Astral

Beer Can Camera Tracks Movements of the Sun

by on October 10, 2011

Justin Quinnell made a pinhole camera using a beer can and photographic paper. He left it near The Angel of the North, near Gateshead, UK, and removed it after three months. Here you can see the movement of the sun, tracked across the months, with the highest ribbon being June 21st. You can check out how to make your own Drink Can Camera, here.

Via New Scientist
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P.S. Chatterbox 24-09-11

by on September 24, 2011

The P.S. Chatterbox, a new feature at this site, is a weekend news feed of recommended readings and viewings.

Obama on Palestine- Give me a two-state solution, but not yet


Why the Middle East will never be the same again

Personally, I think “Palestine” is a fantasy state, impossible to create now that the Israelis have stolen so much of the Arabs’ land for their colonial projects. Go take


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Timelapse Video of Earth from the ISS

by on September 18, 2011

There are no words to describe how awe inspiring this is. This was shot in late August from the International Space Station as it orbited the Earth. Enjoy.


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Time Lapse Video of Pic du Midi

by on September 12, 2011

Watch this amazing time-lapse of the skies above the Pic du Midi Observatory and acclaimed Zombie Fortress in the Pyrenees.

Video by Romain Montaigut.…
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Incoming: Hurricane Irene

by on August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene as seen from the International Space Station.

From 230 miles above the Earth, cameras on the International Space Station captured new views of powerful Hurricane Irene as it churned over the Bahamas… …Irene is moving to the northwest as a Category 3 hurricane, packing winds of 120 miles an hour. Irene is expected to strengthen to a Category 4 storm as it heads toward the Outer Banks of


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Watch: Tempest Milky Way

by on August 25, 2011

Cue overly dramatic movie trailer music! Randy Halverson’s time-lapse video of storms and stars is incredible. Unless you’re defusing a bomb, the music is a bit over the top, though.

Tempest Milky Way from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

An extended version and stills can be found, at dakotalapse.

Via Laughing Squid.…
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Bringing SETI Back…

by on August 11, 2011

In April, SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Institute–yes, there’s an institute for that!) announced they would have to put E.T. on call-waiting….indefinitely. Due to the loss of governmental and institutional (i.e. UCBerkley) funding SETI was forced to shut down the 42-antenna Allen Telescope Array.

Generous donations from members of the public as well as high profile individuals (Jodie Foster, who played Dr. Ellie Arroway in the Carl Sagan film Contact
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Ancient Computer Recreated in Lego for Some Reason

by on July 26, 2011

The Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient mechanical computer recovered off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera in 1901. It’s an incredibly sophisticated piece of machinery that was used to precisely calculate eclipses and other astronomical locations. It’s said to have been created around 100B.C., but it’s manufacturing is comparable to a 19th century Swiss timepiece. Watch as an Apple engineer – who should probably be fixing my iPhone instead …
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Watch Out For That Sun!

by on July 20, 2011


I’m not sure this is really a comet (mostly made of ice and dust – but I really don’t know what I am talking about here), but we do have video of something small crashing into the Sun thanks to the Solar Dynamics Observatory. And that is cool.

If you are having trouble seeing the object in the video, the picture below will help you figure out where to …
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The Celestial Hotel

by on June 25, 2011

Hey folks, I think I’ve found the perfect place to survive the (hopefully) forthcoming Zombie Apocolypse:

The Pic du Midi: It’s a French observatory in the mountains of the Hautes-Pyrénées. What makes it amazing, though, is that you can actually stay overnight in the hotel, atop the mountain. For 229 euros, you get a night’s stay, dinner, and use of the observatory.* Only accessible by cable car, it’s out …
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Best Letter Response. . .EVER

by on June 16, 2011

Charles Bennett has a beef with the wording of an article title in Science“At long last, Gravity Probe B satellite proves Einstein right”.

I find myself frequently repeating to students and the public that science doesn’t “prove” theories. Scientific measurements can only disprove theories or be consistent with them.

Instead of going on about the philosophy of science at length, let’s just quote the spot-on quote from
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That’s Entropy!

by on June 1, 2011

Mocking the cosmologists

The first episode of season 4 of the podcast the Infinite Monkey Cage, previously profiled here, is up. In it, hosts Robin Ince and Brian Cox, along with a panel made up of comedian Paul Foot, science writer Marcus Chown and geneticist Steve Jones, tackle What We Don’t Know (about 96% of the universe and about how genetics really operate) which is a question addressed …
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