Posts Tagged ‘astronomy’

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Why am I looking up?

June 8, 2017

From WordlessTech

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Where am I traveling?

April 26, 2017
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What am I McNaming?

March 6, 2017

NASA asks people to suggest names for their newly discovered exoplanets — hilarity ensues

Learning nothing from the Boaty McBoatface incident, researchers have again come to ask the public to name things. This time, it’s NASA asking people for suggestions on how to name the newly discovered 7 planets of the Trappist system. Still, the Internet has come up with a wonderful mix of suggestions ranging from trollish or tongue-in-cheek, all the way to some that might actually get picked by the agency.

c5c5jh-usaat6w2-1Image credits NASA.

The Internet doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to naming things. Just last March, UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) invited people to vote on what name their newest arctic research vessel should be christened with. NERC went with RRS Sir David Attenborough in recognition to the world famous UK naturalist and broadcaster — but that’s not what the public voted for. Oh no.

After former BBC Radio Jersey presenter James Hand jokingly suggested the council should go with Boaty McBoatface, the suggestion picked up a huge number of votes, quickly becoming the most popular name. Thankfully for the NERC, they announced from the beginning that the poll was non-binding in nature so they could opt for what they considered a “more appropriate” name.

Now, NASA is the one to call upon the collective creativity of the Internet to name the seven exoplanets whose discovery they announced in February. As of now, they’re known by their placeholder names of Trappist-1b to h.

It was a simple request, but one bound to run into the same problems as NERC’s vote. Some suggestions were simply funny, we’ve seen some nods to cultural references, and some suggestions that might actually make it. And surely enough, “Planet McPlanetface” made it in the suggestions.

Planet McPlanetface
Moonie McMoonface
Rocky McRockface
Icy McIceface
Dusty McDustface
Gasy McGasface
Wanda

__________________

Earth 2
Earth 2s
Earth 2s Plus
Earth 2s Plus 128GB
Earth 2s Plus 128GB Black
Earth 2s Plus 128GB Rose Gold
Earth 3

Rumors say the new planets will have universal docking ports. We’ll have to wait and see. And, talking about planets that NASA says aren’t ‘really’ planets:

Planet Fitness
Planet Hollywood
Captain Planet
Planet of the Apes
Planet Coaster
Pizza Planet
Pluto

There’s also a lot of cultural referencing going on, with the names of great houses from Game of Thrones being suggested, the dwarfs’ names in Snow White, as well as nods to the Harry Potter books. But this one I enjoyed the most:

A New Hope
Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
The Force Awakens
then routinely deny the other three exist

Some users have also pointed out the connection to Belgian beers of the same name, suggesting the planets be named after the Trappist breweries.

As the original Trappists, easy!
Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren

Some users view the christenings as an opportunity to those who have sacrificed in humanity’s efforts to reach for the stars — several tweets call for the planets to be named for the seven astronauts who lost their lives aboard the Challenger in 1986.

c5bhgxauoaafkzg-jpg-large

Seeing the generally light-hearted way and humorous these suggestions are being suggested on Twitter, it’s unlikely that NASA will actually go with any of them. Ultimately however, the decision lies with the International Astronomical Union, and it may still surprise us in the end. Which means there’s still a tiny hope for Pluto.

 

Reposted from ZME Science

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Where am I traveling?

February 6, 2017

 

I am packed – let’s go.

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Why am I looking up?

October 6, 2016

I thought this video about the Hubble space telescope was pretty cool.

via WordlessTech

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Who did we say goodbye to today?

September 30, 2016

 

This morning, Sept. 30, 2016, just after 10:39 UTC (6:39 a.m. EDT) ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft ended its mission with an impact onto the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The descent, begun with a final burn of its thrusters about 14 hours earlier, was slow, stately, and deliberate, but even at a relative walking pace Rosetta was not designed to be a lander like its parter Philae and thus ceased operation upon contact with the comet.

rosetta-osiris-67p-sept-30-2016

Rosetta will now remain on the surface of 67P not far from the location of Philae, which landed in November 2014 and was just recently identified in an OSIRIS image after nearly two years of speculation about its final landing place.

All in all, an amazing job by Rosetta, Philae, ESA, and all of  the flight, instrument, and science teams that made the mission an incredible success.  Thanks to their hard work and dedication over the years we now know more about our Solar System and comets especially than we ever did before, and the data Rosetta and Philae have provided us will be used for decades to come.

Rest well, little travelers.

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What am I noting today?

September 22, 2016

first-day-of-fall-2016-northern-hemisphere-5139283208830976-2-hp

Today is the autumnal equinox in my neck of the woods.

This little gif is on Google’s search page today.

However, if you are in New Zealand – happy spring!

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Why am I looking up?

August 10, 2016

A-rare-5-planets-alignment-1“Watch all the 5 bright planets in a rare alignment, just after sunset.”

I walked outside last night to view this phenomenon and was greeted by a thunderstorm…much rain which was appreciated…and a power outage that is still going on (not so much appreciated.)

If your skies are clear, read on:

“Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, all the 5 planets will be visible just after sunset, during the first few weeks of August.

Venus and Mercury, aren’t so easy see. They are to close to the Western horizon.

This month, there will be conjunctions between the moon and Venus on August 3, the moon and Mercury on August 4, and the moon and Jupiter on August 5. Jupiter and Mercury come closest together for the month on August 19, and then Venus and Jupiter stage a very close conjunction on August 27.

Alan Duffy, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, explains:

“The fainter planets that lie closer to the Sun, such as Mercury and Venus, will be difficult to see so it is best to wait until after sunset for the twilight to fully fade, but before the planets set.

The planets stretch across the sky, anchored to the horizon following the setting Sun.

This is because the entire Solar System is flat like an old vinyl record with the planets moving along these grooves of the record. Looking out from the Earth we will see this as a straight line, known as the ecliptic plane, tracing across the sky.”

from WordlessTech

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Why am I saying goodnight?

March 21, 2016

last sunset

“For researchers at NOAA’s South Pole Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, Sunday March 20 marks the start of the austral autumn, the last time they see the sun for six months.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox promises warmer days.

In the observatory, that is part of the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, in winter, it’s so cold aircraft can’t fly and scientists are marooned until late October.

“It’s the coldest, driest, flattest place you can imagine,” said NOAA Corps LT Jesse Milton.”

More here at WordlessTech

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Where am I traveling?

January 28, 2016

 

“These are the voyages . . .”