Category Archives: Astronomy

Auld Lang Syne: May We Look Back at our Present Endeavors in Space with Pride

Artist Concept Voyager 1

“The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.” Image and caption credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

When the first humans venture beyond the Solar System, our present-day experiences with the Voyager and Pioneer craft will be remembered as watershed moments. Our space craft presently experience a space environment that would harm human tissue and would dampen the spirits of the hardiest souls. The specific case is how Coronal Mass Ejections of the  Sun are experienced by the these craft. In spite of the fact that the Voyager craft are entering Interstellar Space–the craft are experiencing the effects of the CMEs.

So raise a champagne glass, a beer mug, or your cup-of-joe to these space craft–for Auld Lang Syne.

–Or experience the video from JPL.

JPL | Videos | Play video: Voyager Experiences Three ‘Tsunami Waves’ in Interstellar Space.


Growing Crystals—brief post with link to NY Times

To the un-initiated, crystallization and re-crystallization of a ‘organic molecule’ ignites enchantment and frustration. Enchantment ignites the soul as the molecule ‘drops’ out of solution to re-form a stable state of matter. Frustration tempers the impulse to flee the lab bench while a reticent crystal produces oil after oil rather than the ‘sharp-display of symmetric plates.’ Thus, it bears to be said, crystal-growing needs to be a part of every scientist’s training.

While the growth of crystals produces wonder to the imagination of the student-scientist, watching crystal growth done by a professional induces a sense understanding. The understanding of why we wish to understand nature’s secrets, it is a fundamental desire—a love for the cosmos.


Shuttle Experiments Seek Clues to Building Blocks of Life






Wonders of the Solar System

This video provided (primarily) from JPL is great to watch. While in silence one can almost envision studying the ‘hexagonal’ pattern from the Cassini orbiter, itself.

Our opinions of how (and why) phenomena occur will obscure our natural tendencies to ‘wonder and question’ for the sake of self-learning–

Take care–

Mission to Mars Project

The project has garnished quite a few applicants. The co-founder estimates that its total cost will be 6 billion U.S. dollars.

The concept is interesting and is centered around  ‘reality tv’ being the  ultimate  source of funding.

The source of the video news is TIME–at its Word Press site.


Added after post– The initial cost is estimated to be 6 billion dollars–and not the total cost.

ESO Calendar 2014 Now Available | ESO

I happened to receive the calendar the day before Thanksgiving. The skies of the Southern hemisphere are majestic to behold. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are seen with such clarity that to wait for the calendar in the Mail was time well spent.

I suggest anyone who would like to learn more of the Southern Hemisphere, pick up a copy!

ESO Calendar 2014 Now Available | ESO.

Contemplating SETI in a few short words? (Book Review III—Frontiers of Astrobiology)

When the SETI@Home project commenced 15 years ago, I imagined humanity would find evidence of ET within 25 years. In fact, I believed that it would be a matter of decades before a handful of interesting signals would captivate the general public. The fact is, the SETI paradigm is almost 55 years old, and the Drake equation may be subject to revision. (My supposition of the Drake equation may be more rhetorical…) However, Enrico Fermi’s question of ‘where is everyone,’ is more relevant than it seemed to me.

Those are my thoughts of SETI as I approached chapter 14 of the book which I have been ruminating upon for a few posts. The title of the chapter is If You Want to Talk to ET, You must First Find ET and it is authored by Dr. Jill Tartar and Dr. Chris Impey.

The chapter is written in style which illuminates the reasons for performing the search—and I found it to written clearly and concisely. The gist of the work indicates that if we do find a signal of worth in SETI—it would be the harbinger of a ‘possible future.’

After finishing the chapter my feelings could summed like this:

It is our own future bound-up in one of two paths; if we survive our own technology that signal would be the epiphany of how we survived and why. (That of course is a path worth traveling.)

With Gratitude and Inspiration!

Because you have chosen to read my blog, I am humbled and thankful. I will continue to write and find much enlightenment from all of you!

I thought I would post the image to illustrate how inspired I am from my fellow bloggers.

Here is a description of the image from its companion site:
Galaxies of the Infrared Sky
This panoramic view of the entire sky reveals the distribution of galaxies beyond our Milky Way galaxy, which astronomers call extended sources, as observed by Two Micron All-Sky Survey. The image is constructed from a database of over 1.6 million galaxies listed in the survey’s Extended Source Catalog; more than half of the galaxies have never before been catalogued. The image is a representation of the relative brightnesses of these million-plus galaxies, all observed at a wavelength of 2.2 microns. The brightest and nearest galaxies are represented in blue, and the faintest, most distant ones are in red. This color scheme gives insights into the three dimensional large-scale structure of the nearby universe with the brightest, closest clusters and superclusters showing up as the blue and bluish-white features. The dark band in this image shows the area of the sky where our Milky Way galaxy blocks our view of distant objects, which, in this projection, lies predominantly along the edges of the image.

Image Credit:  2MASS/T. H. Jarrett, J. Carpenter, & R. Hurt

If we are all made of stardust, then you have infused much into my existence and intellect!
Image Credit:
2MASS/T. H. Jarrett, J. Carpenter, & R. Hurt

“Atlas Image [or Atlas Image mosaic] obtained as part of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation.”