Friday, May 30, 2008

Supernova - Cassiopeia


Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and University of Arizona

Cassiopeia A is believed to have been a red supergiant before it became a supernova.

Kavli Prize

Kavli Prize

Nano, Neuro and Astrophysics

Fred Kavli understands how important basic science is and that it has a value in its own. He left Norway when he was a young man and I believe must have lived the American Dream. For genetically Norwegian Santa Barbarians, please note that he has donated substantially to your community...


Super Spinning Asteroid

Credit: Richard Miles

Asteroid 2008HJ moves swiftly across the middle of this view.

Solar Corona

Solar Corona


Still too hot to be true?

Phoenix Mars Lander

Descent of the Phoenix Mars Lander

Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona



Photo: Ken Geiger/National Geographic

A hot spot for the longest time.

India: Chandrayaan-1


Model of the Radiation Environment of the Moon

India's first mission to the Moon

Cool animation.

India, China, Japan, Russia have all very impressive space programs. I try to digg some intel out of the internet about them and other less known space agencies, but it is a lot easier to follow the activities of NASA and ESA. :-) In general it is more usual than not that the space missions are international. The great success of NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander mission would not be possible without substantial support from friends from around the world.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mars Express

Mars Express Listens to Phoenix

Credits: ESA - D. Ducros



Fantastic Fogbow

Credit: Keith C. Langill

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Exploring Mars

Exploring Mars

Credit: NASA

The Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars (left) and a mosaic of the Schiaparelli hemisphere of Mars (right).

If you are interested in getting a quick overview of our Mars explorer history, this article from ESA will do the trick. Most of the knowledge that we have of Mars' interior (read more at Geojim56's) comes from planetary geodesy and geodesy A combination of gravity and rotation data tells us a lot about the interior of a celestial body. And I wouldn't be me if I didn't add that the better geodetic systems and knowledge of the Earth we have, the more we will be able to learn about the planets! :-)


Arctic Sea Ice 2070-2090

Cartographer: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

Shipping routes included!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mars Map

Credit: MGS/MOLA.

Topography of the "Tharsis side" of Mars as inferred from MOLA data (Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter) aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The color indicates the altitude (in km) above/below the MOLA surface reference. The Phoenix landing site (~ 68.3°N, 127°W) is marked by a plus sign.

Mars and Phoenix

Phoenix and Mars



Monday, May 26, 2008

Mars in Pink

Mars in Pink

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

This is one of the first images taken by the Phoenix Mars Lander. It shows the vast plains of the northern polar region of Mars just after landing on May 25, 2008. The flat landscape is strewn with tiny pebbles and shows polygonal cracking, a pattern seen widely in Martian high latitudes and also observed in permafrost terrains on Earth.

For some reason...It'll be possible to find a few images from Mars on Stellare in the near future...I can't help myself. Even if the images come with pink in them...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mars Digg

Let The Digging Begin!

Credit: NASA

Old Maps

Map Art

'Monialium Ebstorfensium Mappamundi'

The chromolithograph world map [spliced together from two sections] by Konrad Miller in 1896 is a reproduction of a mappamundi produced most likely in Germany between 1200 - 1300 a.c.

Found via my friend Clickmonkey for my two mappomaniac friends BumApples and The Americanized Huldra


Big Quakes Make the Whole World Tremble

earthquakes, geoscience

Credit: Aaron Velasco

This map of the world shows seismic stations that detected more than twice the normal number of small, nearby earthquakes after the passage of what are known as "surface waves" from major quakes that were centered hundreds to thousands of miles away and occurred from 1992 through 2006. A new study co-authored by University of Utah seismologist Kris Pankow found that at least 12 of the 15 major earthquakes (greater than magnitude-7) during 1992-2006 triggered small quakes in distant parts of the world. Scientists once believed big quakes could not trigger distant tremors.

