The Science of Galaxy Zoo

Monday night Chris Lintott, another researcher and journalist and an all around cool guy, is going to be giving a talk here at SIUE (please come if you are local – more details and links to maps here). For those of you not in a position to drive to Southern Illinois, please watch the talk on this site or over on Chris’s site. Free Videos by...

Read More

Cleaning up the Light: Astroimaging and sodium lights

Cleaning up the Light: Astroimaging and sodium lights

Yesterday I spent the day at the MidAmerican Regional Astrophysics Conference. This year this roaming astronomy meeting was held just outside St Louis at St Charles Community College. I have to say I was really impressed with the quality of the presentations and the staff took care of me extraordinarily well. One of the ones that particularly caught my attention was on the use of didymium filters to minimize the effects of sodium light on astroimages. Here are some examples: Before After In this presentation by Doug Kniffen, I learned that these photographic “enhancement” filters are fairly effective at blocking light the color emitted by sodium (and thus emitted in sodium lights). While not designed for telescopes, when employed for off label uses,...

Read More

Yes, there is water on Mars (Didn’t we know that?)

Yes, there is water on Mars (Didn’t we know that?)

In case you haven’t heard, NASA has come out and stated that the Phoenix Lander has <gasp of wonder> found ice on Mars. The little lander dug a cute little trench with its shovel and uncovered some white stuff that over the course of several days disappeared in a manner consistent with water ice sublimating (changing from ice to gas) and that was inconsistent with dry ice sublimating. Let me state for the record that watching ice on Mars sublimate from up close is just cool. Being able to say, ice behaves on Mars the way we thought it would, is important. Having said that, I also have to say that I really wish folks would quite saying that Phoenix discovered ice on Mars. Folks, if you’ve got a 10 inch or larger telescope, take it outside next...

Read More

Meet Me & Chris Lintott in Edwardsville! (near St. Louis)

Meet Me & Chris Lintott in Edwardsville! (near St. Louis)

Summer “vacation” is turning into a busy series of talks and conferences. Luckily, I’m not the only one doing all the talking. On Monday June 30, Chris Lintott, the man behind Galaxy Zoo’s ongoing goodness, will be visiting me here in Edwardsville so we can work on some plans for IYA. (Image above of Chris and I at the end of a very long but good day at AAS. And yes, I’m just that short.) As part of his visit, he will be giving a public talk here at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. (See graphic below) His talk will be at 7pm on June 30 in the Meridian Ballroom of the Morris University Center. Campus maps are here, and directions to campus are here. If you have ever wanted an excuse to drive to Edwardsville, let this be your...

Read More

Multi-periodic Variables, or Playing Sudoku with Stars

As a researcher, I have to admit that I have been a bit unfocused, or perhaps dually focused is a better way to put it. My first research gig was doing a Quasar survey at 17 using a 6-meter optical telescope. My next job had me working in radio on T Tauri variable stars at Haystack observatory using VLA data. These two projects set me up for a lifetime of intellectually ping-ponging between radio emitting galaxies (which lured me into galaxy clusters) and variable stars. Even today I find the research part of my hard drive split between 2 variable stars I need to write up for publication and a galaxy evolution project using SDSS. Diversity keeps me happy. But diversity doesn’t always make me popular. Over the years I’ve taken a lot of [insert negative...

Read More
Now live! Expect the Unexpected.
Currently offline.