Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today in space history.

Engineer astronaut Chuck Jones was killed when AAL 11 was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001. Jones never got to fly in space; his mission STS-71B was cancelled after the Challenger disaster. He left space service the following year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Holy crap!

I couldn't even get my Sea Monkeys to live in a 76 degree, pH-balanced, sunlit aquarium. With a castle![Above: A "water bear." Ain't they cute? If I'd have had a choice back when I was a kid, I would have had pet water bears instead of pet sea monkeys. Oh, snap. I think I just came up with a business model.]

Now this is scientific advance, y'all.

[Below: An actual, unretouched family photo of the Davisons, one of the many Sea Monkey families I grew and cared for. Or not.]

Premature celebration.

The LHC fired up today, and while many people are jumping around celebrating the fact that they haven't been sucked into a giant black hole, I'd just like to point out that the CERN scientists haven't actually collided any particles yet.


Google celebrated the on switch being flipped by making this picture, in which Google is, in fact, sucked into a black hole. Now that would be a tragedy. Yahoo Search? Not in this lifetime.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Unexpected meteor shower in the East.

From comes this info:

FIREBALL OUTBURST: Yes, it pays to watch the sky. This morning, Sept. 9th, with no warning whatsoever, a flurry of bright fireballs appeared over eastern parts of the United States. "Our SENTINEL all-sky camera picked up 25 bright meteors in a shower that began at 0620 UT and lasted approximately 4 hours," reports NASA astronomer Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This video "frame-stack" shows the outburst at a glance:

"Most appear to have a radiant near Perseus (3.3h, +43o), leading us to hypothesize an outburst of the September Perseids," says Cooke. Also known as the delta-Aurigids, the September Perseids come from an unknown comet and have been caught bursting only four times in the last century: 1936, 1986, 1994 and now 2008. Most of the meteors recorded by the NASA camera were magnitude -2 or brighter, i.e., as bright as Jupiter or Venus.
"We encourage people to keep an eye on the sky tonight," says Cooke. "The show is probably over, but we don't know enough about these mysterious meteors to say for sure." Stay tuned for updates.