Sunday, June 9, 2013

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Life is Strange When You're Flying in Stereo

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day will have you opening dusty drawers and boxes looking for your blue/green and red anaglyphic glasses for a view of Messier and Messier A on our Moon.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sidewise in Size

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video showing us how big is big. How big are the planets in the Solar System? How big is the Sun vs. other stars?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ring! Ring!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is courtesy of the Hubble Heritage project, a nice shot of Messier 57 in Lyra (coming nicely into view for northern hemisphere viewers).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ansible! Ansible!

And he's back! The latest! The greatest! Ladies and gentleman...Mr. David Langford! Cover gallery! Wow!
Neil Gaiman's Doctor Who episode 'A Nightmare in Silver' (11 May) includes a dialogue homage to Ursula Le Guin, or perhaps Orson Scott Card.... About nine minutes in, a character is heard to say: 'It can't be broken – it's a solid state ansible-class communicator!' [NG]
Jack Vance (1916-2013), US author who was deservedly one of the revered Great Old Ones of sf, died on 26 May at the ripe age of 96. His long career began with 'The World-Thinker' (Thrilling Wonder Stories 1945); The Dying Earth (1950) presented a haunting and hugely influential far-future milieu where the distinction between science and magic is long forgotten; Big Planet (1952) is a paradigm of what the SF Encyclopedia calls Planetary Romance; fascination with anthropological and sociological aspects of sf gave a special illumination to space-operatic revenge drama in the 1964-1981 Demon Princes quintet, and to coming-of-age rebellion in The Blue World (1966), Emphyrio (1969) and The Anome (1973). Vance's ironic prose and lovingly colourful choice of words remained highly effective in such later, longer series as the Lyonesse (fantasy) and Cadwal (sf) trilogies that appeared from 1983 to 1992; Night Lamp (1996) is a late sf work of considerable power. Shorter fiction won him two Hugos and a Nebula; a third Hugo went to his 2009 autobiography This is Me, Jack Vance! For life achievement Vance received the World Fantasy Award in 1984, the SFWA Grand Master Award in 1997, and SF Hall of Fame induction in 2001. Few sf authors have had a British Library volume devoted to them: Jack Vance: Critical Appreciations and a Bibliography ed. A.E.Cunningham (to which I was proud to contribute). Jack Vance had a good long run, but we still wish it had been longer.

Down These Dark Timestreams

For your amusement: the cracks in the canon of Dr. Who.


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a different sort of view of a very familiar place: Messier 42, the Great Nebula of Orion. A different perspective is given by using the light emitted from hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur, resulting in a fantastic "mess" of swirled gas.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wheels on Mars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows MSL Curiosity on Mars. A different view, from underneath, portrait of wheels and "Mount Sharp".

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Two Trails

In today's Astronomy Picture of the Day the Great Sky River seems to intersect (over the hills and far away) the ground path we are on.