Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Saturn and Beyond the Infinite

I know I've used that title (and the similar one for Jupiter) more than once (inspired, of course, by 2001: A Space Odyssey), but just take a look at this image. Saturn (and Jupiter) are amazing little "solar systems" in their own right!

Tribute to Banks

During the great hiatus of (the former blog) this blog several favorite authors passed prematurely, including Iain (M.) Banks. Here's a great tribute (and a wonderful piece of art) that is now appearing in The Rationalists.


I mentioned one of my recent reads on the latest episode of the SF Signal Podcast (I'll post a separate link later), part of the Garrett, P.I. series by Glen Cook. While you can read these in any order (they work very well as standalone novels), some (and I am one of those!) like to read books in "their proper order". So, to date, here is the series:

Sweet Silver Blues (01) (P/E)
Bitter Gold Hearts (02) (P/E)
Cold Copper Tears (03) (P/E)
Introducing Garrett P.I. (OMNIBUS 01: Sweet Silver Blues, Bitter Gold Hearts, Cold Copper Tears) (P only)
Old Tin Sorrows (04) (P only)
Dread Brass Shadows (05) (P/E)
Red Iron Nights (06) (P only)
Garrett Takes the Case (OMNIBUS 02: Old Tin Sorrows, Dread Brass Shadows, Red Iron Nights) (P only)
Deadly Quicksilver Lies (07) (only P in solo publication, E in omnibus)
Petty Pewter Gods (08) (P/E)
Faded Steel Heat (09) (P/E)
Garrett For Hire (OMNIBUS 03: Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Petty Pewter Gods, Faded Steel Heat) (P/E)
Angry Lead Skies (10) (P/E)
Whispering Nickel Idols (11) (P/E)
Cruel Zinc Melodies (12) (P/E)
Gilded Latten Bones (13) (P/E)
Wicked Bronze Ambition (14) (P/E)

"P" means paper edition, "E" is an eBook. There are some gaps between the formats, and thus, availability. The omnibus editions are pretty good deals in terms of price vs. words.

Graphical View

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is 130 years of temperature data combined in a short video. Smoking!


Courtesy of a link provided by online friend Damien Walter, Jonathan Lethem on the Squandered Promise of Science Fiction. Do those who dabble in the genres of mystery or romance beat their chests as much over this sort of thing?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Combined Image

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a set of images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory combined for a fantastic look at this strange nebula.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Better Late Than Never

It's not quite the end of July, which means there's still time to put this up as "timely"! Ansible! Ansible!
AS OTHERS SEE US. _Cli-Fi Dept._ Some novels about climate change are of course more equal than others: 'Many of the 70-odd books written up to the late 1990s were science fiction, says Mr Trexler _[who has made a list]_, and tended to treat climate change as one of several problems rather than the main one. / The pattern changed as growing numbers of notable writers began tackling the topic, from Margaret Atwood (_Oryx and Crake_) or Michael Crichton (_State of Fear_), Jeanette Winterson (_The Stone Gods_), Ian McEwan (_Solar_) and Barbara Kingsolver (_Flight Behaviour_).' (_Financial Times_, 1 June) [MMW] Poor J.G. Ballard was presumably too early an adopter to be notable for _The Drowned World_. Executive summary: 'Don't call it "science fiction". Cli-fi is literary fiction.' (_Christian Science Monitor_ headline, 26 April) [BT]
While you're here, may I point you to the wonderful service that Mr. Langford has done by getting these books into print? BUY THEM!


How the British practiced the collection of art.

Ring of Stars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Hoag's Object. One galaxy or two? Neat to see other galaxies beyond the "gap".

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Almost Two Full Months of APOD

O.K., here we go! Almost two full months of celestial wonders, the beauty of our planet, rocketry and more!

06/10/13: The wonders of the Large Magellanic Clouds in UV light (mouseover).

06/11/13: Star-forming regions of NGC 2582.

06/12/13: The Whole Mercurian Catalog (video)!

06/13/13: Four planets at once.

06/14/13: Sharpless 115 and hot young stars.

06/15/13: Signs of an unknown comet.

06/16/13: Happy birthday to APOD!

06/17/13: Geological signs, sandworms or signs of martian sledding activities (where's Richard C. Hoagland when you need him?)?

06/18/13: Supercell!!!

06/19/13: Milky Way over Crater Lake with Airglow mouseover).

06/20/13: Hamburger Galaxy (NGC 3628), close-up of edge-on view.

06/21/13: Solstice!

06/22/13: Full Moon over Poseidon.

