Astronews updates

By Phil Plait | March 12, 2008 11:08 am

OK, so I take a day off from blogging and the world, surprisingly, kept spinning. So here’s some stuff to keep you busy while I figure out what to write about next:

1) Jules Verne is the name of a very cool and highly sophisticated robotic vehicle built by the European Space Agency to aid astronauts on the space station. There were some initial problems with it, but it’s fixed.

2) The Large Binocular Telescope is a massive pair of 8.4 meter mirrors (cripes!) that work together to act as one very impressively ginormous telescope. One of the mirrors has been used for some time, but the second just came online and they have released their "First Light" image. Editorial note: I have no clue why they picked such a boring object for this image. It’s winter! They could have done any number of awesome things in Orion, or Gemini, or taken a shot at Saturn. Oh well.

3) A new website called Space Advocates for Obama has been set up. I need to look through it (busy busy) but it looks like a good place to get info on what Obama thinks on this important topic. If anyone knows of similar sites for Clinton and McCain, please post a comment below!

4) Real Climate, a blog written by professional climate scientists, has an interesting post up about the effects of the Sun’s motion through the galaxy and galactic cosmic rays on our climate. I researched this quite a bit for my book, and interviewed one of the writers of RC, Caspar Ammann, about it as well. This is an area of active research, and as such it’s hard to make firm statements just yet, but it’s looking like cosmic rays don’t affect the climate at all or at most the effect is very subtle.


5) Good news everyone! I Heart Chaos has an online and nearly complete timeline of Futurama events! It’s amazing, and if you’re a fan you’ll get a kick out of it.

Comments (19)

Links to this Post

  1. Astronomy Pictures - Images of moon | March 14, 2008
  1. Carey

    Crazy green laser af shows up smack in the middle of item #2. Whdfgzpwdtshi?

  2. Michelle

    Boring object?! Man, I think we see way too much of Saturn and Orion and all. It’s nice to see a cute galaxy we don’t see often from time to time.

    I think that picture is very very nice.

  3. Pierre

    All hail Hypnotoad!

  4. The Supreme Canuck

    Futurama timeline? I see that he’s taken it from Sam Hughes, the fellow behind “How to Destroy the Earth.” But he’s left out the best bits. Find the original here:

    http://qntm.org/index?timeline

  5. silence

    Last year, you blogged about a possible meteorite strike in Peru. There’s something of an update being reported in the press:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN1160726520080311

  6. silence

    There’s something of an update being reported in the press to the series of posts you had about an unusual crater in Peru:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSN1160726520080311

  7. Sili

    Ah – cheers for mentioning JuleALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD

  8. got your twitter, yes it shows up just fine in RSS :)

  9. Adria

    The first LBT paper isn’t anything astonishing either. Looks like they need better PR people.

  10. Ian

    I thought the point of the First Light picture was that there were 2 supernova visible in there? The 2 white dots, one on the left of the galaxy, one on the right. I liked it, anyway.

  11. Blaidd Drwg

    “the Sun’s motion trough the Galaxy”

    BAH! You know the Earth DOES NOT move! The Sun, and the rest of the Universe circles the Earth once a ‘day’, as can be CLEARLY seen by anyone who takes the time to simply look up *with their eyes open*.

    http://www.fixedearth.com/

    *OK, I’ll take my tongue out of my cheek now, it was getting a cramp anyway.*

    The really frightening thing is, the administrator of that site REALLY does believe his spew is nourishing, and quite tasty.

  12. Raven

    Here is the rebuttle to the RealClimate claims by Dr. Nir Shaviv

    http://www.sciencebits.com/RealClimateSlurs

    It appears the RealClimate piece makes some basic errors (this would not be the first time).

    It worth mentioning that RealClimate is not a science blog – it is advocacy site for those who feel AGW requires an aggressive action on the part of policy makers. Anyone reading opinions expressed on RC should treat them like opinions expressed in political advertisements (e.g. they might be right but it is crazy to assume they are right unless one can verify the information from a credible source).

  13. csrster

    An island universe containing billions of stars, each potentially a home to thinking, wondering, sentient beings, like and yet unlike us – sounds boring to me. But hey, Futurama …

  14. BAH! You know the Earth DOES NOT move! The Sun, and the rest of the Universe circles the Earth once a ‘day’, as can be CLEARLY seen by anyone who takes the time to simply look up *with their eyes open*.

    http://www.fixedearth.com

    MY EYES!!! :)

    I don’t know how how many colours you can use in a HTML-document, but this fellow managed to squeeze them all in.

    Which seems to be a characteristic of woowoo-sites.

  15. oh everybody loves hypnotoad ;) ) NGC 2770 was maybe chosen above all because of two supernova located in it ;) What do you think?

  16. I wish someone with access to the Hubble Space Telescope WFPC2 data put an image of NGC2770 to compare: http://archive.stsci.edu/proposal_search.php?mission=hst&id=11161

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