AAS219: Austin, TX

AAS219: Austin, TX

I’m currently at the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, TX. I’m here for just two days, and due to meetings, my coverage may be somewhat limited, but I’m going to do what I can to cover press conferences. The last couple meetings I’ve been at, I’ve found myself tweeting and not blogging. Now, with Google+ a new option exists and I’m going to try an experiment. In the mo+ment, I’m going to work writing short stories on Google+ and then link them to this post. Here are the things I’m going to try and follow. I’ll add links as I attend them. You can follow me directly on Google+ at http://gplus.to/starstryder (All times are GMT-6 / Central time) Monday 9:30 a.m.: THROUGH A LENS DARKLY ...

Read More

Universal Education

Universal Education

Here in the USA (or I should say there, since I’m currently in France), education tends to be somewhat nationalistic. It has to be. Teachers are tied to state and federal learning standards and if students don’t learn what is specifically listed in those standards, and specifically tested along those standards, schools are considered to have failed. While the national standards were written with the best of intentions to create a more literate population, they have had a stifling effect on creative teachers and creative learning environments. People like me do what we can to get the “fun stuff” (I’m biased toward thinking Astronomy goes in that fun category) into kids outside of school and I think we’re creating some pretty good things. What is amazing to me...

Read More

Lunar phase visualization contest

Lunar phase visualization contest

Right now I’m sitting in the main ‘ballroom’* of the NASA Ames conference center. I’m here for the NASA Lunar Forums, which are hosted by the NASA Lunar Science Institute, which is housed at NASA Ames. (As one might guess, there are NASA meatballs everywhere). It is a good meeting, filled with good content, and all the latest good news from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The multi-hat wearing Nancy Atkinson is here writing stories for Universe Today and recording podcasts for 365 days of Astronomy. I’ll leave it to her to talk science. While she’s busy doing the fun stuff, I’ve been in and out of meetings, and working to plan great (I hope!) things for the future. Coming up on October 8, 2011 (and on TBD dates in...

Read More

AAS Poster: Tweeting Astronomy

AAS Poster: Tweeting Astronomy

Back in October when AAS abstracts were due, I decided to submit something that would force me to think, program, and do something just for fun and not for grants. My original idea was to (utilizing Many Eyes and Processing) do a data visualization of how all the followers of many different astronomy tweeting groups are connected. Why? Two reasons: I wanted to know how much we are just talking to ourselves (if all of my followers follow Phil Plait, why RT?), and I wanted to know what side interests draw people together (Do people systematically follow all things Moon related?). My goal was to start with a group of selected users – NASA related folks, Zooniverse related folks, and people involved in Astrosphere’s projects (365 Days of Astronomy,...

Read More

AAS Day 1: Cassini & the Saturnian Rings

AAS Day 1: Cassini & the Saturnian Rings

Cassini entered orbit around Saturn in 2004 after a roughly 7 year journey through the solar system. For 5.5 years it has weaved through the Saturn system, in an orbit that has carried it near the moons and over the plane of the disk. Through all of its imaging it has done a whole myriad of science, but at the core of this body of work has been the pursuit of information regarding how are the rings maintained and how do the evolve over time. From observing Enceladus’s geysers feeding the G ring, to the discovery of Daphnis in the Keeler gap, this mission is opening the door to new objects, new physics, and new understanding. Understanding all this data requires modeling how ring material – generally too small to image with Cassini’s many meter...

Read More

A Voorwerpish Comic

A Voorwerpish Comic

Sometimes, as an astronomer, I get to do some really weird stuff. This summer is one of those times. I actually, thanks to project PI (i.e. lead) Bill Keel, got an opportunity to help produce a comic book telling the story of how a Dutch school teacher found the light echo of a once bright Quasar. Light echos, like sound echos, for when waves (in this case light waves) bounce of a surface and reflect back to an observer, arriving after waves that took a more direct path. A man on a cliff may holler, with his initial outcry reaching you in factions of a second, while the reflection of his voice off a distant outcrop of rock may reach you a few moments later. Trying to figure out that a random green blob of gas is a light echo was anything but easy. In this comic...

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