06/23/13: Red Hot Blues on Venus. Any Crazy Oil?

06/24/13: Porpoise Galaxy (NGC 2396/Arp 142).

06/25/13: listen, there's a hell of a universe next door, let's go

06/26/13: Meet the neighbor.

06/27/13: Noctilucent clouds over Moscow.

06/28/13: Super-Moon's super halo!

06/29/13: The anti-tail of Comet PanSTAARS.

06/30/13: Hyperion. Our strange Solar System.

07/01/13: Out of the cradle, endlessly circling (another view tomorrow).

07/02/13: There's a hole in my bucket (a different view from yesterday).

07/03/13: Peaceful stars and electrical arcs.

07/04/13: Starburst Galaxy and Superwind.

07/05/13: Globular Cluster NGC 6752.

07/06/13: Mega-Spiral (NGC 6384).

07/07/13: Still Life with Reflecting Dust.

07/08/13: Nothing new is ever found in the Solar System.

07/09/13: Gamma Cygni (blue supergiant, dusty and nebulous backdrop).

07/10/13: Hot spots.

07/11/13: Bull Dust.

07/12/13: Messier's Eleven (mouseover).

07/13/13: Solar tracks.

07/14/13: Pillars of Creation.

07/15/13: Sombrero (Messier 104).

07/16/13: ZONDS!

07/17/13: A sight to make a boater quiver in fear.

07/18/13: Eye See 342!

07/19/13: Saturn snapshot (reverse angle).

07/20/13: Comet Lemmon in the Deep Sky.

07/21/13: All the Seasons of Saturn.

07/22/13: The Earth-Moon system from Saturn.

07/23/13: Two sides of the coin: The Earth-Moon system from the orbit of Mercury and the orbit of Saturn.

07/24/13: A year in the life.

07/25/13: Trifid (one of my favorite parts of the sky!).

07/26/13: Elephant's Trunk.

07/27/13: Clouds (terrestrial and galactic) over the driest place on Earth.

The Space Review

O.K., here's how we play catch-up. There's no way I can do justice to the fine articles posted each week in The Space Review by doing some sort of overwhelming summary, so visit the site and explore! You won't be disappointed!

Images 04

The fourth installment in a quest to break through the backlog.

Baffin Island from IceBridge.

X-48 test flight.

Galactic dust.

Solar wings.

The Year of the Quiet Sun.


Saturn and Titan from Pioneer 11.

Napo River.

Alaskan mountains from IceBridge.

The city that never sleeps.

Expedition 35 launches.

Solar burps.

Guarding Expedition 35.

Expedition 35 rolls out.

Colorado plateau.

P-38 prepares for IceBridge.

Clouds over the Indian Ocean.

Light echoes from V838 Mon.

Expedition 34 arrives home.

Landforms on Mars.

Images 03

And more! Our third installment...

NASA is thinking about an asteroid capture mission. Hmmm...

Expedition 36 countdown! Expedition 36 launches!

Solar-electric propulsion test.

The Quiet Earth.

Balloon launch.

Tornado from orbit.

Test Rig.


Astro close-up.

Black-hole powered jets smash into a galaxy. Energy crisis? What energy crisis?

Test-bed vehicle on Greenland's ice.

Vapor trails of sounding rockets.

Orion test vehicle.

This ain't no disco.

3D view of "Mount Sharp".

The first battle of the coming technological singularity.

Planetary pulses.

Antares (cargo vehicle) test launch.

Wrapping up the IRIS.

Images 02

And now more from NASA's Image/Large Image archives. I'll probably do 10-15 of these at a go, to try and clear the backlog.

Alaska on a clear day.

Sally Ride.

A view from the Cupola on the ISS.


Moon and Sun.

Throat view.


Night launch from Wallops.

Tornado's path revealed in infrared.

When galaxies collide (happens more than you'd think, given all that empty space!).

Sunrise from space.

Rocket City, USA from space.

Images 01

And now an attempt to play "catch-up" with the Image and Large Image of the Day(s) from NASA.

Loading the Orion test bed for parachute tests.

Hubble eyes a spiral.

Invaders of Mars!!!

Gravity waves and sun glint.

Apollo 11 from Mission Control.

Galactic views from Hubble.

Say, "Cheese!"


On the road to Mount Sharp.

Dust plume off of Egypt.

Big Brother.

Remembering Pathfinder.

Apollo 8 Earthrise!

Belly launch.

Texas Night.

Prepping for launch.

Trying Orion on for size.

Super Moon over District of Columbia.

When galaxies collide.

Prepping IRIS.

More to come!