Carnival & Happy Sun Crosses Northern Tropics Day

I hope you are all happily enjoying the first day of the Sun shining directly over Northern Hemisphere. If you are looking for a way to celebrate, let me suggest you take in the Carnival of Space over on my Astronomy Cast co-host Fraser Cain’s Universe Today.

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You are the Center of the Universe (and so am I, and so is Gursplex on Alpha Eck)

You are the Center of the Universe (and so am I, and so is Gursplex on Alpha Eck)

wmap.jpgOne of the concepts that confuses people most about the Universe is the Earth’s location relative to the Big Bang. People constantly ask, “Where is the center of the Universe?” and “Where was the Big Bang relative to us today?” and perhaps the most articulate of all, “Why does the Cosmic Microwave Background appear in all directions if it came from the Big Bang?” We are creatures accustomed to life in a three dimensional universe, and it is extraordinarily difficult to visualize our place in space. It is even harder to visualize that every place in space was once at the center of the Big Bang. (image credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team)

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Astronomy and MySpace

One of the things I work to do is keep track of new communications trends. I don’t always succeed, and I have to say that Phil Plait and Fraser Cain often provide me tips to tech that I might find as fast on my own. MySpace is an old social network trend that has found a new popularity in old media (weee, that was a fun clause to write). I’ve been working with several others to create a MySpace page for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy. In doing this, I’ve been noticing what a strong presence astronomy has. Each planet in our solar system has 1 or more profiles, and many observatories and telescopes have official pages. I find something extremely heart warming in the idea that people want planets as friends.

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News Highlights, or
The Molemen Took My Creativity

When I said we have moles on Saturday, I was not kidding. I walked across our front yard today to water some flowers that were threatening to die, and it felt like I was walking on a crunchy sponge. Our entire front yard is undermined. This creates a bit of a dilemma for my crunchy granola, left-leaning brain. I am honestly worried about how few animals are able to survive in urban and suburban areas, and generally I’m the type of person who will rehome things in hopes that the critter I don’t want in my house/garage/car will live to either reproduce or become some other critters dinner somewhere else. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to catch and release a mole, and the sonic mole repelling things will just send the moles to my neighbors where they will get killed.

Not that any of this has anything to do with astronomy. I write about this because I currently have writers block. The molemen took my creativity. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So, for a not particularly creative discussion of recent astronomy news, here is a list of a few neat new things waiting to be discussed in detail:

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Stanczyk during a Ball at the Court of Queen Bona after the Loss of Smolensk

Stanczyk during a Ball at the Court of Queen Bona after the Loss of Smolensk

er02112matejko.jpgMy favorite painting is currently on display at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and I was just able to get my own framed copy of it for my office! Part of the traveling, “Leonardo da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland,” exhibit, this painting by Jan Matejko depicts the Polish jester Stanczyk in deep despair after receiving word the stronghold of Smolensk had fallen. In the background, a royal ball merrily goes on while out the window a comet is seen marking oncoming tragedy. (see zoomable image here).

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