Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Carnival of Space #259

Welcome aboard to another fine issue of Carnival of space, a collection of the best the astronomy community has to offer.
Fasten your belts and we are starting....

"Gaming for real science!" Want to participate? Technology is making it possible for the public to participate in exploration as they never have before. Because Mars exploration is fundamentally a shared human endeavor, we want everyone around the globe to have the most immersive experience possible. Read more on Links Through Space"

Long-time readers of Dear Astronomer know that I am a pretty hard-core dark sky advocate. As a fan of science fiction and dark skies, I couldn’t resist passing along this video from 2001. From what I’ve heard the footage was archived VHS footage that was recently digitized by Scott Kardel (International Dark Sky Association).

Nextbigfuture - a novel architecture is proposed that would allow for an unmanned interstellar rendezvous and return mission. The approach utilized for the Vacuum to Antimatter-Rocket Interstellar Explorer System (VARIES) would lead to system components and mission approaches that could be utilized for autonomous operation of other deep-space probes. Engineering solutions for such a mission will have a significant impact on future exploration and sample return missions for the outer planets. This paper introduces the general concept, with a mostly qualitative analysis. However, a full research program is introduced, and as this program progresses, more quantitative papers will be released.

Simostronomy - His introduction to the night sky occurred at age five when his mother introduced him to the Pleiades on a crisp, clear, winter night. A book from a kindly librarian brought the rest of the universe into focus and Leslie's quest for knowledge of the night sky took off. As a teen Leslie earned $18 for a mail order telescope by picking 900 quarts of strawberries on his father's farm, earning two cents per quart. The 2-inch refractor arrived a few weeks later and 64 continuous years of night time observing began.

Simostronomy - If you are a visual observer, the eyepieces in your arsenal are as important as the optical tube or mount. One of my goals has always been to find the perfect combination of the fewest number of eyepieces to be able to handle all my typical observing requirements. I don't like to spend time changing eyepieces and refocusing. I want to observe, not focus and fiddle around. My search for the perfect combination of eyepieces for variable star observing has had episodes of experimentation and expense followed by long periods of satisfaction and observing action.

A Cheap Astronomy podcast talks through the OBAFGKM classification of stars and finds there's more to it than just getting fine girls to kiss you.

Land Ho! Riding with robots, using NASA's "Eyes on the Solar Sytem" site to see what the spacecraft carrying Mars Curiosity sees as it approaches the Red Planet over the next few days.

Supernova Condensate - The Frost Line in circumstellar disks marks the point where volatile molecules start to condense into ices. But is it the only such line? Perhaps, as some astronomers have proposed, there might also be a Soot Line to consider...

Astroblog - Views of the Aurora Australis form the recent solar storm of 15 July

The Meridian Journal - The Spitzer space telescope has found a possible exoplanet which is smaller than Earth and may be covered in lava.

Astronomers at the dotAstronomy conference made good use of their video cameras to make two films: "Science: it's Universal" & "Sh*t Astronomer's Say"