Sunday, March 31, 2013

All Alone in the Night

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a video compilation of footage taken from the ISS. Stunning stuff. Maybe more folks should see things like this.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

PanSTARRS by the Tail

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a long-term exposure of Comet PanSTARRS, still visible (other than for me!) in the western sky. "Mouseover" the image or take a look here to see how the tail (composed of dust grains of various sizes) is structured.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The City of Lights

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of the City of Lights, Paris. And a rainbow. There's something different about that rainbow...

Monday, March 25, 2013

Snapshot into the Light

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is the recently-generated map of hot and cold patterns in the cosmic microwave background. The data was collected by the ESA's Planck satellite and shows that the universe is slightly older than we previously estimated (13.81 billion years).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Paper Obsession

I love Moleskine notebooks (although you'll find plenty to profess hate as well). (I also love Field Notebooks and a few other brands; so, equal time). There are plenty who say you stay more organized and improve your memory if you write stuff down. Some, like A.E. van Vogt, keep (kept, in his case) a notebook near the bed to write down any dreams they have (for story fodder).

I wonder, however, how far this approach will go. Will Moleskine roll out a chain across the country and have them implode? Or is this a store effort designed more for the publicity than anything else?

Complex Interplay

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day combines data from the Herschel Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope to give a highly detailed look at the Large Magellanic Cloud, one of our galaxy's satellites.

The Blades of Europa

Is Europa covered with "ice blades" of up to 10 meters long? A recent paper says so, and if true, this could mean landing a probe on that moon (to search for life) could be problematic. What innovative means will be developed to get around the "blades"?

What Made Universe?

White dwarfs and astroengineering. What mad(e) universe.


What a Soyuz capsule looks like after re-entry. Ouch. Hot. Ouch.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Castle and PanSTARRS

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet PanSTARRS (still not viewable here, thanks clouds!) over Castle Hohenzollern in Germany.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 2736, part of the Vela supernova remnant. This composite shows beautifully the ripples of the expanding interstellar shock wave. The nova is popularly known as The Pencil Nebula.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Different Moon

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a full hemisphere of our Moon, as viewed by the data collected by the twin GRAIL orbiters, Ebb and Flow.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Continued Cold and Cloudy

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot of Comet PanSTARRS in the sunset sky. No, I did not take the picture. No, I haven't seen the comet. Yes, the forecast is for more "wintry mix". Sigh.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Echoes of Light

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows V838 Mon, in the constellation of Monoceros. In January 2003, V838 Mon became the brightest star in our galaxy. The light echo of that flash is captured here by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vermin from the Skies

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet PanSTARRS and...what's that? The Black Cloud? An Stapledonian Interstellar Entity? No, a Coronal Mass Ejection from our Sun, en route to our small rock. Expect green skies for Saint Paddy's Day, marching down from the poles if it hits (last estimate I saw was 70% chance).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Elusive Comet

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of Comet PanSTARRS peaking through a cloudy sky. My skies have been considerably more than cloudy so far, so no view here!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spin Dizzy

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day looks at how fast, hypothetically speaking, one could spin a black hole. (Hint: very fast.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

To the Moon

Over at Slate, the new(ish) home for Phil Plait ("The Bad Astronomer") some nice shots of a recent Hubble Space Telescope imaging session of our nearest neighbor.

Cognitive Dissonance

Yes, you get snow in beautiful sunny Hawaii, as today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows. You also get beautiful views of the Milky Way. "Mouseover" the image to get some constellation guides.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My Misbegotten Yut

A good article about the man who brought us the game Diplomacy. I did not play much Diplomacy, but I sure played a lot of the descendants.

Heading North!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is Comet PanSTARRS (C/2011 L4) in the twilight southern skies. God willing and the creek don't rise, we poor northern hemisphere types will spot this soon!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lens Flare

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a wonderful example of gravitational lensing: using the gravity of an object, such as a galaxy, to see other objects well beyond the reach of our current telescopes. Abell 68 (1.2 billion light years away) brings even further objects into view. "Mouseover" the image for some labels to help you identify the objects.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Bear Necessities

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day might be one of the odder ones that they've done. A super-sized tardigrade, or (as you may know it) water bear. One of the stranger co-inhabitants of our little blue sphere.

Of Carpenters and Kings

A classic. Just don't spread the butter on too thick.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Two Comets

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful southern sky view of two visitors to our neck of the woods. Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) and Comet PANSTARRS (C/2011 L4) are now coming into full view in southern skies. Both will move slowly into the northern hemisphere, knock on wood. "Mouseover" the picture for additional information.

Europa, Europa

Have we found a place to land on Europa and see what lies in the briney deeps below?