Friday, November 21, 2014


Today's Pluto Picture of the Day shows the extremely elliptical orbit of Sedna.

Soft Shell

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us another object that is well placed in our (northern hemisphere) Fall skies: Messier 1 in the constellation of Taurus, the Crab Nebula.

(Addendum: Here's a view of a different supernova remnant, MSH 11-62 as seen by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.)

Night Sky (Different Light)

The Swift Gamma Ray Observatory has been in operation in orbit for ten years now. Celebrate with an image showing our sky in a different light.


Subtle swirls and eddies in Saturn's atmosphere, fluid dynamics in action!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nice Eyewear

Today's Pluto Picture of the Day shows the Student Dust Counter instrument on the New Horizons vehicle before installation. Members of the SDC team are rocking their protective eyewear (and outerwear) here.

Weather Eye

The International Space Station quietly passes near Hurricane Gonzalo in this image.

Overflight Image

Operation Icebridge is five years old! An ongoing effort by NASA to track how we're melting the poles, this image shows how the western ice sheets at the south pole are reaching the point of collapse.

Work Day Prep

Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore prepare for an outdoor excursion on the International Space Station. As an exercise for the student, research spacesuits on the ISS, airlocks on the ISS, how spacewalks are divided up, and credits/debits for same.

The Dark of the Fall

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a view of a dark nebula (dust and cold unlit gas, star-forming regions not yet well-lit by young stars) in the constellation of Cygnus, LDN 988. A nice mixture of dense starfields and dark regions for Fall viewing in the northern hemisphere!

Click on the image get a version that includes labels for objects in the image.

How Social Is Your Media?

A while ago I came across a podcast called Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff (pretty early on in it's run, if I'm right), hosted by Kenneth Hite and Robin D. Laws. It was a gaming podcast, mostly talking about their stuff. They were funny. They spoke well. They liked each other. They were knowledgeable about many subjects.

They were very good.

At that point I had been out of gaming for over a decade due to people moving away, work, family and such. My involvement in gaming was the occasional purchase of a "oh, shiny" book or miniature.

But these guys got me interested again. As a result, I eventually started running a game again (Call of Cthulhu) and have been in a few sessions of a game they were involved with (Ashen Stars).

I've also, as a direct result of the podcast, started buying (mostly digital, but also some physical) games that they've been involved in. Namely: Ashen Stars, Gaen Reach, Trail of Cthulhu, The Dying Earth. I've also bought games from their company (Pelgrane Press) or that they've mentioned on the podcast: Feng Shui 2, Dracula Dossier (for Night's Black Agents), Paranoia and TimeWatch (I may have missed a few, but you get the idea!).

That's what an effective and engaging "social media" strategy will do for you. Wish more companies would be better at it, rather than spamming me with promoted tweets or buying Twitter "trending" subjects.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pure Vacuum

Today's Pluto Picture of the Day is a computer simulation of how the dust in our solar system might be distributed. It gets in your eyes, you know.

Endless Mirrors

The reflections of the Big Bang echo even to this day.

Hands Across the Frequency

Do you see a hand stretching across the sky in this image from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory?

Deep Freeze

Way up there in the sky the James Webb Space Telescope will be exposed to temperatures that make this fine morning feel balmy by comparison. In this image the Integrated Science Instrument Module finishes 116 days of testing under temperatures of 40 degrees Kelvin. Brrrr!!!


The October 2014 partial solar eclipse is captured by the Hinode vehicle in X-rays. Hinode is a orbiting solar observatory in it's eight year of operation.

Engineering as Art

The YF-12 undergoes testing at the equivalent of Mach-3 and produces (in this image) some funky looking art.


The venerable (and still functioning!!!) Hubble Space Telescope brings us detail of one of our satellite galaxies, specifically the region known as the Tarantula Nebula.

Solar Flare

A nice view of our home star in a different light. Extreme ultraviolet frequencies reveals a lot of nice detail as well as one heck of a flare.

Bearing on a Spiral

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day brings us Messier 81 in Ursa Major. Just down the block from us (11.8 million light years down the block).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

KBO Finders

Today's Pluto Picture of the Day shows members of the KBO search team which found an object to angle the New Horizons towards once Pluto has been encountered. The mission will (knock on wood) continue!

Frog Spawn

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows stars spawning in IC 410, The Tadpole Nebula, in the constellation of Auriga.

Kick It Up a Notch

The dynamic home star! It's been a good year for aurora for those in the northern latitudes.