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Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Cosmic Exclamation Point!

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope have collaborated to produce a fantastic image of two galaxies already interacting in the process of colliding! The purple colors represent x-ray data from Chandra. The red, green, and blue colors are optical data from Hubble.

Image Credit: X-ray NASA/CXC/IfA/D.Sanders et al; Optical NASA/STScI/NRAO/A.Evans et al
Sort of looks like an exclamation point, right?

These two galaxies are known as VV 340 (or Arp 302), and are about 450 million lightyears from Earth, a light year being about 6 trillion miles. VV 340 spans about 285,000 light years. The top galaxy is edge-on (VV 340 North) while the bottom one (VV 340 South) is pretty much face-on, a wonderful set of views.

And now, check out this narrated animation:

video

For more information and/or to see/download a higher res video and a variety of still-image sizes , just click the link below.
Happy galaxy gazing!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NASA - Another Take on Supersonic

Flying the Supersonic Skies!

NASA Image Of The Day text:
"Our ability to fly at supersonic speeds over land in civil aircraft depends on our ability to reduce the level of sonic booms. NASA has been exploring a variety of options for quieting the boom, starting with design concepts and moving through wind tunnel tests to flight tests of new technologies. This rendering of a possible future civil supersonic transport shows a vehicle that is shaped to reduce the sonic shockwave signature and also to reduce drag. Image credit: NASA/Lockheed Martin"
Now tell me, who wouldn't think this aircraft is COOL looking?! Does it remind you of another civil aircraft of times gone by?

Remember, this is only an artist's rendering of what a new, improved supersonic aircraft might look like! However, I'm wondering if there are going to be windows in this thing - I don't see any in this pic except for the cockpit area. But perhaps they'll be below the wing and out of sight in this view from above, eh?

In any case, I'd fly the friendly skies of NASA anytime!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NASA - Close-up View of 'Snowman' Craters

NASA - Close-up View of 'Snowman' Craters
This is a view from about 3,200 miles of the 3 craters on the Vesta asteroid, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft which is presently orbiting Vesta. Dawn is the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid. The photo was taken July 24, 2011.

Click here--> NASA Image Of The Day Gallery to go there and/or download various sizes of this image. This image has been released by NASA to the public, and therefore is in the public domain. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.

I think this is magnificent detail! And, isn't it so very cool to get closeup views of an asteroid? Studies of Vesta conducted by NASA via the Dawn spacecraft will undoubtedly help mankind understand the origin and early history of our solar system. It will also add to our knowledge of asteroids as it pertains to how we might deflect or avoid an asteroid aimed at Earth. We really don't need another extinction event like the one 65 million years ago that is widely believed to have been caused by an asteroid impact on our planet!

And for an extra treat, how about a full frame view of Vesta?
This image is from from the APOD (Astronomy Picture Of the Day) site. (Click the link to go there and get larger versions of this pic.) Image Credit: NASA , JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS, DLR, IDA

The set of 3 craters called the snowman craters mentioned previously can be seen to the left of center. Cool, eh?!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NASA - Testing NASA's Next Deep Space Vehicle

NASA - Testing NASA's Next Deep Space Vehicle

Check out the huge splash down at 50 mph!



More information about this photo is available at the NASA link above!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Physics versus Philosophy - game over?

It's time to take stock of things and get a feel for the waters, folks! Thus the following poll. I hope you'll take the 10 seconds required to put your two cents in. And, don't be afraid to leave a comment either!
Has physics, in the form of relativity, quantum mechanics, and M-Theory (Superstring theory), made philosophy obsolete and/or useless?


Free Web Survey

Thanks!
--Gary D. Timothy-- (a.k.a., The Eclectic)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ahh,... to fly like a bird! Well, it can and has been done with the Snowbird!

Humans have dreamed of flying like birds under their own power ever since time began. Paul MacCready accomplished this feat in 1977 when he flew the Gossamer Albatross over the English Channel. It was quite true that he flew under his own power, but the wings of his craft were fixed and unmoving, except for directional controls. Still, this was an awesome achievement and MacReady was named by some to be the Engineer Of The Century.

But now there is Snowbird, a craft that is also completely human powered once it's in the air. And Snowbird, as what's known as an ornithopter, actually flaps its wings to sustain flight. True, it does need a pull from a car to get airborne, but once it's up,... well just watch the extraordinary video below!

On July 31st and August 2nd, 2010 the Snowbird maintained altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds - the world's firstself-powered flapping wing flight!


Ahhh,... to fly like a bird!
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d28/d540/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
For more information: Check out the Human Powered Ornithopter Project website.
To watch this video on YouTube: World's First Human-Powered Ornithopter
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Stand Up For Science - Evolution is REAL Science!

I ran across the two videos below on YouTube. If you're teetering on the edge of believing or not believing evolution theory, these videos might just inspire you. If you're sure that evolution is bunkum, then you too might want to check out the videos. And if you're already sure that evolution is the way to go, then these videos might just answer some questions for you anyway!

First up: Does the fossil record support Evolution?

Next up: Where are the Transitional Forms?



As I have asserted before on Gather.com and other sites, and as this video explains, nearly every species can be considered a transitional form. That is, all species stand somewhere between a former species and a later species on the evolutionary tree of life!

