Cosmic Ray: Discovery Space 17 Jun 2009, 06:04 UTC The concept of spacetime frustrates science fiction writers. They want to travel backward into time or travel faster that the speed of light. But reality is firmly anchored of Einstein’s “light cone” which gives us a reference frame for spacetime. Space and time are something we deal with every waking moment of the day. We need to navigate space and are stalked by time from cradle to grave. But there are inherent puzzles that stumped history’s top scientists. Would there be space if there weren’t matter around to define a volume, like the walls of a room, or periphery of the solar system? How could we ever know that space in the universe is expanding, without galaxies flowing along with the expansion and sending us signals from the remote past? Would there be time if we never saw anything changing? Greek philosopher Aristotle though that Earth was at the center of the universe and therefore anchored space. In the 1600s Issac Newton equated immovable space to the body of God. In the 1700s philosopher Immanuel Kant though that space and time were purely a construct of the mind. A century ago Albert Einstein decided space and time were joined at ...
Bad Astronomy 16 Jun 2009, 18:00 UTC A comment on another post here at BA led me to an interesting paper: "Public Perception of Astronomers: Revered, Reviled and Ridiculed" by Michael West of the European Southern Observatory (a PDF version is available as well). It’s an interesting essay on the changing way astronomers have been depicted and interpreted over time, starting in ancient Greece. He makes a point on why this is important: Although we live today in a time of remarkable astronomical discoveries, as many politicians and businesses know the public’s collective memory can be short, and hence astronomers cannot aff ord to be complacent about our public image.
Space Fellowship 16 Jun 2009, 15:42 UTC GREENBELT, Md., (NASA) — NASA is preparing for the launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-O (GOES-O) from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The GOES-O launch is targeted for June 26 during a launch window from 6:14 to 7:14 p.m. EDT. “Launching GOES-O will contribute the data needed for [...]
Professor Astronomy 16 Jun 2009, 15:00 UTC One of the great things about astronomy is how interested the public is in what we do. Whether it be pretty Hubble pictures, the Big Bang, black holes, or aliens, it seems that just about everyone always has lots of questions to ask. What many people don't realize is that you don't need a space telescope or a PhD to participate in astronomy research. "Citizen scientists" (often called amateur
Armagh Observatory 16 Jun 2009, 09:50 UTC SOLSTICE ASTROARCHAEOLOGY, Sunday 21 June, 14.00. To mark the summer solstice, the Irish Astronomical Association and the Ulster Archaeological Society have organised an event at the An Creagan Centre in Co Tyrone, including an escorted visit to the nearby famous Beaghmore Stone Circles and Alignments. This is part of the UAS's public "Archaeology Days" in June, and also falls neatly into the International Year of Astronomy events.
Skymania News 16 Jun 2009, 09:25 UTC NASA have had the last laugh on a top TV comic who "won" their space station naming contest. They have awarded Stephen Colbert a consolation prize - by putting his name on the orbiting outpost's new treadmill.Colbert, who shot to fame as the roving reporter on The Late Show, got his army of fans to put his name forward for a new wing of the International Space Station, 230 miles above the Earth.They got the most votes. But NASA ignored the fix and called the new module Tranquility instead.Now space chiefs have got their revenge by naming a new exercise machine the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill - or COLBERT for short.NASA artists have even designed a humorous "mission patch" for the new treadmill which will be delivered to the space station in August.It means astronauts' feet will be pounding on the US comic's namesake whenever they need to keep in shape, stay fit and fight off bone loss and muscle decay. Bungee-style cords will tie them to the machine so that they do not float away in weightlessness.NASA have more about the treadmill here. Colbert now stars in hit comedy satire The Colbert Report.Picture: The COLBERT "mission ...
Space Fellowship 16 Jun 2009, 09:01 UTC (ESA) - At 12:53 CEST yesterday, the cryocover of the Herschel satellite was opened after the spacecraft received a command to fire pyrotechnic bolts holding it down. This crucial step brings ESA’s newest space telescope one step closer to starting its scientific mission. The cryocover is the Herschel telescope’s ‘lens cap’: it provides a high-vacuum tight [...]