Archive for the ‘Astronomy’ Category

Finally, Some Solar Activity!

Finally, after a couple of years of a virtually spotless sun, we seem to be seeing some significant activity.  This shot was taken in late September and closely approximates what could be seen through an eyepiece.  I used what has become my standard setup for photographing eclipses – a Nikon D700, 2x teleconverter, and Borg 4″ refractor.  43 frames out of 540 were combined to produce this shot.  A lot of images and processing are necessary to show what can easily be seen by the eye!  Click on the image for more details.

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Cassini Flies Past Saturn

A movie stitched together from real images from Cassini as it flies through Saturn’s system of moons and rings:

http://youtu.be/OpBvM3Tn0iU

Voyage to the End of the Universe (and back)

A nice visualization from earth to the distant reaches of the known universe:

http://youtu.be/17jymDn0W6U
(American Museum of Natural History video)

A nice touch is to see the orbits of satellites, the moon, and planets as we depart Earth.

Historic Papers from the Royal Society

If you’re interested in history/science, the Royal Society has just put selected historic papers going back to the 1600’s here: http://trailblazing.royalsociety.org/

These are in PDF form and readable on my Kindle 2 with its newly updated firmware.

Antikythera Mechanism

Antikythera Mechanism (Wikipedia image)

Antikythera Mechanism (Wikipedia image)

A recent article in Scientific American (Dec. 2009) nicely summarizes the latest research into the Antikythera “computer” which was recovered from the Mediterranean Sea in 1900.  Not much could be done with the lump of encrusted parts at the time.  But new advanced imaging revealed inscriptions that confirm that the surprisingly sophisticated mechanical calculator was used to predict eclipses and other astronomical events.  This device is amazing considering that it is at least 2000 years old!

Additional links:

Leonid Meteor Shower

For those who have been asking — yes, I did go out to see the Leonid meteor shower.  As predicted, the west coast of the U.S. was not the best place to see the narrow peak of activity, but we did have some some increased activity at the end of Monday night (morning of 11/17).  I put together a composite shot of the meteors caught on camera and a time-lapse video covering most of the night on my astrophotography page.  Don’t miss the separate video of one of the meteors in the corner of the frame which left a persistent smoke trail.

By the way, according to my observatory neighbor Jim, there was also a fair amount of Leonid meteor activity on Tuesday night, but Monday night was better.