NASA Confirms Solar Tsunamis

24 11 2009

The sun. It's big, hot, and apparently, occasionally subject to some serious turbulence.

Scientists at NASA have confirmed earlier observations of wavelike events on the solar surface as being truly stellar tsunamis. NASA is good at putting out really great press releases, and they know a heck of a lot more about this than I do, so I’m just going to point you to their site. Make sure you check out the videos!

The sun is awesome. “Some matter in a ball,” indeed.

-Neil





Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Last Night!!

17 11 2009

An 1833 depiction of the Leonid Meteor Shower.

Thousands of you are coming here for information on the shower, but I don’t have a post up about today’s event! So here it is!

The Leonid Meteor shower occurs every year when Earth passes through the cloud of debris left behind by the passage of the comet Temple-Tuttle. Specks of dust are rapidly heated upon contact with our atmosphere and glow spectacularly for a brief moment. If you want to catch a glimpse of our brush with this cometary dust cloud, tonight is a good night. Last night was technically the peak, but since the cloud of dust is fairly large, Leonid meteors should be visible tonight and tomorrow as well. Some folks have reported some brilliant displays, so if you’re awake you may as well take a look. In any case if you decide to check out the event, just find a nice spot with a good view of as much of the sky as possible. Make sure it’s dark and free from light pollution. Then relax on your back and enjoy the show! Oh – some additional viewing tips from someone who knows his stuff:

It’s more important to orient looking away from sources of light pollution – especially the moon if it’s up. If possible, orient so these light sources are blocked from your visual field by objects in your surroundings. This will encourage your pupils to open a bit wider, and allow seeing fainter meteors. Orient toward the holes in the clouds, if any. Orient so that the place where you are lying is comfortable. Aaahhh!

Have fun and dress warm!!

-Neil

 





All Episodes of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos Are Available Online!!

30 10 2009
carl_sagan

Just look at him. As majestic as the Milky Way.

 

Holy Moley did I cry with joy when I learned this. Our friends at Hulu have put up all thirteen episodes of Carl Sagan’s magnum opus, Cosmos. If you’re unfamiliar with Cosmos, it’s an awesome series. Sagan explores a different topic each episode, outlining a particular feature of our wonderful universe with his characteristic awe and infectious enthusiasm. Stars, galaxies, the formation of the Earth? The origins of the elements, the subtleties of star death? You’ll find it here! I whole heartedly recommend you watch every single episode. Dang, it’s just so cool!
Go now! Go and be entertained and educated!

 

-Neil





New Ring of Saturn Discovered

7 10 2009

With an astonishing 12.5 MILLION kilometer radius, the ring is the biggest of its kind known in the solar system. Check out Scientific American’s discussion of the discovery by clicking this pretty little line!

As our technology develops, we see more and more. As we see more, our technology develops. As our technology develops, we see more and more. As we see more…

Neil

PS Leaf color changing post coming soon! Soon you will know the why and how of fall colors! Hooray!





Any Questions?

10 09 2009

Cool news. A fellow who works on public outreach for the Hubble program has consented to my asking him a few questions. If any of you fine people out there have any questions YOU want answered, just put them in a comment after this post or send me an email at dangthatscool@gmail.com. Ask about Hubble, the new Webb telescope, whatever.

-Neil





Are We Alone?

19 08 2009
The Earth, my home and yours.

The Earth, my home and yours. It looks lonely, doesn't it?

I recently received an email. It’s a good one, and the discussion it concerns is important.

Sam writes:

Hey guys,

I really enjoyed the Hubble post.  That was a pretty amazing video!  Between that, and seeing “District 9” this weekend, I was wondering what you thought the odds are that we are alone in the universe?

Thanks,

Sam

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Science at Home

4 08 2009
Handsome scientist and bon-vivant Louis Pasteur helped develop germ theory, invented the first rabies vaccine, and of course, invented pasteurization! Jealous? I don't blame you.

Handsome scientist and bon-vivant Louis Pasteur helped develop germ theory, invented the first rabies vaccine, and of course, invented pasteurization! Jealous? I don't blame you.

Ever find yourself wracked with envy over the fabulous lifestyles of the members of the scientific community? Does the sight of a lab-coated, bespectacled scientist strolling down Park Avenue with an air of well-earned confidence turn you green with envy? Want to reel in the ladies like a marine biologist? Well worry no more friends!

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