Sunday, 25 October 2015
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Sunday, 17 February 2013
I vividly remember watching this (and sharing it with many friends) with great joy, though none of the material was new information. These were happier times for William Shatner too, before he changed in more ways than one :
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Sunday, 26 December 2010
Some excellent ideas below.
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Reflection of Sunlight off Titan Lake: Picture courtesy NASA
There is a rather interesting suggestion, by Dr Stofan from University College London and her team from Proxemy Research, of taking a TiME "boat" to Kraken Mare or Ligeia Mare on Titan." The Titan Mare Explorer (TiME), as it is called, may even possibly be "diving in" less than 14 years from now, if only it could hitch a rideto Saturn.
Titan's atmosphere may have some similarities with those of Planet Earth, except that it is methane that replaces water on Titan.
There is no chance of three men in a boat (and to say nothing of the dog) as yet...
Saturday, 3 October 2009
Although it is not a lot of water, it is really exciting news which changes our views of moon fundamentally. Close on the heels of finding ice buried on Mars (exposed by impacts of meteorites), there are interesting implications for travel to Moon, Mars and beyond.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Monday, 3 November 2008
Sunday, 2 November 2008
The Early Ammonia Servicer (EAS), which was International Space Station's 1400-lb never-used cooling system (size of a double refrigerator) and was jettisoned by Clay Anderson on 23 July 2007, is going to fall to Earth tomorrow.
There appears to be lack of clarity regarding where and when (uncertainty of +/- 15 hours from 0300 UTC) it is going to fall. Whenever and where-ever it does, it will change from its current brightness of a second or third magnitude star to burn with a rather bright blaze shining like the moon.
The Space Weather website, which also monitors the Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) for Planet Earth, will publish updates. One can also check flybys over one's local areas.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Here is the possibility of man flying as a bird in the future...though for now it needs a jump from a plane. Amazing.......
Copyright: YvesRossy @ Youtube
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Saturday, 20 September 2008
The return to work is likely to be longer (than usual) for LHC, to ensure very cold conditions and to ensure safety after a full investigation.
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Saturday, 9 August 2008
Image Courtesy: Aaron Ceranski & John Hill @ LBTO
The binocular ability give better image quality in watching the fourth dimension (which is actually what we are looking at ... events back in time). I initially thought that binocular vision would also provide a sense of depth (third dimension) but John informs me that at such distances there is no practical sense of depth.
It is currently the world's best resolution optical/infra-red telescope, with better resolution than the Hubble in the infra-red domain. It has two very large primary mirrors with 8.408m aperture diameter, which can provide resolution equivalent to a 22.8m (i.e. ~75 foot) aperture telescope.
See also the July Episode of Sky at Night for details.
Courtesy Stevebd1 @ Youtube
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Saturday, 2 August 2008
It seems that Phoenix has finally found evidence of water on Mars and with this the speculation for possibility of (or potential for) life has become stronger than ever (NASA). The mission has been extended and there is a surprise announcement expected with ...what... some surprises!
And of course, Titan still remains a candidate with its ethane lakes and electrical storms. Although a satellite of Saturn, it is bigger than Mercury in size (see the report in today's Nature).
Friday, 1 August 2008
The eclipse was not total in the UK; 36% of the sun was blocked by the moon whilst watching from the Shetlands. In Newcastle, it began at 9:26 AM, with the maximum eclipse at 10:18 AM. The eclipse reached totality in northern Canada, Greenland, Russia and northern bits of China.
The next eclipse coming our way is the partial (reaching 80%) lunar eclipse on the evening of 16th August 2008.
Eclipses occur in cycles called as the Saros series. Read about it in the new Newsletter of the Newcastle Upon Tyne Astronomical Society.
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Read the story on the BBC online and the bigbangtheory whiteboard.
Sunday, 13 July 2008
If (from http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_if.htm)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!
Friday, 27 June 2008
Saturday, 24 May 2008
As LHC begins to work, data will be tranferred to 11 large servers (linked with 200 smaller centres worldwide) at rates of up to 10 gigabits/second. CERN is linked with the 11 large hubs via fibre-optic links but the smaller centres use research networks and "common" internet. It is able to tranfer 2.3 terabytes, i.e. 2.3 million million bytes in a week and will handle the 15 Petabytes (15 million Gigabytes) of data annually planned to be generated by the LHC.
These large Grids are likely to substitute the previously planned supercomputers. The SETI programme (SETI @ home), Carl Sagan's brainchild, has already provided evidence for successful use of multiple PCs in completing a single task. The SETI programme has incidently set up an Arthur C Clarke tribute page.
The real difference between the Internet and the Grid is that the Grid not only shares information like internet, but is also able to allow sharing of computing resources (e.g. computing power, storage, running of programmes).
