Friday, October 26, 2012

Orionid meteor with persistent ion trail



See that little puff off to the left? It is a luminous plasma (I presume not illuminated by the Sun at this late hour.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Bull Space Program


Hubble deep field vs amateur best effort


This is a .gif, and is also huge.  Let me know if it ruins the performance of the page.

Detlef Hartmann made this image using an extremely large (17 inch) amateur telescope, and over 20 hours of combined exposure time.  And yet it clearly pales in comparison to the HDF that used a 94 inch telescope, in space, with nearly 6 days of exposure time. Still, the results are extremely impressive. The image taken by Hartmann is probably better than those taken just a few decades ago with the best telescopes in the world.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Columbia preps, rolls, and flies.


One benefit to working in a large science institution is that you find some crazy things in storage. I rescued these three gems from a storage closet, they must have been printed in the early '80s. There is a a touch of water damage, and plenty of dust, but overall it is a charming sequence of images showing the orbiter preparing for a 1981 launch (about a year before I was born.)

The poster on the left says "Nov. 25, 1980  11:30 am  Columbia Preps."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Felix Baumgartner record breaking skydive



"Felix Baumgartner lands safely on Earth after record-breaking skydive Austrian skydiver jumped from 24 miles above New Mexico, falling at speeds up to 725mph in bid to break sound barrier. Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumps from more than 24 miles above Earth, breaking the speed of sound before he releases his parachute. The 43-year-old broke the record for highest jump set by Joe Kittinger at 19.5 miles in 1960. Kittinger was in the control room in Roswell, New Mexico, together with Baumgartner's family."

Red-bellied Woodpecker


Although I am taking a risk posting this, as Google has been known to remove advertising on a whim, I wanted to share this really handsome Red-bellied Woodpecker that I found (sadly, dead) on the sidewalk in Manhattan. No apparent cause of death, so it could be disease, starvation, old age, or most probably, flying into the side of a building.  I should add that an image of a tiny dead mouse, and a post about dog head transplants had to be removed at the request of Google.  Let's see how this one fares...  Sometimes science blogs will post about dead animals, I think most readers can handle it.

Iceland from space


ESA -  Envisat sat

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Falcon 9 engine 1 explosion



"The Dragon spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station this morning and is performing nominally following the launch of the SpaceX CRS-1 official cargo resupply mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 8:35PM ET Sunday, October 7, 2012.

Approximately one minute and 19 seconds into last night's launch, the Falcon 9 rocket detected an anomaly on one first stage engine. Initial data suggests that one of the rocket's nine Merlin engines, Engine 1, lost pressure suddenly and an engine shutdown command was issued. We know the engine did not explode, because we continued to receive data from it. Panels designed to relieve pressure within the engine bay were ejected to protect the stage and other engines. Our review of flight data indicates that neither the rocket stage nor any of the other eight engines were negatively affected by this event.

As designed, the flight computer then recomputed a new ascent profile in real time to ensure Dragon's entry into orbit for subsequent rendezvous and berthing with the ISS. This was achieved, and there was no effect on Dragon or the cargo resupply mission."

Three cubesats launched from ISS

Missile launch fail



"C-300 missile was down after the launch. Source said, that it was extermination launches with missiles which is more than 10 years of combat duty."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ancient Aliens Debunked



The battle against pseudoscience, superstition, and religion continues apace. Here is a long and scholarly, yet nevertheless impactful and, honestly, devastating rebuttal of the latest claims about ancient aliens as seen on the History channel.

**Spoiler**