Voyager 1: Is It Out of the Solar System?

12 Nov Voyager Space Probe

About two months ago, we found out that Voyager 1 crossed the edge of the Heliosphere and into the Interstellar Medium.  But what does that mean… exactly?  Is it out of the Solar System?

Globular Clusters (Sagittarius Part 1)

12 Sep Messier 22

This is my favorite constellation!  Go outside.  Go look.  Do it.  Now.

Here is a star map for you.

The Titius-Bode Law

16 Jul TB Law

One of my favorite turned-out-to-be-not-true moments of all astronomical history: the Titius-Bode Law.

Makes me want to go join the Celestial Police.

Also, because you can almost not see it, my shirt says ‘Pluto/1930-2006/Revolve in Peace’.  😀

My Favorite Book of All Time

3 Jul

Seriously, this is my favorite book of all time.  I know, it’s old.  But it’s held up really well.

 

 

Now you must find the time to read it.  You MUST!

Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (Hargreaves translation)

Common Questions No. 1

18 Jun Alien World

So I was thinking of doing an ‘Ask The Nerd’ type of channel, just for all those fairly straightforward questions.  Hope you enjoy!

 

 

If you have any questions, as always, feel free to ask.  If the answer’s straightforward, it’ll wind up in one of these.  😀

Philolaus and Antichthon

4 Jun Cosmogony

So I thought maybe I’d talk about my favorite old school Greek cosmogony today.  It’s pretty badass, but I don’t want to give anything away… watch the video!

Also, yes, I know that Galileo didn’t drop balls off the leaning Tower of Pisa.  It’s just a good depiction.  Hope you like it! Let me know what you think! And as always, if you have a suggestion for a video, please let me know.

See you next Tuesday!  🙂

Remember That One Time…

1 Jun Rosetta Space Probe

When the Minor Planet Center cataloged the Rosetta Space Probe as an asteroid?

Yeah.  Me too.  It was awesome.

What with all the attention surrounding asteroid 1998 QE2 and its newly discovered moon, I thought I’d take some time to talk about my favorite asteroid of all time, 2007 VN84.

Which turned out to be the Rosetta Space Probe.

The Rosetta Space Probe

‘It appears to be mostly metallic… oddly shaped…’

I love the fact that this happened partly because it strikes me as being funny, and partly because I love it when things don’t turn out the way they’re expected to.  For people that don’t remember, it happened in 2007, and there was some hubbub over it.  Richard Kowalski discovered the asteroid, which appeared extremely close and looked to be about 20 meters across and would come within 1.89 Earth radii of our geocenter (or within 5,700 km/3,500 miles).  Now that is close (you’ll notice everyone has been talking about how close 1998 QE2 is at 3.5 million miles).

It should be noted that Kowalski is actually a pretty badass astronomer.  He was the first to predict an asteroid hitting Earth (2008 TC3) which then did enter Earth’s atmosphere (it’s hard to actually find and predict asteroids that collide with us because they’re usually pretty darn small) and exploded over the Nubian Desert.  He’s got his own asteroid named after him (7392 Kowalski) but the reason he’s really cool is he’s for professional and amateur astronomers working together and building a community (and I love that stuff).  He founded the Minor Planet Mailing List, which is available to everyone, so really, my point is, yes, the Rosetta Space Probe is not an asteroid, but it doesn’t really diminish the discoverer’s awesomeness.

The astronomer who recognized that 2007 VN84 was not, in fact, an asteroid, was Denis Denisenko (of supernovae 2011IP and 2011HZ fame) and who, presumably, has X-men superpowers when it comes to remembering probe trajectories.

With the Minor Planet Center observations crossing the 100 million mark this last March, and identifying over 600,000 orbits, and with thousands of artificial satellites going around Earth, and a goodly number of space probes (like Rosetta) that have been sent out, I’m actually shocked that the 2007 incident doesn’t happen more often.

I know that none of the above is new info on spacey stuff (which is why it’s not taking up my usual Tuesday slot you’ll notice) but just in case you were wondering what my all time favorite minor planet (a.k.a ‘asteroid’) is, it’s the Rosetta Space Probe.

So… Let’s Say There’s an Alternate Universe…

28 May Two Samantha Carters

Ok, I have a hypothetical question this morning: Let’s say there are alternate universes (some people do, in fact, maintain that there are) meaning in this context that basically anything that can happen, would happen.

If anything that can happen does happen in another universe, that means that somewhere out there is the perfect you.  The you you’ve always wanted to be.  The you that made all the right choices, had the right amount of willpower, hard work, support, and luck to turn out to basically be this universe’s fantasy version of you.

Ok now, here’s the question: Are you jealous of yourself, or are you happy that somewhere out there you’ve really made it?  Also, what does you fantasy self look like?

I don’t know how I’d feel knowing there’s a Loren Riley out there that has perfect skin, was never awkward, graduated top of her class in astrophysics, and is currently producing the next Star Trek franchise.  I really just don’t know.

To get an idea on what a normal feeling would be, I asked some coworkers what they thought, and some interesting trends emerged: most people I asked didn’t care about themselves in an alternate universe, and most contended it doesn’t matter since we can never know anyway.  But when asked how they would feel about a highly successful clone (i.e. the prefect you in this universe) the response was overwhelmingly negative.  One of my coworkers even unhesitatingly declared he would find a way to kill himself if he found out someone had made a superhim in clone form.

So here’s the same question (how would you feel about a superior you in an alternate universe?) with some parameters:

  1. If we knew for certain that alternate universes exist, and therefore a highly successful version of you is likely to exist? (We can’t prove they exist and you have no contact with your alternate self, but you can assume a superior you exists.)
  2. If you knew without any doubt that this person absolutely existed in an alternate universe?
  3. If you could actually travel to the alternate universe and meet the highly successful version of yourself?

I’m curious to know what people think.  It’s a question that’s been bugging me lately.

*Note: If you happen to be the best possible version of yourself in this universe, please disregard this post.

A Brief Overview of Recent Discoveries (1.5)

21 May Jupiterian moons with known orbits

And now for Part 2 of the first episode of the Nerd Next Door (because I made it waaaaaay too long…)

You can find links to all the cool stuff I used if you click the actual link and go to YouTube.  Other than that, I’ll see you next Tuesday!  🙂

A Brief Overview of Recent Discoveries (1.0)

14 May Many Galaxies

This is the first ever episode of Nerd Next Door edited and put out there!  (It is however the second to be filmed so… it’s kind of like that episode of TNG where you see Lt. Yar waving goodbye even though she doesn’t die until the next episode aired, which was actually filmed before Skin of Evil….)

It’s like that.

Hope you like it!