Posts made in September, 2007

Mars, Oh Inconstant World

Posted By on Sep 23, 2007

I’ve decided Mars is the taunting red planet. She hangs up there, red and provocative, reveling here poles and captivating us with her canyons. She plays a careful game of peek-a-boo with her here-today, gone-tomorrow sand storms. She spikes our curiosity with gullies that seem to have been made with water, and black streaks that could be made by water. With scientific whispers, she hits at the possible of present day liquid...

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The Wizards in the Tower

Posted By on Sep 22, 2007

Somewhere, once upon a time, the metaphor of faculty living in a mystical Ivory Tower entered the vernacular. I don’t know the history of this imagery, but it always conjures images of wizards working their spells while the look out over the common people – the little people – from their vantage on high. These gray-haired men of wisdom sometimes enter the courtyard to educate the young. At their feet the future wise...

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It is possible to map a room using sound, the sea using sonar, and to generally just get at the shape of things based on how the absorb and emit waves. This is true both in our Earthly locations (caves, canyons) and also in the centers of galaxies. In the past several days, I’ve seen a couple different journal articles on how quasar flickering is being used to map galaxy cores. This isn’t a new idea, but it is an idea...

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Lensing Lenses & Einstein’s Cross

Posted By on Sep 19, 2007

While going through journal articles today, I came across a really neat paper on teh apparent variability of the different images of the famous lensed quasar, Einstein’s Cross (Q2237+0305, in science speak). The light from this distant quasar is blocked from reaching us directly, and is instead bent toward us along 4 different paths by the nucleus of an intervening spiral galaxy (image left, credit:  J. Rhoads (STScI) et...

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The Universe tours the solar system

Posted By on Sep 17, 2007

It’s time to leave the Universe behind. The History Channel’s the Universe series is out of new episodes, and their sponsorship is about to drop off this blog and Astronomy Cast. If the Universe was your favorite space series of all time, have no fear, it will be showing in reruns, and you can purchase the complete series on DVD. Looking over the past summer’s series, we can see 13 episodes laid on in a steady march...

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