Northern Lights (VIDEO)

Posted by on January 26th, 2012
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Very Large Telescope

Posted by on May 30th, 2011

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Some gorgeous video via io9.com, eight minutes of time-lapse sequence taken inside and outside of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.


Solar plasma ‘tentacle’

Posted by on March 25th, 2011

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A NASA spacecraft watching the sun has caught a dazzling view of a solar eruption that launched a vast tendril of magnetic plasma into space.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the sun tentacle, which scientists call a solar prominence, on March 19 as it erupted into space with a rounded, twisting motion.

From Space.com, click through for a video of the tentacle flare.

via Alan Baxter


Best Space Pictures of 2010

Posted by on November 30th, 2010

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An airplane is silhouetted against the first solar eclipse of the decade, seen over Bangkok, Thailand, in January. The annular eclipse blotted out 57 to 80 percent of the sun over Thailand, depending on the province, Sakshin Bunthawin of Songkla University told the Phuket Gazette

Photo and words via NationalGeographic.


Aurora Australis as seen from the ISS

Posted by on July 3rd, 2010


Full details here, high rez here.


Brilliant Noise

Posted by on June 3rd, 2010

To create Brilliant Noise, Semiconductor (aka Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt), went through hundreds of thousands of computer files to select some of the sun’s most spectacular and unseen moments and compose a video animation on the oscillations of the star. Taken by orbiting satellites, the images reveal the energetic particles and solar wind as a rain of white noise.

Through a process of audio data processing, Semiconductor used images to control the fluctuations of sound. The sound varies, crackles, buzzes and falters according to the brightness of the image, highlighting the hidden forces at play upon the solar surface.

Words and video from we-make-money-not-art.com.


The Silent Tombs of Dead Cosmonauts and Open Source Science

Posted by on April 29th, 2009

Warren Ellis linked to this article a few days ago, and while I realize that means half of the known world has now read it, I had to repost it over here due to the extreme relevance.  While yes, it’s a story of the strange places the space race played out in, it’s also the story of how a few hobbiests turned a garage into a hub of international activity and secret intelligence with just their passions and the tech they could find and repourpose.

Suddenly, an angry voice rang out; the man who lived on the floor below leant out of the window and screamed: “Will you stop that racket, I’m trying to sleep!”

One of the young men shouted back “Sorry sir; the Soviets have launched a satellite and we’re trying to intercept it!”

The brothers finished setting up, grabbed their head-sets, twiddled the knobs on their portable receivers, hit the record button and listened…

“Come in… come in… come in… Listen! Come in! Talk to me! I am hot! I am hot! Come in! What? Forty-five? What? Fifty? Yes. Yes, yes, breathing. Oxygen, oxygen… I am hot. This… isn’t this dangerous?”
The brothers looked nervously at one another. They only fully understood the Russian later when their sister translated for them, but the desperation in the woman’s voice was clear.

“Transmission begins now. Forty-one. Yes, I feel hot. I feel hot, it’s all… it’s all hot. I can see a flame! I can see a flame! I can see a flame! Thirty-two… thirty-two. Am I going to crash? Yes, yes I feel hot… I am listening, I feel hot, I will re-enter. I’m hot!”

The signal went dead.

Today, there are do it yourself genetics clubs, you can mail out to have your genome sequenced, open source engeneering labs and all sorts of places that people can come together and test new frontiers outside of an institutional heirachy.  The street still finds its own uses for things, and while the space race has stagnated (a topic of black rage for myself) , there are still many envelopes to push, many mysteries to probe, and many wonders to be found with whatever tools we can scrounge to find them.

Sorry, if I sound like an evangelical Grinder, today, but I find this article to be really inspiring.

[Via Warren Ellis and Fortean Times]


Sound Advice

Posted by on April 9th, 2009


NASA Wants You To Tell Them Where to Point the Hubble Space Telescope

Posted by on February 1st, 2009

From Gizmodo:

We’re no stranger to the Hubble telescope here at Gizmodo, but our relationship up until this point has been a passive one. Today, however, NASA is asking the public were to point it.

There are six targets in all, and NASA is currently conducting a poll to figure out which one to survey using the venerable (and at times glitch-ridden) space telescope.

Voting concludes March 1, so you have some time to deliberate and research your choice. “Spiral Galaxy: NGC 5172″ currently leads, followed by the plucky “Interacting Galaxies: Arp 274″ in second, and the moxie-filled “Star-Forming Region: NGC 6634″ is in third.

A vote to tell them where to point the Hubble? Excellent. I’d rather vote for this (and my choice was the Interacting Galaxies: Arp 274) than the next POD-like singer on TV.