For those of you who do not accept the theory of Evolution, ignorance may be bliss, but I'm here to tell you that a little science knowledge can work even greater wonders!

For more videos and information: Stand up for REAL science

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Milky Way Big Picture (Showcase) - NASA Spitzer Space Telescope

The Milky Way Big Picture (Showcase) - NASA Spitzer Space Telescope

This is a video of the Spitzer Space Telescope's mission to capture over half of our Milky Way Galaxy, gloriously illustrated with wondrous visions, and explained beautifully by an astronomer.

It really is a Must See video!!


I do hope you enjoyed it!
--Gary D. Timothy--

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Finally Found Uranus and YOU can too!


Now, this is a special event for me because I’ve never positively identified it before in the night sky. There have been times when I thought I was looking at Uranus, but I’ve never before been sure of it. At its brightest, it is sometimes barely visible to the naked eye in very dark skies with no light pollution, but it usually requires a good star chart to find.

Uranus is the seventh planet out from the Sun, beyond Saturn and smaller than Saturn too, so it’s no wonder that it’s much more difficult to see. Below is an image captured by the Voyager 2 spacecraft during it’s flyby of the planet in 1986.



Above: Voyager 2’s view of Uranus. As you can see, Uranus is quite featureless – it’s one of the gas giants, so you are basically looking at its opaque atmosphere although it is thought to have a rocky core. Both Voyager 1 and 2 are still functioning and sending data back to Earth after over 33 years! They are both currently leaving the Solar System and are, respectively about 17 and 14 billion kilometers from the Sun.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Science Vine - Issue 3: Petrified Lightning, Suing Science, & Shuttle Wake-up Songs

Science Vine – Issue 3 - August 31, 2010

Petrified Lightning

I’m sure most of you have heard of petrified wood, and maybe even seen some yourself either in pictures or at a museum. But how about petrified lightning or fulgurites? It’s possible that at some of you who have never heard of petrified lightning or fulgurites have actually seen them without realizing it!

When lightning strikes the Earth in some sandy or silica-rich soil, it can literally melt the ground and leave it’s mark as fulgurites: hollow, glassy tubes that represent the path the lightning took. They are often root-like in structure, with evident branching, which seems consistent with the branching lightning seen in the sky. And they can range in size from very small to several centimeters wide and several meters long.

You might be petrified of lightning, but there’s nothing to fear from fulgurites. And if you find one, especially a big one, you could be in for some serious money from collectors and/or museums. But even though lightning strikes the Earth 100 times every second on average according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, fulgurites are very rare. So, while you might have seen one without know what it was, you probably won’t find one even if you know what you’re looking for. Isn’t that the way it always works?

For more information:
Wikipedia: Fulgurite
FactOidz:
Fulgurites: Petrified Lightning in the Ground (Warning! Fascination content is HIGH! And, there’s pictures here too!)
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Man seeks to sue science.

Man logically loses litigation attempt.

According to a Discover Magazine blog:

Back in 2008, a Hawaiian fellow named Walter Wagner claimed the Large Hadron Collider’s hunt for the Higgs boson would end in apocalypse, and sued to stop the collider from going online. His suit was soon dismissed by a federal judge, but with the fate of the world on the line, Wagner kept trying.




A simulated event at the CMS particle detector of the LHC of the european particle physics institute, CERN. This simulation depicts the decay of a Higgs particle following a collision of two protons in the CMS experiment. [Image credit: CERN. From Wikipedia user Harp.]


But, to make a long story short, an appellate judge for the United States District Court in Hawaii has ruled that Wagner failed to show “credible threat of harm.” You see, the United States doesn’t control the collider, which spans the border of Switzerland and France. The LHC was indeed built with some U.S. government financial support, but the U.S. only has observer status on the operations governing body: the CERN (European Center for Nuclear Research) council.


So, it appears that the U.S. can’t be held accountable if the LHC somehow destroys the Earth by creating an Earth-eating black hole or similarly apocalyptic strange matter!

For those of you who have a sense of humor, check out the LHCDefense.org site I’ve listed below. It’s a serious site, but intelligent beings that know a lick of science won’t be taking it seriously!

For more information:
Discover Magazine:
Judge: Man Can’t Sue over LHC’s “Potential Destruction Of The Earth”
LHCDefense.org:
THE OFFICAL SITE FOR CITIZENS AGAINST THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER

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http://media-files.gather.com/images/d71/d510/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg



Did you ever wonder what astronauts wake up to when they’re orbiting about 200 miles (325 kilometers) high above the Earth in the Space Shuttle? Why, Space Rock music, of course!


And who gets to choose the particular songs they hear? Why, Houston, of course! EXCEPT that now NASA has just opened voting booths to the public. That’s right, now YOU can vote on what music our shuttle astronauts get to wake up during the STS-133 mission, which is currently set to launch in November of this year.


So, to have your own voice in the musical voices that shuttle astronauts will hear, check out NASA’s Top 40 and pick out a song! They’ve listed 40 songs, all of which you can listen to, that have been played on previous missions, and the songs range from Beautiful Day by U2 to Rocket Man by Elton John to What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. The theme from Star Trek by Alexander Courage is currently leading in the polls, followed closely by Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf. Over 1.2 million votes have been cast so far, so get yours in now!


And on that note (pun intended, of course), so ends this issue of Science Vine.

© 2010 Gary D. Timothy
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