Wednesday, October 28, 2009

sixty symbols - kelvin

kelvin is a unit of a temperature scale that describes an absolute zero temperature!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

the fall

i found this image here with no information attached. all i keep thinking is holy shit!?!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

space day and moon watch

we're hosting a space day and moon watch event at the nottingham castle in honor of the international year of astronomy 2009.

i've never organized an event as large as this and its been an interesting exercise in administrative business dealings. i've been in complete control of planning everything: instigating, organizing, scheduling, justifying and seeking funding, allocating, etc... overall, it has been fun, but exhausting! i'm extremely grateful to all those around the community who have volunteered their time and resources to help organize!

since the event takes place on halloween, we're having a costume contest and i finally have mine together! i'll let you guess what it is when i take pictures at the event!!

maybe the best part of the event is that my mom is coming all the way from the US to enjoy the day and visit for a while! cant wait to see her and spend time together - i hope she wears a costume ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

saturn's newly discovered ring

in this installment of the new sixty symbols, we discuss saturn's new ring, my favorite image of saturn ever, and why saturn's moon, mimas, is my favorite moon in the solar system!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

thats a lot of planets!

using a 3.6-metre telescope in the chilean mountains, a team has discovered 32 new exoplanets! thats a lot of new planets orbiting around other stars to declare at one time, and it brings the total number of planets known to 403!

i imagine more and more planets will be announced in the relatively near future as the kelper telescope sends data back to scientists on earth to analyze!

meanwhile back at home.... you might notice that big bright "star" glaring in evening sky? thats the planet jupiter for us to enjoy, as this sketch by ryo tomo reminds us.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

salzburg, austria

salzburg is where the sound of music was filmed. i was surprised to realize that most austrians and germans only know of this film because people from all over the world (probably dominated by native english speakers), want to visit the city because of the movie! its a gorgeous place, and also the birthplace of mozart!

the fortress on the hill in the distance...

we finally headed up to the fortress...

in the marionette museum...

Friday, October 16, 2009


for the record (again): no, the world will not end on the december solstice of 2012. such 'cosmophobic' predictions are being spurred on by the release of the movie, 2012, this autumn.

of course there are many reasons to worry about the future of our planet, but there is absolutely nothing special or significant about december 21st, 2012, other than the north pole of earth with be at its greatest tilt away from the sun! but that happens every year... nothing new!

there is no planet x or nibiru.

the ending of the mayan calendar in 2012 somehow initiating an apocalypse is complete nonsense.

for much more reading about these topics... click here!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

215th american astronomical society meeting

if any amateur astronomers want access to possibly the biggest ever meeting of professional astronomers in the world, you can volunteer to help and gain entrance! the 215th meeting of the american astronomical society will take place in washington DC the 3-7th january, 2010!

volunteer for 16 hours to receive free meeting registration, volunteer t-shirts, access to the exhibit hall, all the sessions, and free lunch on your work days!

go here for more info!

Monday, October 12, 2009

storm trooper musical

singin' in the rain

veiled by the moon: a total solar eclipse

rare phenomenon
confusing the ancients
creating a continual chill on my skin.
instant addiction
sublime atmosphere
faint blue glow feels like an unknown distant planet
providing hope for every possibility.
just a few minutes of boundariless bliss
many times the speed of sound, the shadow travels
to meet my wondering soul
our wandering souls.
we line up on a patch of earth 100 miles wide
and wait to witness the momentary wonder
dreamy dark orb in the sky
hanging above the shrieks and fireworks from the ground.
nothing compares to being veiled by the moon.
naked. raw. pure. light...
during daytime darkness
a contradiction
an alignment so perfectly spectacular,
witnessed as a unique display of our special existence
without synthetic interference.
quicker than it approaches, it disappears.
but the experience remains...
forever, i imagine.

nobel peace prize 2009: barack obama

the smoke is clearing a bit since the whole world sighed a deep "what the fuck?" after hearing that standing US president, barack obama, won the nobel peace prize for 2009.

i think that, yes, he received the award a bit prematurely, considering he was only president for about 12 days when the nominations had to be submitted. but i think this is the first time the world (ok, the nobel committee) has been able to comment about obama as the US president. much of the world despised king bush the W and big dick cheney. international diplomats must be so pleased to have someone in the white house who recognizes the validity of other human beings and their nations that maybe this award symbolizes an acknowledgment of obama's efforts to bring the US back to a positive level of communication and collaboration with the rest of world.

i think the nobel peace prize and its $1 million reward might be a bit much for such a gesture, but i am pleased to hear obama say things like "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

in addition, the obamas hosted a star party at the white house last week!! how cool is that?!

anyway, here is geir lundestad, secretary of the norwegian nobel committee, describing why they gave the prize to obama. feel free to share your thoughts!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

zombies in the morning

while i was making my coffee this morning, i heard someone outside loudly yell "ACTION!" huh? i walked over to the window and saw about a dozen zombies wobbling up the little street towards my house! haha!

there was a large group of people filming a low-budget zombie movie just outside my window! i stood at my 3rd story window watching the action while drinking my coffee and eating breakfast. its nice to have zombies wave at you in the morning :)

i didnt think to take a picture until they were leaving, so this is all i got...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

that's PANTS!

several months after moving to england, i learned an alternative use for the word "pants." something that "is pants" is not good.

a couple weeks after i learned this new phrase, a funny thing happened in the astronomy department where i work. i was walking down the hall, and as i passed by a particular professor's office door, i happened to glance in just at the moment that he sat back, threw his hands up in the air, and started waving them angrily at his computer yelling "that's PANTS!!!!!"

it was hilarious!

who knows what i would have thought if i hadnt just recently learned the meaning!

Monday, October 5, 2009

carl sagan rocks out

thanks to all who informed me of this video. i love me some carl sagan, and this video shows his message in a way i've never seen before! ;)


i've recently started reading charlie brooker's column at the guardian and i've agreed with a lot of what i've read in his entertaining style! today, he focuses on all the *stuff* he has aqcuired: DVDs, books, etc... and decides "there's too much stuff. we live in a stuff-a-lanche. we need a cultural diet."

i couldnt agree more! go have a read!

big jump!

fun family i watched for a while in mittenwald, germany. september 2009.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

angela merkel

germany had nationwide elections on sunday and i heard that 70% of the voting population turned up at the polls! thats an amazingly high percentage of voters!

angela merkel remains germany's chancellor, defeating candidates from over 12 other parties in the election!

UPDATE: i should state that 70% is a *low* turnout for germany, even though it is high compared to many voting countries, including the US where last year's presidential election saw a 57% voter turnout. (thanks sabrina!)