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You are browsing the archive for 2009 February.

28 February 2009

Scientific Facts That Are Not True

I have wanted to write this post for some time now. It is basically a list of things you know are true, but aren’t. You may very well know most of them, but I’d wager there will be at least one that you are surprised about. Fact: The hottest layer of the atmosphere is the Mesosphere. Not really true, if you use the average Joe’s definition of hot! Temps. in …

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26 February 2009

The Most Distant Man Made Machine

When I hear a scientist, talking about some astronomical object, and they say something is (for example) 8 billion miles away, I cringe. No doubt, the reporter asked for the distance in miles, or kilometers, because that unit of distance is familiar to most people. Does it really tell you anything? I say no. Yes, it tells you it is very far away, but nothing much more than that. To really understand these distances, …

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24 February 2009

NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory Launch Fails

I watched last night as the NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory launched from California. What looked like a successful launch, ended with the spacecraft falling into the Pacific Ocean just short of Antarctica. Apparently the protective shell around the satellite, failed to separate.  The extra weight meant the rocket could not get enough velocity to make it into orbit. The observatory reached an altitude of over 300 miles, but then fell …

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Two Things

Have you seen Comet Lulin. I spotted it tonight here in Huntsville Alabama. Dim and green, just next to Saturn. Sky and Telescope magazine has an excellent article with charts to help you find it. Do use binoculars. It will be hard to see with the naked eye except in very dark locations. www.skyandtelescope.com A viewer here in the Huntsville area sent this pic. Thanks to Bryan Shirkey of Madison …

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23 February 2009

The Best Radio Station On The Planet – BBC Radio 4

My Mom likes to tell me of listening to radio programs like “The Shadow” and Soap Operas like “The Guiding Light” on the radio when she was little. She remembers clearly running all the way home from school the day they got their first television set. Since the advent of TV, radio has changed dramatically. Especially here in America. I think it has changed for the worse. An exception is …

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22 February 2009

UK Met Office New Publication

The UK Met Office has put out a very good pamphlet on Climate Change. It is aimed for the general public and is very well done.  Check it out here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressof fice/myths/bigpicture.pdf Later, Dan

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20 February 2009

A Great Year to Look Up!

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy. Many different scientific organizations will have activities this year. I began myself by showing on air the incredible picture below. This is what is left of a giant Supernova observed by Tycho Brahe in early November of 1572. Actually the whole world observed it! Supernovas in our own Milky Way Glaxy are very rare. The kind of event that would make every astronomer …

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17 February 2009

Constraining The Feedbacks in Earth's Climate

When you boil it down to extreme simplicity, there is only one thing that controls how hot or cold the earth is. The amount of radiation we receive from the sun. Oh, but if it were that simple! If you run the numbers using the Stefan Boltzmann’s ( E= Sigma * T exp 4 ) equation, you will come up with an Earth temp. of WAY below freezing! In reality …

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15 February 2009

Climate News from The Windy City

I wanted to attend the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Chicago this weekend. I’m a member, and it promised to be really good. Alas, a heavy year of traveling ahead, meant that there was not a budget for it. Some interesting, and disturbing news delivered there today. Dr. Chris Field of Stanford made a significant announcement.  The rate of CO2 rise, in the last 8 years, is running well ahead …

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12 February 2009

A Cosmic Point One Zero and Birthday Wishes to Darwin

The Hubble telescope is back, up and running, To celebrate, NASA released a cool picture. The galaxies here are 400 million light years away. They look like the number .10 no?? So what happened is thought to be this. The galaxy on the left passed through the blue ringed galaxy on the right. This caused the ring to develop and knocked the center of the blue galaxy off to the …

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