Archive for the 'Astronomy' Category

What time is it?

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

A Day in the Life of a (mostly) Human Sundial.

“Als Schulprojekt der Astronomie-AG des Progymnasiums Rosenfeld haben wir für einen Schultag eine lebende Sonnenuhr realisiert. Jeder sollte für 10 min Gnomon einer Sonnenuhr sein. Alle 20 s wurde ein Foto aufgenommen und somit der Tag von 8 bis 16 Uhr zugebracht. […] Man achte im Video auch auf die Turmuhr zum Vergleich (alles MESZ).”


“The astronomy club of the secondary school in Rosenfeld (Germany) made a living sundial for one day. Everyone was the gnomon for 10 minutes. A photo was taken every 20 seconds throughout the day from 8am to 4pm. […] Note the time on the clock tower for reference (all times CEST).”

Link via Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Mission Control

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

The Guardian: Apollo 13: celebrating the unsung heroes of mission control. “Ahead of a new documentary about Nasa’s ground crews, astronaut Jim Lovell talks about the team that saved his life during 1970’s ill-fated moon mission”.

“It is unlikely there is anyone who has more appreciation for the work of Nasa’s mission control than Captain Jim Lovell. His Apollo 13 mission was nearly destroyed when an oxygen tank in its main command module exploded. His spaceship was crippled and only narrowly coaxed to a safe return to Earth thanks to his crew’s heroic efforts – and the crucial aid of mission control.

Lovell was commander of Apollo 13 but was forced to abandon his mission’s planned lunar landing when the blast, which occurred 200,000 miles from Earth and two days into its journey in April 1970, triggered a major loss of power. Cabin heating stopped working, the water supply was disrupted and carbon dioxide began to build up. Lovell and crewmen Jack Swigert and Fred Haise were facing death.”

The movie is available here on demand.

Link via Garret.

Sieben auf einen Streich

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

NPR the two-way: Astronomers Find 7 Earth-Size Planets Around A Nearby Star.

“A small, faint star relatively close by is home to seven Earth-size planets with conditions that could be right for liquid water and maybe even life.

The discovery sets a record for both the most Earth-size planets and the most potentially habitable planets ever discovered around a single star.

The strange planetary system is quite compact, with all of these worlds orbiting their star closer than Mercury orbits the sun, according to a newly published report in Nature.

“If you were on the surface of one of these planets, you would see the other ones as we see the moon, or a bit smaller,” says Michaël Gillon, an astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium. “The view would be very impressive.””

Das Dreikörperproblem

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

… musste ich in meinem dritten Semester an der Uni für den Schein in theoretischer Physik Mechanik programmieren. Das sah natürlich längst nicht so schick aus wie diese Website, und davon abgesehen hatte ich einen Fehler im Programm, den ich erst nach mehreren Tagen gefunden habe – es war ein Vorzeichenfehler.

PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado: My Solar System. (Flash)

You can simulate the orbits of two, three or four objects and change the mass, initial position and velocity for each one individually. Try to find stable or chaotic orbits!

The Martian

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

I don’t often have the time to read a book in one sitting, but being home with a cold yesterday I managed to read The Martian by Andy Weir. I was hooked after the first few pages in the morning and finished the book on the same day in the evening.

Of course now I have to watch the movie starring Matt Damon, but today I also did some research on the book and the author.

YouTube: Adam Savage Interviews ‘The Martian’ Author Andy Weir – The Talking Room (55 minutes).

The New York Times: ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir.

“‘‘The Martian’’ is the most prescient science fiction movie I have seen in some years. I don’t say this lightly. And as is the case with many in my field, my own awakening to the very existence of science was spurred by science fiction — a 1953 film called ‘‘Spaceways,” which I saw at a very young age, living on a U.S. military base near St. John’s, Newfoundland in Canada.”

Sylvester “Jim” Gates is a physics and mathematics professor and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland. He serves on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

NPR All Things Considered: Sandstorms, Explosions, Potatoes, Oh My: ‘Martian’ Takes Its Science Seriously.

“The Martian is the brainchild of author Andy Weir, who wrote the blockbuster novel that inspired the film. As Weir tells it, he’d always longed for some science fiction with greater emphasis on the science.”

The author, Andy Weir, has done two Reddit Ask Me Anythings: 3 February, 2014 and 28 January, 2015.