Mars Overview

Mars Information with a Little Help from Friends

Credit: NASA

Three other spacecrafts in orbit and an array of antennas on Earth will help out with transmitting information about Mars and Phoenix when Phoenix lands on Mars 25. March 2008.

Mars Express, ESA
Mars Odyssey, NASA
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA
NASA's Deep Space Network

Mars, Mars, Mars

Mars, Mars, Mars


Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Crater Isidis

Mars True Colors
Water on Mars
Mars Express Tracks Phoenix
Phoenix on Discovery
Hotsprings on Mars
NASA's Phoenix Blog

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stellare: A raving mad scientist

Raving Mad Scientist


You should be really careful what you wish for. Look at me! This is what you might end up looking like if you become a mad scientist. Who'd want crazy eyes like these? They completely give you away.

The Rave


Here is a naked raving mad scientist version of me. As much as I understand that some fine SU ladies of exquisite taste in nudes think they expose themselves, this photo here reveals real nudity - and a couple of teeth! I beat you all! :-)


Me arguing with the Troll. Me on the right.

Photos: I sincerely haven't got a clue!

I've received complaints from various people for not posting more pictures of me. As you can see there are good reasons for not doing that. I know Sam will hate it and Franny love it; the fact that this most likely will be a temporary post and removed shortly. If you should be tempted to protest or in any other way annoy me with unpleasant comments, I shall have to kill you. I have access to the services of Abra-Cadabra BE WARNED!

The Corona


Credit: SOHO

The Corona is the extended atmosphere of the Sun. It consist of hot, hot plasma. We still do not understand why the plasma is so hot. Normally, it should get cooler the more distant you are from the core of the Sun where the energy is produced. Not so on the Sun, suddenly it becomes in explicable super hot...

This is NOT the same...

Besides, this is best served cold...:-)

Corona - Baby, baby

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Stellaric Horoscope

Inciteful's Stellaric Horoscope

Extra terrestrial messages for Inciteful has been received, oh I don't know, from aliens perhaps. It has enabled the expert to make a Stellaric horoscope for Inciteful on her birthday 21. May 2008.

This is no bullshit horoscope, let that be crystal clear. To prove it here is the movie showing how the extra terrestrial information for the horoscope was transcended.

Now, the Pleiades star cluster (also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45) and Venus are gliding behind the Sun and moving towards each other in a conjunction or visual meeting. We cannot see this from Earth since these objects are too close to the Sun's brightness. Stellare has powers to see beyond and even further and are therefor able to present the following Stellaric Horoscope, with explanations.

NASA is putting together a team to decide what sensors and detectors should fly on Space Probe, and the agency is expected to put out a call for payload ideas later this year. The Space Probe will be launched 2015, in other words somewhat after the next sun spot maximum. Regardless of what they decide for the payloads, solar cycle 24 just started this year and will build up during 2008. Inciteful can expect the same development for her life. No matter what she brings with her, the future will be brighter.

Dark matters will no longer matter. Thanks to Hubble we can see right through the dark matter all the way via the Quasars to the very beginning - Big Bang. Inciteful will exactly the same way, see beyond the darker side of life and find the strength where she began her life, to enjoy Sunshine.

Quasars: Missing baryonic matter was found by using the light from distant quasars (the bright cores of galaxies with active black holes) to probe spider-web-like structure that permeates the seemingly invisible space between galaxies, like shining a flashlight through fog.

Just like quasars light up the cosmic fog and at the same time provide us with a terrific terrestrial reference (coordinate system)!, the quasars will ensure Inciteful the insight and guidance she needs to make the right decisions for herself.

Should everything go down the drain, like in a black hole, there are no worries because now we know there are ways to escape even black holes!

Happy Birthday, Inciteful!

Stellare - the ghost astrologer



Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Fantastic cartography of Saturn's moon Dione.

