Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Vote for Me in the 3 Quarks Daily Science Blogging Poll!

June 2, 2010

So, remember a while back when I wrote that article about MSL: Mars Action Hero? Well, I didn’t end up winning the ScientificBlogging contest, but someone must have liked it because I just found out that it has been nominated for the 3 Quarks Daily Science Blogging Prize! First place is $1000, and is chosen by Richard Dawkins after the finalists have been chosen through voting:

As usual, this is the way it will work: the nominating period is now open, and will end at 11:59 pm EDT on May 31, 2010. There will then be a round of voting by our readers which will narrow down the entries to the top twenty semi-finalists. After this, we will take these top twenty voted-for nominees, and the four main editors of 3 Quarks Daily (Abbas Raza, Robin Varghese, Morgan Meis, and Azra Raza) will select six finalists from these, plus they may also add up to three wildcard entries of their own choosing. The three winners will be chosen from these by Richard.

Needless to say, it’s a nice surprise to even be nominated, and it would be awesome to win! So please head over to 3 Quarks Daily and vote for me! The list of choices is long, so the easiest thing to do is probably to just search for the post title “MSL: Mars Action Hero“. While you’re at it, check out the other posts, but make sure you remember to vote for mine!

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Solar System Tour

May 27, 2010

The other day, I was reminiscing about things I had done as an undergrad at the University of Michigan and I remembered a website I put together with two of the other officers of the Student Astronomical Society. The site is a tour of the solar system, and I thought to myself: “Hey, I should post that stuff to the blog!”

So, starting today, I will be posting pieces of that website to the blog, updated to be more current where relevant. (For example, Pluto is no longer called a planet!) It’s written for a younger audience than most of the stuff here, but should still be interesting, and it’ll be nice to make that information available online again.

Going AWOL

May 7, 2010

Loyal readers, I’m going to be scarce for the next few weeks. I just had a major work setback, courtesy of Microsoft word and my own failure to backup a key file. So, I’ll be frantically working to make up for all the work I just lost. In the meantime, it’s probably going to be quiet here unless there’s something I just can’t not post about.

I promised some photos of Carlsbad Caverns from Day 3 of the field trip, so here you go.While I was in the caves, I played around with a technique called high dynamic range, in which you take several shots of the same scene, but with different exposures, and then combine them later to bring out details in the dark and light areas. Here are some examples for you to enjoy. See you on the other side…

High Dynamic Range composite of Carlsbad Caverns.

Another HDR composite.

One more HDR. This is actually from our lunch stop on Day 2, but it ended up looking pretty cool, so I decided to share.

Mysterious dust from crashing planets

January 13, 2010

Astronomers have discovered dust due to colliding planets around a star 500 light years away, and they don’t know what it’s made of! To learn more, read my article over at Universe Today.

More AGU Posts Coming Soon

December 20, 2009

Apologies for the delay on posting about AGU. During the conference I had woefully little time to actually sit down and turn my chicken-scratch notes into something approaching coherence. I did a big chunk of that on my red-eye flight home and I’ll be posting them later today. So, stay tuned!

Realistic Space Battles and a Blog About Craters

December 12, 2009

Two quick links to hold you over until my AGU coverage starts on Monday. First up, Joe Shoer has a great post on his blog about what space battles might actually be like. This should be required reading for sci-fi authors, especially those with hard sci-fi leanings.

Second, Jim Richardson, a researcher here at the Cornell Astronomy Dept. has started a new blog about impact craters. One of his first posts had some very interesting pictures of nuclear explosion craters as analogs for impacts.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for AGU updates! I’ll also be tweeting from the meeting as @marschronicler.

Bomb the Moon!

October 9, 2009

With 23 minutes left before LCROSS impacts the south pole of the moon, I want to direct you to a post by Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society blog, showing photos of the crater formed back when Apollo 14 smashed its upper stage booster into the moon.

The crater at the center of this image was formed when the Apollo 14 upper stage intentionally smashed into the moon. (Credit: Planetary Society Blog/NASA/GSFC/ASU

The crater at the center of this image was formed when the Apollo 14 upper stage intentionally smashed into the moon. (Credit: Planetary Society Blog/NASA/GSFC/ASU

Yes, that’s right, we’ve been smashing things into the moon for quite a while now. So all the people freaking out about NASA “Bombing” the moon need to calm down and just enjoy the fireworks show.