The July earthquake in LA caused chaos in the shampoo & conditioner aisles...
Sitting at my desk at 7:42pm (Friday), doing some research on the web (read: procrastinating), I felt something odd. It was as if somebody walked behind my chair, shunting me forward slightly. I turned, and of course no one was there. Slightly confused, I heard my wife shout from the living room, “Did you feel that?” Then I knew I wasn’t dreaming, there had been an earthquake.
That wasn’t my first experience of a quake, back in July 2008, Woodland Hills felt a seismic wave from the magnitude 5.4 earthquake epicentre near Downtown LA. That’s the only way I can describe it, a rolling wave. We were outside at the time, and I was amazed to see the water in the pool slosh over the sides. Now that was my first quake, and I found it pretty exhilarating (as I ran inside to get my video camera to take an eyewitness account of any other tremors, but there were no more to follow).
Today’s was a short and pretty wimpy magnitude 3.4, just a tiny burst of energy. However, interested to find out more, I turned to one of the best breaking news resources out there, Twitter… Continue reading →
My birthday, right smack bang in the middle of solar maximum (Space Weather)
I just came across this rather nifty little tool via fellow Twitterer TaviGreiner, and I really like it. It’s yet another wish-I’d-thought-of-that moments. You input your date of birth, and a sunspot number chart appears, displaying the solar activity on your birthday… Continue reading →
It’s another one of those “I wish I’d thought of that” moments. Well, at least it would have been if I knew Morse code. And if I was an astrophotographer. I have a camera, and some patience, and have worked out how to capture the Moon with my ancient SLR, so perhaps there’s some hope yet? Nah, I’ll give up on this one.
Jimmy Westlake from Colorado took this shot of star trails, with the brightest star being Sirius. Usually, star trails are continuous arcs of light after keeping the shutter of the camera open for minutes-hours at a time. You’ll notice that this picture is different, the star trails are broken. It turns out that Westlake wanted to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009 in his own way:
“This is actually a series of 28 separate exposures on one piece of film. The ‘dots’ are 30-second exposures; the ‘dashes’ are 3-minute exposures. The ‘shutter’ creating the gaps was my shivering, gloved hand held over the lens in the 0ºF Colorado air. The entire message required just under two hours to record. Every few minutes, I had to turn on a blow dryer to keep the frost from forming on the lens–and me!“
I’ll let you try to decipher the code if you can read Morse code, otherwise read on for the answer… Continue reading →
It’s been a big week this week. It looks like a replacement for Michael Griffin has been decided, Barack Obama is now President of the United States, NASA has shown all its cards by hinting (shouting) that life on Mars might be generating all that methane* and we could be living in one giant holodeck. Just another week in the Universe I guess…
As there was no Carnival of Space this week, I’ll probably grab a few interesting blog posts from my fellow space bloggers for good measure to throw into the mix for this week’s Astroengine Live! Wedneday at 4pm EST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, 7pm EST and midnight GMT! If you’ve found any articles of interest, please feel free to drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have any articles or stories you want to contribute? Have an opinion on anything in the world of space? Email me on email@example.com and I’ll be sure to give it a mention. Eventually, I hope to have telephone call-ins, but for now, email will do.
*Actually, the methane thing might just be geological activity, but if this week’s headlines are anything to go by, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s a whole alien civilization on the Red Planet! Which there probably isn’t by the way…
Of course, he wasn’t the same Higgs boson physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) were looking for, he was a Higgs boson plushie from Julie Peason’s Particle Zoo.
Since that day, Higgsy (as I affectionately call him) has been sitting on my desk, watching me write, whilst holding down a stack of papers when I have my office window open.
Yesterday, I received some more good news via email from my friend Julie, the Particle Zookeeper. The particle physicist whom the Higgs boson is named after has also discovered his very own Higgs boson… at his home in Scotland! Continue reading →
Luke and Obi-Wan look at a 3D hologram of Leia projected by R2D2 (Star Wars)
Could our cosmos be a projection from the edge of the observable Universe?
Sounds like a silly question, but scientists are seriously taking on this idea. As it happens, a gravitational wave detector in Germany is turning up null results on the gravitational wave detection front (no surprises there), but it may have discovered something even more fundamental than a ripple in space-time. The spurious noise being detected at the GEO600 experiment has foxed physicists for some time. However, a particle physicist from the accelerator facility Fermilab has stepped in with his suspicion that the GEO600 “noise” may not be just annoying static, it might be the quantum structure of space-time itself… Continue reading →
When my copy of the “Naming Pluto” DVD arrived in the post, I was very excited. However, this wasn’t the original plan.
Only a few days earlier, the short film was being aired down the road at the Los Angeles Femme Festival in Beverly Hills and the film’s writer, producer and director Ginita Jimenez had invited me along. Alas, I couldn’t be there (really frustrating as you know how much I love premiers!), so Ginita kindly posted a copy to me.
I had little idea about the history of the naming of Pluto (and I only had a general knowledge about how and when it was discovered), so I was looking forward to being educated as well as entertained.
Fortunately, I had the night to myself to watch Naming Pluto and take notes for a future review of the short film (just posted on the Universe Today). So I dimmed the lights and started the DVD. For the next 13 minutes, I didn’t write a word… Continue reading →