All (known) Bodies in the Solar System Larger than 200 Miles in Diameter

All (known) Bodies in the Solar System Larger than 200 Miles in Diameter: Just saw this courtesy of Phil Plait’s “Bad Astronomy” blog and thought it looks AMAZING. I think it’s really worth noting exactly how sad Mars is as a contender for supporting human life unassisted. *Sniff* so much for “The Martian Chronicles”…

Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Marc
on May 28, 2007 at 9:18 am

Lunar Eclipse last night

Did you get a chance to catch last night’s lunar eclipse?

There was a little bit of cloud in the sky making it somewhat hazy but you could clearly see the dark shadow of the earth on our newly risen moon.

Where I live it’s difficult to get a clear line of site to the horizon so I went out just after sunset to see the moon. By then it had risen high enough in the sky to clear the trees in the area and about 4/5ths of the moon was still dark with a hint of orange/red in the shadowed portion.

I saw a lunar eclipse when I was much younger but was fortunate enough to see it much closer to the horizon where the optical illusion of the moon appearing huge combined with the natural emphasis on the red end of the spectrum common to objects that low in the sky made for a surreal experience.

Last night’s eclipse was pretty cool and was a nice experience, it’s a nice simple experience that showcases the wonderful reality that is our planetary system.

Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Marc
on March 4, 2007 at 3:58 pm Sky calendar

Full Moon from Space.comThis site is excellent for laying out the simple astronomical events for the coming month. Telling you the date and time of the events along with great little pictures to help you visualize what’s about to come. It also includes handy icons with the event descriptions so that you will know the best tool to use for observation. i.e. Naked Eye, Binoculars or Telescope.

Unfortunately, tomorrow night will be a bust for trying to observe the Moon and Saturn in close proximity (always cool to actually see the moon moving relative to  a background object. But the forecast is looking pretty sweet for Saturday’s Total eclipse moonrise.

Check it out — NightSky

Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Marc
on February 28, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Marietta Clear Sky Clock

The “Clear Sky Clock” is a forecast that comes courtesy of the Canadian Meteorological Center and use useful for determining if viewing conditions will be good in a particular area at a particular time. If you don’t live in Marietta, don’t worry, there are over 3,000 other locations with associated clocks. Click on the image below for details regarding how to read it and to help you find other clocks that may be closer to you.

Check it out below, happy viewing!

Click here to see if image doesn't appear

Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Marc
on February 12, 2007 at 5:43 pm

The Hubble Deep Field

While watching this 6 minute short on the Hubble Deep Field, I could not help but hum to myself the music that goes with.. “Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown… Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that evolving, and revolving…”.

Monty Python aficionados will recognize this little tune. It is so truly mind-bogglingly awe inspiring to glimpse even the tiniest aspect of the immensity that is this universe we inhabit.

Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Marc
on January 12, 2007 at 11:46 pm

Carl Sagan remembered

This is the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan’s death (Dec. 20, 1996) and if you’re in the blogosphere you’ll likely see many of the science-oriented sites post entries about this sad milestone.

There is not much that I can say that has not already been posted before about Dr. Sagan’s role in growing our knowledge about the planets and moons of our local solar system as well as in popularizing the Cosmos in general. Click here for his Wikipedia entry.

My own experience with Dr. Sagan’s work began way back in 1989 when I was on vacation in Morocco for a couple of weeks. That was one of the first vacations I’d ever been on where I was truly a “stranger in a strange land”. There were a couple of French TV stations available from France in the North, but most channels were in Arabic (Berber, I believe). There happened to be a copy of Carl Sagan’s book “Cosmos” available, and over the course of those two weeks I managed to read it cover to cover.

While I enjoyed that experience immensely, it is not for that work that I really respect Dr. Sagan. I disagreed with some of his stances on political issues (nuclear holocaust and environmental concerns chief among those),  but I greatly respected the skepticism and mental rigour that he expressed so clearly in my favorite of his works, “The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the dark”. I have this book on audio tape and feel it is a must read / listen for anybody interested in understanding what skepticism is really about.

I truly regret that Dr. Sagan can no longer produce such wonderful and thought provoking works anymore and that he is not able to see the incredible discoveries we’ve made both within our own solar system and throughout the Cosmos over the past few years.

Posted under Astronomy, Opinions, Skepticism

This post was written by Marc
on December 20, 2006 at 12:20 pm

Relative sizes of our planets and various stars

[Update 2009 12 22 – It was just pointed out to me that the domain under which this is hosted belongs to an idiot. While I have my own views about the amount of attention and assistance the Jewish people get from our media and government, the owner of this website is completely over the top.

This does not take away from the scientific relevance of this astronomy page. End Update]

For some great pictures showing the relative sizes of our solar system’s planets as well as some contrasting the size of our sun with that of other stars out there, click here.

Posted under Astronomy

This post was written by Marc
on July 9, 2006 at 2:03 pm