A new groups of exoplanets announced today comprises no less than 32 new discoveries. Including these new results, data from HARPS have led to the discovery of more than 75 exoplanets in 30 different planetary systems.

In 1999, ESO launched a call for opportunities to build the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, better known as HARPS, a high resolution, extremely precise spectrograph for the ESO 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile.

Vitamin Store = Cheap Lab Gear?

One part of assembly is making sure all my circuits are properly shielded and not sending out interfering signals.  A decent magnetometer-- a meter to measure magnetic fields-- costs $200-$700 dollars.  While at the vitamin shop, I beheld a CellSensor, a device that measures and traces cell phone and power line RF (radio frequency) emission.  It has a range of milliWatts (for RF radiation) and milliGauss (for magnetic fields).  And it was discounted to $20.
This is not about a Mayan 2012 apocalypse.  This is about the 9th century Mayan apocalypse, as documented by NASA.  It's also about modern global warming.  So there's plenty of doom to go around.

Let's first cover the '2012 apocalypse', a fabrication based on pseudoscience.  Modern Mayans are annoyed at the 2012 rumors.  The misinterpretation of their ancient culture-- that somehow an apocalypse is predicted for 2012-- has finally reached its nadir.  Hollywood is going to make a movie about it.  Imagine your own history being reduced to a single 90-minute special effects extravaganza.
The 'heliosphere', the name given to the region of the sun's influence, may not have the comet-like shape predicted by existing models, say researchers.

As the solar wind flows from the sun, it carves out a bubble in the interstellar medium. Models of the boundary region between the heliosphere and interstellar medium have been based on the assumption that the relative flow of the interstellar medium and its collision with the solar wind dominate the interaction. This would create a foreshortened "nose" in the direction of the solar system's motion, and an elongated "tail" in the opposite direction. 
Okay, the world is not going to end in 2012.  The source of this info?  The Mayans.  The living Mayans.  You didn't think all that's left is stone tablets, did you?  In that AP news report, a Mayan Indian Elder named Apolinario Chile Pixtun, among others, gives the straight scoop.

One.  It's not the end of the world

Two, the supposed stone that dates an Apocalypse in 2012?  It's with some stones that cover events in 4772 as well.  So if there is a Mayan Apocalypse, it's, umm, a non-apocalyptic one.
National Geographic has produced a jaw-dropping graphic depicting the history of human space exploration since Sputnik in 1957. The original version ("original artwork is by Sean McNaughton on the National Geographic staff and Samuel Velasco of 5W Infographics") at the National Geographic website is pannable/clickable/etc-able.
I'm sitting at "Beyond the Decade: The Future of International Astronomy", a conference today at the National Academies.  The conference is small (53 people so far) but rich in material, providing a crunchy look at where astronomy is heading.
I now own half a satellite... and in a way, you do to.  The Scientific Blogging "Project Calliope" satellite order has been placed!  Thanks to Hank's SB contribution, we have the 'science' half covered.  The other half of the satellite is up to the music community, and I'll let you know as soon as that's signed, sealed and delivered.

Half is crucial.  WIth half, we are 'go' for construction.  With our first half payment, we get:
  1. the actual hardware
  2. all the detailed tech specs
  3. a slot on the launch schedule
Moon Crash

Moon Crash

Oct 07 2009 | 1 comment(s)

Want a chance to see the water on the moon in real life? Wake up early Friday morning (if you live in the Americas), and get out your telescope.

NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) is being crashed into the moon, on purpose, along with the now empty 2.2-ton rocket that launched it this past June. The rocket will crash first, around 7:31am EDT, into the crater Cabeus in the south polar region. It should produce a plume of debris over 6 miles high. That plume is what you might be able to see with your telescope.
Just why do we have a space station, anyway? That's a question of relevance, because it turns out we might not have one after 2015. The International Space Science Station (ISS) is a football-field sized structure able to support six people 220 miles above us. It is a symbol of international cooperation, a marvel of technology, a new site for tourism and, to some, a project to be terminated in 2015.

What we've gotten from it? Some intangibles, some useful stuff.

  • advancing our space capability

  • increasing our limits on how long people can live in orbit

  • keeping nuclear scientists from going rogue after the breakup of the Soviet Union

  • research that benefits Earth