Trialogue “The Heavens”

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Lorenzo of the Psychedelic Salon produces a fantastic and invaluable podcast featuring interviews and discussions with the great thinkers and personalities of the psychedelic movement.

Podcast 149 is especially relevant for this blog. This episode features a fascinating discussion (or trialogue) between Rupert Sheldrake, Ralph Abraham, and Terence McKenna about “The Heavens”.

–>Link to Psychedelic Salon: Podcast 149 - “The Heavens”

Discovery of Earth-Like Exoplanet

Sunday, July 27th, 2008


A team of astronomers announced they have discovered the smallest and potentially most Earth-like extrasolar planet yet. Five times as massive as Earth, it orbits a relatively cool star at a distance that would provide earthly temperatures as well, signaling the possibility of liquid water.

“The separation between the planet and its star is just right for having liquid water at its surface,” says astronomer and team spokesperson Stephane Udry of the Observatory of Geneva in Versoix, Switzerland. “That’s why we are a bit excited.”

–>Link to article

How many intelligent civilizations could there be in our galaxy?

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The Drake Equation was devised by Dr. Frank Drake in 1960, in an attempt to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy with which we might come in contact. The main purpose of the equation is to allow scientists to quantify the uncertainty of the factors which determine the number of such extraterrestrial civilizations.

Plug your own numbers into the equation with this interactive Flash:
–>Link to The Drake Equation

The Long Now Foundation

Friday, July 18th, 2008

The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996 to creatively foster long-term thinking and responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.

Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span. The trend might be coming from the acceleration of technology, the short-horizon perspective of market-driven economics, the next-election perspective of democracies, or the distractions of personal multi-tasking. All are on the increase. Some sort of balancing corrective to the short-sightedness is needed - some mechanism or myth which encourages the long view and the taking of long-term responsibility, where ‘long-term’ is measured at least in centuries.

–>Link to The Long Now Foundation

–>Link to The 10,000 Year Clock

–>Link to Seminars About Long Term Thinking
–>Link to Seminars About Long Term Thinking - Podcast

The Moon Transits Earth

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

The Deep Impact spacecraft was the one that smacked a chunk of copper into a comet so that we could see what materials were below the surface. After the impact, the spacecraft kept going (with the mission renamed EPOXI), and it’s being used to do all sorts of interesting observations.

In late May, 2008, it turned its cameras back to Earth and observed us over the course of a several hours. During this time, from EPOXI’s point of view, the Moon passed directly in front of the Earth!

–>Link to Bad Astronomy

Monty Python: The Galaxy Song (A modern remix)

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

–>Link to Google video

What’s Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing)

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That’s not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle.

The sun is now near the low point of its 11-year activity cycle, we call this ‘Solar Minimum.’ It is the period of quiet that separates one Solar Max from another.

–>Link to NASA article


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