Tau Boo Back Flips (magnetically)

Tau Boo Back Flips (magnetically)

As some of you may know, my favorite favorite star to bring up when discussing binaries is Tau Boo B (Go ahead, say it out loud. Giggle. Join me in the giggling. Wasn’t that fun?). This little red dwarf star is the companion star to the much more famous, but no where near as fun to say, bigger Tau Boo A. Tau Boo A is a solar (sorta) twin, with similar temps (it’s a bit hotter) and a similar mass (its a bit bigger) to the Sun. Now, we have one new characteristic to add to the list of similarities. Astronomers using the awkwardly names Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope atop Mauna Kea have observed the flip of Tau Boo A’s magnetic field. Tau Boo A’s flip might not be entirely identical to Sol’s back flipping behavior, however. While the...

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Cepheid + Light Echo = Accurate Distances

Cepheid + Light Echo = Accurate Distances

I am so so frustrated that I can’t get the full journal article associated with this press release. I’m going to have to do some emailing tomorrow to see if someone can get it to me. Here is what has me excited. In a new paper in Astronomy and Astrophysics (which my Uni doesn’t get) with Pierre Kervella as lead author,  the distance to a Cepheid variable has finally been accurately measured in a method so simple I can’t believe it wasn’t done before. The binocular-bright Cepheid RS Pup is embedded in a nebula. As it’s light varies, it causes the dust and gas to also vary in brightness. By measuring how long after the star varies in brightness the blob of gas and dust varies in brightness, it is possible to tell how far...

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To the tune of Pinky & the Brain

Different political candidates apparently inspire different things. This is what I received in my inbox Friday. (If any one else has a good parody or inspired song, please leave in the comments or email me.) Hillary and McCain By Aaron F. Beard Sung to the tune of “Pinky and the Brain”© Warner Bros. Studios With the sincerest apologies to the creator’s of the cartoon “Pinky and the Brain”©; given the choices we have, I may write-in Pinky and the Brain in the 2008 Presidential Election.  I changed a great deal more of the theme song than I really needed to—which is quite scary if you think about it. If you are unfamiliar with the cartoon you should go listen to the theme song first; you can find it here:...

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Carnival on an Orbiting Frog

I so totally love the name of the blog hosting this weeks Space Carnival: Orbiting Frog. Go ride the Frog around the carnival!

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Your Place in Space

Your Place in Space

It is very difficult to get a three dimensional perspective on our galaxy. Stuck as we are inside it, it took us a long long time to figure out how far we are from the center, and how far we are from the outer edge. It is hard to figure out which is up and out toward Andromeda when we don’t exactly have a perspective on which way is down out of the galaxy. It is all just a three dimensional mental mess. But there is software to help. Keith Ebbeke send me a link to some neat software called “Where is M13?” This straightforward software allows you to see side-by-side views of the galaxy from the top down and edge on and see where things are located from both perspectives at the same time. You can also switch to a sky view, and see where things are...

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