Archive for March, 2014

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Creationists Condemn Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s ‘Cosmos’ for Pro-Evolution Stance

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cosmos_a_spacetime_odyssey-1920x1200I’m not out to bust any one’s chops for their religious beliefs (or lack thereof.)  But I do find this interesting…

Apparently, creationists are up in arms; demanding that they are given equal air time on the new Cosmos TV program to express their ideas alongside the evolutionary slant this show takes.

Then I suspect creationists are prepared, in turn, to provide equal air time to evolution based scientists on their own religious programs, right?

The hundreds, if not thousands of hours of religious broadcasts on countless religious networks are going to cede equal air time each week to secular science?  I’m not holding my breath on that happening anytime soon.

These demands potentially set a “can of worms” precedent.  I can’t help but wonder if the creationists  REALLY want to go down that path; if they thought this through all the way, or if this is simply a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that this new show is so wildly popular?

I’m guessing the latter MIGHT be the case.  This is an excellent example of “be careful what you wish for.”

-Patrick Burns
March 24, 2014

http://mashable.com/2014/03/24/creationists-cosmos/

I’m not out to bust any one’s chops for their religious beliefs (or lack thereof.)  But I do find this interesting… Apparently, creationists are up in arms; demanding that they are given equal air time on the new Cosmos TV program to express their ideas alongside the evolutionary slant this show takes. Then I suspect […]

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“COSMOS” Rocks!

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cosmos_a_spacetime_odyssey-1920x1200

Hey everyone…

So I’m getting the hang of my new space themed blog here; tweaking this, changing that.  It’s a LOT of work, so thanks for being patient while I figure out what the hell I’m doing! :)

The last month has been exhausting for me… caring for my ailing father-in-law…  hosting a conference in Savannah… attending the #NASASocial SpaceX event at Kennedy Space Center…  the passing and funeral of my father-in-law (rest in peace Joe Harbuck…) being on the road constantly…  it’s been a grueling past several weeks.

But I finally got a chance to catch my breath tonight and watch the first episode of the new “COSMOS” series, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.  After hearing jeers from my geek friends about how much they hated the reboot of the series first hosted a generation ago by Carl Sagan, I wasn’t setting my expectations very high.

Now that I’ve seen it, I’d like to ask what the hell is everyone’s problem with this show?  The first episode was PHENOMENAL! Tyson is a fitting heir to pick up where the late Sagan left off.  The episode was well written, with great special effects, and very effectively put both the size AND age of our universe into figures and terms the average person could at least TRY to comprehend.

Most clever was condensing the age of the ~14 billion year old universe into a 365 day calendar year.  With the big bang happening on January 1st, the solar system condensed sometime in mid August.  Humans first appeared in the last 14 seconds of the year, on December 31st, at 11:59 and 46 seconds.  VERY clever!

I know what my geek friends are going to say they didn’t like about it –  they found the show “too elementary.”  Well guess what?  You aren’t the target audience!  This show wasn’t written for you.  It was clearly written to be a lay persons guide to appreciating the wonders of our vast universe.  Yes – things were spelled out at a very basic, perhaps on a 6th grade level.  But that’s how you have to relate these concepts to John Q Public; who doesn’t live, eat, sleep and breathe this stuff like some of us do.

When you look at the average serving of crap sit coms, talent contests and reality shows the television networks are feeding us – including most programs by once respectable networks like Discovery and History Channel?  ANYTHING that gets the general public and especially youngsters excited about space and science is a very good thing.

I’m about to commit geek blasphemy here, but SO FAR… I find the program more entertaining than the original!  I think Neil Tyson is the perfect host for this reboot, and I’m looking forward to a long, successful run for this series.  VIVA COSMOS!

-Patrick Burns
March 23, 2014

Hey everyone… So I’m getting the hang of my new space themed blog here; tweaking this, changing that.  It’s a LOT of work, so thanks for being patient while I figure out what the hell I’m doing! The last month has been exhausting for me… caring for my ailing father-in-law…  hosting a conference in Savannah… […]

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Hubble Peers at the Heart of NGC 5793

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This new Hubble image is centered on NGC 5793, a spiral galaxy over 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Libra. This galaxy has two particularly striking features: a beautiful dust lane and an intensely bright center — much brighter than that of our own galaxy, or indeed those of most spiral galaxies we observe.
NGC 5793 is a Seyfert galaxy. These galaxies have incredibly luminous centers that are thought to be caused by hungry supermassive black holes — black holes that can be billions of times the size of the sun — that pull in and devour gas and dust from their surroundings.
This galaxy is of great interest to astronomers for many reasons. For one, it appears to house objects known as masers. Whereas lasers emit visible light, masers emit microwave radiation. The term “masers” comes from the acronym Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Maser emission is caused by particles that absorb energy from their surroundings and then re-emit this in the microwave part of the spectrum.
Naturally occurring masers, like those observed in NGC 5793, can tell us a lot about their environment; we see these kinds of masers in areas where stars are forming. In NGC 5793 there are also intense mega-masers, which are thousands of times more luminous than the sun.
 
