Tag Archives: History

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)

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.

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!