Like the ancient cartographers of old, scientists working with images from Cassini-Huygens of Saturn's icy airless moons have carefully crafted detailed maps that one day may guide future explorers across the surfaces of these remote bodies.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

Large Dione

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Big Flare

Flare - Big Time


Credit: Casey Reed/NASA

EV Lacertae, a spinning wild YOUNG star, has released a massive, one of a kind, flare.


Dear Jason

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 spacecraft in space.

Finally, Jason-2 is ready to go. We have been worried sick about this mission. What is there to worry about, just another satellite you say? Well, these altimeter satellites (Jason, Topex-Poseidon, Jason-2) are the ones that tells us how the sea level change on the open ocean. Since 1992 we have continuous time series of sea surface height data with high accuracy. A lot of work have been done to extend those high accuracy time series back in time so that we can have even better information about the development of sea level. It would just be too sad if you should stop this lovely time series of sea level data....As mentioned earlier, it has great economic implications to miscalculate sea level...

NASA and in fact NOAA in the US as well as CNES in France continue their operation of satellite altimeters. Good for them, even better for all the rest of us. :-)

Eumetsat, who also contribute to Jason-2, has made great informative videos.


Nasa Art at the Smithsonian

Nasa Art

Tasmanian Tiger

Tasmanian Tiger

We've got your genes!

Wandering Poles

Polar Wandering on Europa

Credit: Paul Schenk

Europa is a complex and dynamic moon, but now, global mapping of unusual large circular features on the ice-covered ocean world of Europa has revealed that Jupiter's curious icy moon is even more unstable than previously thought.

Because of the strong pull of Jupiter's gravity, Europa's icy shell bulges slightly at the equator and is flattened at the poles. The shell is also thought to be separated from Europa's core by an ocean, which would permit the shell to move en masse -- a phenomenon called true polar wander.

Europa is not the only planet or moon to have undergone polar wander. Mars has probably tilted over at least once, due to the formation of the Tharsis volcanos. Earth's outer layers have done so, as apparently have Enceladus, and possibly Miranda. Polar wander may be a common occurrence across the solar system, suggesting that planets in general are less stable than we have thought.

I think we might have to install a GPS network on Europa as well, to sort this out! :-)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Golden Voyager

Golden on Voyager

Forgot all about what the symbols mean? Be reminded here. :-)


Venice - Alternative Urban Planning

While Frannyy suggest we fill the canals in this picture with concrete, civil engineers, geodesist and others have alternative ideas to solve the rising sea level/sinking city problem of Venice, Italy.

Here are a couple of suggestions to solve the resulting flooding of Venice:

MOSE: In the MOSE project the rising tides that flood Venice will be blocked by new floodgates, which will be placed at the inlets where the Adriatic Sea enters the lagoon. The gates are designed to prevent the Adriatic Sea from flooding the lagoon at high tides in even the worst storms. Problem is that the sea level rise probably are too high to be stopped by the gates, the dimensions are not right.

Rialto: Local officials and engineers are planning to lift buildings under operation "Rialto" by up to one metre (3.3 feet) using piston-supported-poles to be placed at the bottom of each structure. This will take around a month per building if each structure is raised by eight centimetres (3.14 inches) a day.

Credit: European Space Agency

Venice, 2004

Credit: Landsat, European Space Agency

Venice, 1985


Venice and its lagoon were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The entire city is an architectural masterpiece in which even the smallest building contains works by some of the world's greatest artists.
Refugees from the Po Estuary fleeing foreign invaders founded the city in the 5th Century AD. In later centuries Venice became part of the Byzantine Empire, then an independent city-state and a major maritime power in its own right.

Venice extends across 118 small islands in a marshy saltwater lagoon at the northwest corner of the Adriatic Sea. A series of barrier islands protect this low-lying city from storm surges, but its 270 633-strong population still must contend with a metre-high tidal range, a problem made worse by regional land subsidence and a slight increase in sea level.

Geodesy: It is particularly the degree of land subsidence and increase in sea level that are the keys to finding the right urban plan for Venice. Unless of course you think like some: Let it fucking sink! or simply like Franny here suggests: fill it up with concrete and have an art ball while you're at it.

