Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows vdb 141 (Sh2-136). A more poetic name is the Cepheus Flare.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hide and Seek

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Mirach's Ghost. This is one that has eluded me, so far. Need darker skies and more aperture!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Andromeda Strain

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a dual image of the Andromeda Galaxy ("mouseover" the picture to see the alternative view): ultraviolet light vs. visible light.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rambling With Gambling

Oh noes! Another installment of the SF Signal Podcast! Number thirteen in a series!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet Hartley in the neighborhood of one of the best sights in the Fall evening sky: the "Double Cluster" in Perseus.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wet Moon

What lies beneath our Moon? Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows how much hydrogen was detected in various areas of the Moon during last year's "splatdown" of the LCROSS probe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Girl with the Memory Stick

Lisbeth? Lisbeth? Was that you?

On this day in history...Valentinian III became Emperor of the Western Roman Empire (425 AD), The Battle of Edgehill (1642 AD), The War of Jenkins' Ear (1739), the Hungarian Revolution (1956), Operation Linebacker (1972) and the attack on the USMC barracks in Lebanon (1983). Oh, and I got married (1983).
Water from the Sun

This reminded me of Freeman Dyson's The Sun, The Genome and The Internet. Not as far seeing as J.D. Bernal's The World, The Flesh and The Devil but still a darned good read.
Two Shakes

I have discussed this research with my dogs. They feel it needs more peer review. The physics of shaking dogs.
Do No Evil

Sounds like some really tasty food! Dutch Sandwich! Double Irish! no evil. Google-a-ga-ga.
Future Schlock

The amazing precognitive powers of Howard Tayler! If you don't already read this strip...take the rest of the weekend and do so! Now! You'll sleep better!
Know Your Rights

England "owns" images of Stonehenge no matter who took them? What?
A New Model

Wikipedia as a model for universities? It'll never happen, too many groups have too much vested in the "old school".

The UN does not want us to blot out the Sun. If somebody actually has the ability to do this, will they bother listening to the UN?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

A house made from a 747. Massive reuse in action! Now about all those cargo contains in Port Newark...
Bricks on Bricks

You can make anything with Legos...including, apparently, more bricks!
Long View

NASA is now looking at starships. Not much money involved, but it'll be interesting to see what comes of this over time.
Triple Your Pleasure

Joseph Mallozzi, of Stargate Universe, discusses culinary secrets. Still catching up on the first season of the show, I recommend you watch the DVD set as I find it works better as a really long movie rather than a series of hour-long episodes.
Pale Ale

Next up, Monty Python and the Holy Grail gets re-cut.
Head to Toe

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a mosaic of images showing one of the best sights in the night sky: the Great Nebula in Orion.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flaming Pillars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 7822 in the constellation Cepheus. Pillars, swirls, young stars and more.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Overstaying My Welcome

Wow! Episode 012 of The SF Signal Podcast. We discuss things that have overstayed their welcome. For some reason I'm back again!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a nice planetary nebula in Cygnus. A nice challenge for fall skies!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pattern Recognition

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the path of Venus through the early evening sky over a period of time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prometheus Rising

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Saturn's small "shepherd moon" Prometheus as it sweeps through the F-Ring.

Monday, October 18, 2010

SF Signal

Episode 12 is up! We discuss genre series (written and otherwise) that over stay their "welcome". And David J. Williams is interviewed. Go, download and listen!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day...IT CAME FROM THE SUN!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Benoit Mandlebrot has passed away. I first came across his name in some non-fiction essays by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who later used fractals in The Ghost from Grand Banks. (I've blogged about the dangers of reading Clarke's essays and afterwords in the past). I bought a book on fractals, downloaded programs to make fractals, zoomed into fractals.

Interesting guy, interesting stuff.
The Other Neighbor

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the LMC's neighbor, the Small Magellanic Cloud. Time to catch a sailing ship south.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Large Cloud of Magellan, one of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies. Another reason for a trip south!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Scale Model

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day depicts a model of the Hubble Space Telescope in a (very nice looking) museum. The real HST will not be displayed, alas.
The Ringworld is Unstable! The Ringworld is Unstable!

On its 40th anniversary, an introduction to a SF classic.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Galactic Edge

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 2683, a galaxy seen on its edge. Somebody should dust!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Worlds in Collision

Asteroid collision...caught on film.

Frederik Pohl continues his stroll down memory lane and looks at the various ways (minus one) he collaborated over the years. Jack Williamson, C.M. Kornbluth and Isaac Asimov are touched upon.
The Restless Moon

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Buzz Aldrin standing near the lunar seismometer. It turns out for a "dead planet", the Moon has a whole lot of shaking going on.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us NGC 6934, a globular cluster in Delphinus. Globular clusters are wonderful sights in small to medium telescopes, resembling spilled sugar crystals in my mind.

Friday, October 08, 2010

When Worlds Collide

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows at opposition with Earth: Jupiter (nice overexposure to capture the belts and the moons!) and (no jokes, please) Uranus.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows emission nebula NGC 281 (The "Pacman Nebula") and Comet Hartley 2, the green comet.

Beware the Cometeers!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Knight of Orion

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of one of my favorite places to visit in the winter sky: the Orion Nebulae with the Horsehead Nebulae. The Horsehead is a difficult object to spot in my muddy, light-polluted skies.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

Interstellar Communications Portal

Ansible 279 is out!

Stephen Baxter is thrilled that 'some Czech biologists have named a new trilobite after my "Xeelee" books. The beast itself looks like a woodlouse (to me), is about a centimetre long, and apparently was a big cheese about 500 million years ago. "This is very important species with surprisingly very advanced features just very close to the origin of entire group," they say. Quite an honour! For me, I mean, not the trilobite.' From the 10 September paper: 'We place it tentatively in the genus Mezzaluna as a new species Mezzaluna? xeelee ... DERIVATIO NOMINIS: Xeelee – a legendary civilization of very advanced extraterrestrial beings forming a mainstay of excellent science-fiction sequence of Stephen Baxter.' (Journal of the National Museum [Prague])
Eaux le Deux

I've been podcastified! Again! Three men locked in a Honda Civic for about an hour, fogging up the windows. What WERE they doing in there?

As soon as the shows are up, I'll post links.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an artist depiction of Zarmina's World, better known as Gliese 581g, a potentially habitable world around another star.