Carnival of Space #187

Firstly, here is: Carnival of Space #187—the Podcast! (go right click—Save As... to download)

 

Or just go with the usual text version below:

 

The Carnival of Space was apparently created Henry Cate of the Homeschooling Blog and who gave it to Fraser Cain of Universe Today and is now continued by Brian Wang of Next Big Future. If you'd like to be a host for the carnival, like me—or contribute to it, also like me, why not send Brian an email at blwang@gmail.com.

 

Virgin space territory may not be virgin much longer

Next Big Future interviewed Virgin Galactic CEO George Whiteside. Although George is in the business of creating sub-orbital passenger flights at $200,000 a seat—he makes a bold prediction that other operators may be able to provide orbital flights as soon as the next few years. Seriously, that soon.

 

Hot in the city

The Urban Astronomer alerts us to the fact that its only fifteen days to the MESSENGER spacecraft’s planned orbital insertion of Mercury—and it will be eccentric elliptical polar obit—with a periapsis of 200 kilometres and an apoapsis of 15,000 kilometers. This is because, although Messenger has a massive heat shield to protect it from the Sun—Mercury itself is hot enough to cause the spacecraft problems so it will just pass in close for a quick look and then shoot away again to cool down.

 

Big—like uber-big

Chandra blog links to a cool total-perspective-vortex You-tube video of objects from the size of the Moon up to the whopping VY Canis Majoris which is a star nearly ten astronomical units in radius—which is about the distance of Saturn’s orbit around the sun. That’s a big sucker.

 

Ave Leif J Robinson

Carolyn Collins Petersen, aka The Space Writer writes about how she well she knew Leif J Robinson, long time editor of Sky and Telescope magazine, who passed away quite recently.

 

Double whammy

Ian O’Neill from Discovery News, introduces us to a double crater on Mars which must have been formed by asteroids hitting the surface simultaneously—because one crater doesn't overlap the other. But when he says two asteroids it’s really probably one that split in two just before impact. And really shouldn’t it be one asteroid that spilt into two meteors that then hit the ground as meteorites—I mean come on Ian have you done have you really thought through the pedantic terminology that’s required here? Yeah Ian.

 

Me gusta mis prismaticos

This one is in Spanish from Vega 0.0. Unos de los instrumentos que más momentos de disfrute proporcionan al aficionado a la astronomía, son sin duda alguna, los prismáticos. Which I think means—one of the instruments that gives proportionally more enjoyment to fans of astronomy, are without any doubt, binoculars (they’re the prismaticos—get it?).

 

India in space

Parallel spirals first tried unsuccessfully to steal a book, couldn’t—and then had to sit through a talk about remote sensing in space with the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which many better souls than I have also mispronounced.

 

Mythical planet

Science Backstage discusses the hypothetical Jovian sized—Oort Cloud disturbing object named Tyche. With the use of some interesting spelling and complex math he shows why it might be there—but also that there could be several more mundane ways to explain the data. Occam’s razor says no.

 

The Moon or bust

Then Next Big Future is back again reporting on the recently announced roster of 29 entrants for the Google X prize. To win the prize you have to send a robot to the Moon that travels at least 500 meters and transmit video, images, and data back to the Earth.  So, attach an iPhone to a skateboard and you’re halfway there.

 

Yet more Moon stuff

And next—remembering how the Carnival is run by the amazing Brian Wang, Next Big Future reports that a March 2011 lunar superconducting workshop will precedes the Global Lunar Superconductor Applications Virtual Workshop in June as well as an unspecified number of LSAs (that Lunar Superconductor application) workshops in 2012. So, basically lots of workshops on very cold electronics—on the Moon. And that’s it from Brian.

 

Astro apps

Ian Musgrave from Astroblog (who writes with this really strong Australian accent—all nasal and twangy) introduces two smartphone Android apps—Heavens Above for mobiles and Google Sky Maps. Suitably tech-headed, but kind of cool too.

 

Great glowing globs

Starry Critters is a website designed to help parents and educators, introduce children to the wonders of the universe through some awesome Hubble and other telescope images. This one shows glowing globs of star stuff in the lesser known nebula of Orion, Messier 43, in an image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The better known Orion Nebula is in fact Messier 42.

 

Smart people often look a bit thick in hindsight

Steve’s Astro corner reflects on some conundrums that kept Galileo and Kepler up at night— and for which their conclusions were dead wrong. But hey, people will probably say the same about some of our generations great brains in years to come.

 

Astrobots on the Moon

Beyond Apollo presents a lot of might-have-been Apollo missions that might have gone ahead if the Americans hadn’t pulled out after Apollo 17. This mission is an example of a robot-human shared mission—where hopefully the unmanned lunar roving vehicle can neither control the pod bay door or have extendible claws capable of disconnecting an astronaut’s air supply. But in any case, it never got off the drawing board.

 

Well, that’s it. It’s been my privilege to host yet another Carnival of Space.

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Home

Naked eye astronomy

Fun with binoculars

Cheap telescopes

Too cold outside

Cheap cosmology

Reader contributions

Cheap podcasts

What's up with Chris

Send an email

About us

Explore the universe on a shoestring

Cheap Astronomy