Urban planning of Venice is a nice example of how precise geodetic information is pivotal for the economy of modern society. If we calculate the sea level rise to be smaller than it actually is going to be, then the investments in a project like MOSE for instance could be just like throwing money in the ocean...

Astro Jewelry

An Astrophysicist's Drooling at Griffith Observatory

I couldn't believe my own eyes when I visited the Griffith observatory last February! They have like a million meter long wall completely covered with celestial jewelry. It is just freakin' awesome! I believe they had to completely renovate the hallway after I spent hours there drooling...

Go, have a look! It is disinfected now so it's safe. :-)

I found the link over at IntrepidDreamer

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Golden Crown of Materials Science

Credit: Wiley-VCH 2008

This pictures shows a giant, crown-like Au36 ring that aggregate with continuous metal-metal contacts formed by an Au(I)-Au(I) bonding interaction directed self-assembly.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Antennae Galaxies

Antennae Galaxies

Photo: NASA, European Space Agency and Ivo Saviane/European Southern Observatory


Hydroxyl in Venus's Atmosphere

Credit: ESA/C. Carreau

Hydroxyl, an important but difficult-to-detect molecule, is made up of a hydrogen and oxygen atom each. It has been found in the upper reaches of the Venusian atmosphere by Venus Express's Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, VIRTIS.

Who cares? :-)

Well, it means that we will learn a lot more about Venus' atmosphere. And perhaps more important to most earthlings, it means that Venus is more like the Earth and ultimately this new discovery will lead to a better understanding of the Earth, our home, as well.

It is particularly it's role relative to ozone, atmospheric molecules regulating and protecting us from stellar radiation, that makes hydroxyl interesting.

I care!

The Sun



Friday, May 16, 2008

El Niño

El Niño Transported Magellan

Credit: iStockphoto

Ferdinand Magellan's historic circumnavigation of the globe 1519 was likely influenced by unusually benign weather conditions, likely associated with an El Niño event. This is also thought to be the earliest historical record of an El Niño event

NOAA animation of two El Niño events; 1982 and 1995. Chose your preferred format.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cassiopeia - supernova

Cassiopeia A - the old record holder...

Credit: NRAO/AUI

300 years OLD

Cassiopeia A is the remnant of a supernova explosion that occured over 300 years ago in our galaxy The Milky Way.

Young Supernova

Super Nova 140 Years YOUNG!

Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/NCSU/S.Reynolds et al.); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/Cambridge/D.Green et al.)

A composite image of G1.9+0.3 with data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory taken in 2007, orange, and the Very Large Array in 1985, blue.

Finally, we got the defining proof that earlier observations were correct. In the center of our galaxy The Milky Way a super nova explosion took place merely 140 years ago. This is the youngest super nova ever observed.

It can be hard to picture what a super nova looks like. Here are a few animations that might help. :-)

1. Chandra's close up using a combination of the three series of images collected over the years.
2. Chandra's super nova in Milky Way perspective placing the event relative to the rest of our galaxy.
3. New Scientists series of images of super novas starting with the recent g1.9 in our galaxy. Let the cursor stay on each image to read about the individual super nova.

I've found some awesome animations etc for you. Stay tuned and you'll find updates...:-)


Super Nova

Credit: Chandra & VLA

An extremely violent explosion of a star many times more massive than our Sun. During this explosion, the star may become as bright as all the other stars in a galaxy combined, and in which a great deal of matter is thrown off into space at high velocity and high energy. The remnant of these massive stars collapse into either a neutron star or a black hole.

More later...

China: Sichuan Earthquake

Never ending series of earthquakes...

Source: US Geological Survey (USGS)

This is the area that is expected to experience some 1000 afterquakes after the major 7,8 hit China on Monday 12. May 2008. Follow the quakes by the hour from USGS at the bottom here.