Of Audio Books and Guilty Pleasures…

It is spring (or at least pretending to be spring in the middle of the country. Temperatures are in the 70s F (low 20s C), flowers are in bloom, and the birds are LOUD. For me spring means 2 things: no more classes and lots of weeding. It also means that I have time to explore new books. I say explore because I’m actually more likely to listen to audio books then to read physical books now a days. There, I said it, I listen to books. Please don’t hate me for it. This isn’t to say I don’t like reading paper books. Back when I had a subway commute (which I actually miss for many reasons), I’d chew through a couple books a month. Now, I don’t have those random minutes for paper books except when I fly (or ride the subway in...

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And then there were 3: Jupiter’s trio of red spots

And then there were 3: Jupiter’s trio of red spots

When I saw this new press release, my first thought was “Good lord, there’s another one.” This response was loaded with about the same emotional energy I give sparrows in the attic. Sure, I love wild birds, but sometimes (like when they come into the house), I’m just not sure how to react other then to get a box and take them back outside. Red spots on Jupiter are quite cool – who doesn’t like a hurricane that can’t harm humans? – but I don’t know what causes them, and I have no idea why they are suddenly breeding like rabbits elephants, and I know I’m going to get bombarded with questions the next time I’m at a star party (which is June 21 and then again June 28). I like questions. I like red...

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If it’s Thursday, it’s Carnival Time

They are actually setting up a Carnival a couple block from my home in the city hall parking lot. I wonder if my iPhone and I can ride both the Space Carnival and town carnival at the same time… This week’s Space Carnival is located on Catholic Sensibility. Have a great time (no dramamine required).

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A new way to find Supernovae: SN2008D

A new way to find Supernovae: SN2008D

In case you haven’t heard, on January 9, 2008, astronomer Edo Berger (working with Alicia Soderberg) noticed something fuzzy emerge in fresh Swift data, and that something fuzzy turned out to be the first supernova ever caught in the act of exploding. This discovery is fabulous for a variety of reasons. First off, there is the “Oooo, Cool Explosion” factor inherent in Supernovae, and it is particularly cool because it was watched from moment 0. Second, it is uber cool because this observation confirms several theories on how supernovae function (and also probably rules out several lesser theories). So, explosions and cool science all in one. What more can a girl ask for? How about a new standard way to find Supernovae? That is also what this...

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Common Misconceptions

Let me start by saying, this is Phil’s area of expertise. That said, there are certain things that as an astronomer I face over and over and over and over and … well, you get the picture. And some of them I just don’t understand. There are the jokes, of course – Oh, you’re an astronomer? Can you tell me my horoscope? or Oh, you’re a cosmologoist? I’ve always wanted someone to tell me my colours. There are the “Let me ask you a question that you won’t want to answer” personal questions – Are you a Christian? or Do you believe in aliens? And then there are the questions that leave me wanting to run away from the person – When the Mayan calendar ends will there be a doomsday in 2012? No, really...

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