Credit:  NASA, ESA, and E. Perlman (Florida Institute of Technology)

This new Hubble image is centered on NGC 5793, a spiral galaxy over 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Libra. This galaxy has two particularly striking features: a beautiful dust lane and an intensely bright center — much brighter than that of our own galaxy, or indeed those of most spiral galaxies we […]

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Coastal Flooding in New Zealand, Early March

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A powerful storm passed over New Zealand’s South Island in March 2014 and brought gale-force winds, torrential rains, and flooding to the city of Christchurch. A total of 74 millimeters (3 inches) of rain fell on March 4-5, according to MetService, New Zealand’s national meteorological service. More than 100 homes flooded and more than 4,000 lost power around the country’s third most populous city. Skies had cleared enough by March 6, 2014, for the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite to acquire this image showing the aftermath.
Coastal communities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the risk of damage and danger from flooding. NASA and NOAA are together launching a new opportunity for citizens to work with us on the very important topic of coastal flooding. This coastal flooding challenge is part of NASA’s third International Space Apps Challenge – a two-day global mass collaboration event on April 12-13, 2014. During these two days, citizens around the world are invited to engage directly with NASA to develop awe-inspiring software, hardware, and data visualizations. Last year’s event involved more than 9,000 global participants in 83 locations. This year will introduce more than 60 robust challenges clustered in five themes: asteroids, Earth watch, human spaceflight, robotics, and space technology. The Coastal Inundation In Your Community challenge is one of four climate-related challenges using data provided by NASA, NOAA and EPA.
> 2014 International Space Apps Challenge: Coastal Inundation in Your Community
> NASA Invites Citizens to Collaborate on Coastal Flooding Challenge
Image Credit: NASA – Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC

A powerful storm passed over New Zealand’s South Island in March 2014 and brought gale-force winds, torrential rains, and flooding to the city of Christchurch. A total of 74 millimeters (3 inches) of rain fell on March 4-5, according to MetService, New Zealand’s national meteorological service. More than 100 homes flooded and more than 4,000 […]

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The search is on!

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Look at the tiny fraction of our galaxy that has been searched for planets, and look at the large number of planet types that have already been identified. We are literally just scratching the surface! This is a very exciting time to be alive; to be witness to the exciting discoveries that are yet to come!

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Look at the tiny fraction of our galaxy that has been searched for planets, and look at the large number of planet types that have already been identified. We are literally just scratching the surface! This is a very exciting time to be alive; to be witness to the exciting discoveries that are yet to […]

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Hubblecast 73: Hubble revisits the Monkey Head Nebula for 24th birthday snap

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In April of this year, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope will be celebrating 24 years of observing. To celebrate this milestone, the observatory is releasing a brand new image of part of NGC 2174, otherwise known as the Monkey Head nebula. This new Hubblecast episode showcases this beautiful image, which views a colourful region filled with young stars embedded within bright wisps of cosmic gas and dust.

In April of this year, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope will be celebrating 24 years of observing. To celebrate this milestone, the observatory is releasing a brand new image of part of NGC 2174, otherwise known as the Monkey Head nebula. This new Hubblecast episode showcases this beautiful image, which views a colourful region filled […]

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Orion

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Just saw the launch abort system or LAS for the new Orion spacecraft. We weren’t allowed to take recording devices in there that transmitted, so I wasn’t able to get any footage. Google it to see what it looks like. What’s old is new again – it looks a lot like the old Apollo space capsules.   The space shuttle was cool looking , but it was a very costly design and very difficult to maintain. 

Just saw the launch abort system or LAS for the new Orion spacecraft. We weren’t allowed to take recording devices in there that transmitted, so I wasn’t able to get any footage. Google it to see what it looks like. What’s old is new again – it looks a lot like the old Apollo space […]

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Heading to see Orion!

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Unfortunately the next location we’re going to is a radio frequency free area, that means no transmitters of any type. Which means no webcasting :(

Unfortunately the next location we’re going to is a radio frequency free area, that means no transmitters of any type. Which means no webcasting

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