1) Harry Potter is 759 pages 2) Jupiter & Venus are high(ish) and gorgeous(!) in the sky – That is a hint you should go out and look at them 3) Sagittarius is at its best. If you have never scanned it with binoculars on a clear summer night, you are missing a great chance to randomly discover for yourself a star forming region or a young cluster of stars. (7×50 binoculars will do the trick from a dark area) 4) August 12 is the Perseid meteor shower. Plan ahead – It is supposed to be truly spectacular! I’m now going to go read number 7

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upgrade time

Okay, so I’m very tired of the failure of this version of WordPress to handle links in a semi-logical manner. And I recognize that the categories I have things filed under really aren’t useful. And, and, and… I have reached the point where I’m going to spend the next few days re-coding this site and my site at SIUE. So – If you want to tell me what you want to see, yammer away. I’m all eyes (Saying all ears on a blog just doesn’t make sense). I’m going to be working on a development site initially, but expect to see some massive ugliness somewhere along the way. This is probably just my way of procrastinating on something, but… it needs done, so it is prematurely rising to the top of the...

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Carnival of Space #12

Carnival Time, come one, come all, ride the intellectual ride over at Music of the Spheres

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Black Holes don’t exist ?
Black Holes do exist!

All of us have a certain amount of rubber necker inside us. We all turn to see the wrecked car, and as kids we paused to watch the fights in the school yard. As an adult, I have to admit to taking a secret (well, maybe not so secret anymore) thrill in watching the occasional academic smack down. While flipping through arXiv earlier this evening my abstract flipping slowed to a stand still as I caught sight of an intellectual head-on collision. “In this short essay (no flimsier than the original preprint where these extravagant claims appeared)”, writes K. Petrovay in a paper titled “BlackStar” or Astrophysical Black Hole?”, “I demonstrate that these ill-considered claims are clearly wrong.” The paper he referred to was by...

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GRBs Blow Light Rings

One of the cooler and least talked about phenomena in astronomy is the light echo. Any time a momentary bright something occurs (supernova, stellar flare, etc…), a packet of light is sent rocketing through space like a “Hallo!” vocally screamed out from a canyon floor. And when that light hits something – dust, gas, ices – it get echoed just as sound gets echoed when it hits a canyon wall. Astronomers using the X-ray observatories XMM-Newton and now Swift have discovered that distant gamma-ray bursts are able to create light echos in clouds of material in our own galaxy and others. The most famous light echo is V838 Mon, a star that had a complex brightening and fading back in 2002 that isn’t fully understood. As the light from...

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