However, publically available (Read: for most of you and me) use of such high speeds, with immensely fast download speeds (about 10,000 times faster than today's broadband speeds), is possibly sometime in the future. This has some interesting parallels with the evolution of Asimov's multivac.
The word "Grid" is akin to its use in electricity grid and was used for the first time in a book by Ian Foster and Carl Kesselman (see their second book above).
Some of these Grids resemble maps for metros/local city trains and the current plans are almost worldwide. For such a high-speed, dedicated network, security is a major concern [not unlike some of the newly weds who key-in a padlock and throw the key in to the Tiber :-)]. But seriously, it is absolutely vital that this data is safe from any prying hackers.
Photo courtesy of Brunico Bridge Padlocks: Peter Casier.
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Friday, 16 May 2008
Photo Courtesy: Chandra X-Ray Observatory
The youngest known supernova in the Milky Way Galaxy which is only 140 year old and has expanded clearly since 1985, is called G1.9+0.3. The expansion is occurring at an amazing speed of 5% of speed of light (about 35 million miles per hour!). The supernova is located in the constellation Sagittarius (RA: 17h 48m 45s; Dec: −27d 10m) and is about 25,000 light years away from us (i.e. the explosion occurred nearly 25,000 years in the past).
The expansion was confirmed by the space-based NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory. Due to its close location to the centre of the Galaxy, it is hard to see it visually due to dust though it can be "observed" by the emitted X-rays and radio waves.
Tuesday, 13 May 2008
Professor Roger John Cashmore, CMG (Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George), Principal of Brasenose College and Professor of Experimental Physics at Oxford University (UK) provided a very elegant summary and I quote, ".....Peter Higgs.....proposed that the whole of space is permeated by a field, similar in some ways to the electromagnetic field. As particles move through space they travel through this field, and if they interact with it they acquire what appears to be mass. This is similar to the action of viscous forces felt by particles moving through any thick liquid. the larger the interaction of the particles with the field, the more mass they appear to have. Thus the existence of this field is essential in Higg's hypothesis for the production of the mass of particles."
Professor David J Miller, Department of Physics, University College London, explains as to how Higgs mechanism can exist with or without a Higgs boson actually present (using an interesting example of a certain lady ex-Prime Minister in the room).
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Angelus Silesius was a 6th century philosopher and poet. He stated:
Time is of your own making;
its clock ticks in your head.
The moment you stop thought
time too stops dead.
In one of the very lucid books on quantum physics, "In search of Schrodinger's Cat", John Gribbin writes, "it is interesting that there are limits to our knowledge of what an electron is doing when we are looking at it, but it is absolutely mind-blowing to discover that we have no idea at all what it is doing when we are not looking at it".
In Quantum physics, the observer can not only influence the results of what he/she is observing but also determine whether the observed phenomenon (reality) happens or not in the first place.
Friday, 9 May 2008
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
As the nights become shorter, it is harder to find time to watch the stars/planets (not that I am complaining about the arrival of spring). Both Mars and Saturn are easy to spot near nightfall, with Mars near Pollux and Castor (Gemini constellation) and Saturn near Regulus (in Leo constellation).
Mars-Pollux-Castor form almost a straight line in Gemini (with Pollux in the middle) and are seen highup in the West. Saturn is also seen high in the South at nightfall.
There are no clouds tonight (I hope) and I might just catch the nightfall on my way back from my run.
Incidently, the star cluster Pleiades (also called M45 or Messier object 45) in constellation Taurus (to your left) appears to have 6 stars in it. It was called as the "7 sisters" (or also called "7 sister-in-laws and one brother-in-law" !!) though really only 6 stars shine brightly. The Talmud refers to about 100 stars in this cluster and Pleiades is now known to have at least 1000 stars.
Pleiades were of course the 7 daughters of Atlas in Greek mythology and they were pictured in the sky as being pursued by Orion. Not surprisingly, the stories about Pleiades vary in different parts of the world.
In the older days, you needed to count atleast 6-7 stars in to qualify for a job on a ship (to be a pirate!). It is interesting to note that several cultures have used this as a test of vision. If your eyesight is 6/5, you might be able to count upto 9-10 with the naked eye.
And it is now time to test my vision.....without my glasses, I mean ;-).
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Monday, 5 May 2008
Picture courtesy: Particle Data Group
Stephen Hawking has offered £100 in wager if Higgs-boson (or God particle, as it often called) is ever found.
Since the particle was discovered by Robert Brout and François Englert at the same time as Peter Higgs, it is probably more appropriately called as Higgs-Brout-Englert boson.
Sunday, 4 May 2008
You can read the original story at the site http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html. There is also a link to http://interconnected.org/notes/2003/05/last-query.html with Google replacing AC in a minor variation of the story.