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Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014/07/26


G’day, and happy Caturday. Something has been missing from this post lately, and I’ll address it now: Beginning this week, I am putting ze cats back into ze Caturday, as though there wasn’t enough mischief afoot from the ebil Feline Overlords this week!

Also, just last evening, I got word of the completion of the art featuring the cute mini-Cthulhus to be used on The Unspeakable Blogs hub page which links to this site and nine others. I’ll be updating the hub, and be redoing the headers for all ten blogs accordingly sometime this weekend. *muppet flail*

So, here are the links, and without further delay, the kitty pics!

Photo on 6-30-14 at 14.28 #2

20140611_183109

A Solar Filament Erupts

Spacecraft Rosetta Shows Comet has Two Components

Cave with Aurora Skylight

IC 4603: Reflection Nebula in Ophiuchius

ALMA Milky Way

Cosmic Crab Nebula

NGC 253: Dusty Island Universe

Images of the Week:

Spiral Galaxy M74
Source: Hubblesite.org
Galaxy Triplet Arp 274
Source: Hubblesite.org

Weekly Astrognuz:

Having Fun with the Equation of Time

Asteroids: Two space rocks named after science communicators

“Mars” Crew Emerges from Simulation after 120 days

Lego Hubble: Let’s get this model made

Astronaut Spots Violence over Gaza, Asks what Extraterrestrial would Think

Earth from space: What is the object in this astronaut photo

Video: Warp into a Star Nursery 3,000 Light Years Away

Falcon 9 reuseability:  Video of splashdown after successful launch

Mapping Dark Matter 4.5 Billion Light-Years Away

Kepler 421b: Exoplanet with the longest orbital period found

To Help Mars Rovers Phone Home, NASA Asks for Ideas to Close Looming Communications Gap

Cycloid Motion: An illusion based on spirographics

Apollo 11 Splashdown 45 Years Ago on July 24, 1969 Concludes 1st Moon Landing Mission

The Antennae: Rolf Wahl Olsen photo of colliding galaxies

How Do We Terraform Venus?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Still fighting the wrong fight

Wil Wheaton and the Science of Star Trek:

Weekly Stellar Picks:

Confirmed Exoplanets

Keith Cowing and the ISEE-3 Rebooters | Planetary Society.

The Diversity of Habitable Zones and the Planet | SETI Institute

Space Images | Planetary Society

NASA Mars Spacecraft Prepare for Close Comet Flyby | NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014/07/05


English: An illustration of Wolf-Rayet star R1...

English: An illustration of Wolf-Rayet star R136a1, the most massive star known. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day! This week has been…interesting, in the manner of the well-known but possibly apocryphal Chinese curse. Yesterday morning there was a storm, though just on the outskirts of hurricane Arthur. Personally, I’m more wary of hurricanes with female names — no reason, other than first-hand experience in dealing with several, my favorite being Isabel in 2003. We didn’t lose internet this time, nor even power save for a few seconds during the beginning of the wind and rain, and no significant flooding in my area either. We got lucky.

I’ve been working on more Project Logicality entries for this site, though I’ve been remiss on posting with most of my other sites. I’m still experimenting with themes for the blog hub, and the logos picturing cute baby cthulhus are not finished, so the hub is not yet ready to go public. I’m also considering making one of my test blogs into a full-use private forum for more personal entries, and if that goes through, I’ll send out invitations to any interested parties when it’s ready.

So here’s this week’s astrophenia, and a happy Caturday to you all!

Galaxy Cove Vista Revisited

Peculiar Elliptical Galaxy Centaurus A

Wolf Rayet Star 124: Stellar Wind Machine

NGC 4651: The Umbrella Galaxy

Along the Cygnus Wall

OCO-2 Night Launch

M106 Across the Spectrum

Images of the Week:

Galaxy M106
Source: Hubblesite.org
The Doomed Star Eta Carinae
Source: Hubblesite.org

Weekly Astrognuz:

Gravitational waves: Orbiting white dwarfs provide good test of Einstein’s idea.

A Brief History Of Gliese 581d and 581g, The Planets That May Not Be

OCO-2 Takes the A-Train to Study Earth’s Atmosphere | NASA

Red Dragon: Low Cost Access to the Surface of Mars using Commercial Capabilities | SETI Institute

The Moon’s two faces: Why are they so different?

Chandra Image May Rival July 4th Fireworks

Newfound Frozen World Orbits in Binary Star System | NASA

Invention for Sampling Mars is Honored by NASA | SETI Institute

Mars One Soliciting Your Research Ideas for 2018 Robotic Red Planet Lander

NASA Television Coverage Set for Orbital-2 Mission to Space Station | NASA

Hurricane Arthur: Atlantic’s first hurricane seen from space.

Astrophoto: A ‘Mistakenly’ Beautiful View of the Crescent Moon and Leaning Tower of Pisa

Big PIcture Science Radio Show – Time for a Map | SETI Institute

C/2012 K1 Pan-STARRS: Comet seen by WISE

Liquid Light Show:

Weekly Stellar Picks:

Extreme Planet Makeover: Adjust the parameters of your very own simulated planet!

The International Space Station Interactive Reference Guide

An Animated Proton-Proton Fusion Reaction

Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014/06/28


G’day, and good morning. With this installment, I’m putting to the test some ideas on this and other posts on my 10 sites: 8 WordPress blogs, one Blogger site,and my Tumblr page.

I’ve updated the header of the About page on all of my WordPress sites to just that. Why? First, including references to myself in the title seems immodest to me, and it is painfully obvious to me that neither that reference or the fact that it’s about a blog needs to be pointed out to anyone with the literacy to read a blog. People aren’t generally stupid in my view, though ideas can be, including many of those staunchly held by the otherwise rational and intelligent.

I’ve gone for a bit more consistency in the installments posted on the WordPress sites as regular and semi-regular features, that require less rewriting from the original template drafts they are posted from. I’ve also devised a rough posting schedule over all 10 sites as a whole, and here it is: a minimum of 10 entries posted each fortnight across all my blogs.

That requires an activity level of at least 10 entries every 14 days, giving the equivalent of 4 days each fortnight or 2 days each week of effective free periods on other, non-blogging activities, including housework, study, attending to the needs of the Feline Overlords, and seeing after my own health concerns, among other factors that may be involved, including any emergencies that may need addressing.

Given that I currently post most often on this site and on my Tumblr page (about 5 queued posts daily on that venue), this gives me enough wiggle-room to blog and get things done even on a busy schedule during a week.

This post, for example, will be published anywhen on an average of from 1 to 2 times per two weeks, as will Sunday’s “Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup,” and also those individually lengthy entries such as the Impudent Algorithm’s ongoing reviews of the book, “Indra’s Pearls: The Vision of Felix Klein.”

Entries that require less time to schedule or post will be published with greater frequency, such as this blog’s Wordless Wotan’s Day, Fractals of the Week, and any miscellaneous entries that lend themselves to quicker posting will be posted about once each week barring incidents preventing live or queued posting for whatever reason.

The hub page for this and all of my other sites has yet to go online, and is still under construction. I’ve only to have the final theme design chosen and logos for each blog completed before it will go public.

To serve as a stopgap measure, I’m publishing this morning a sticky-post at the home page of this venue linking to all of the other 9 blogs, including the Blogger and Tumblr sites for convenience until the hub page, using a WordPress site as a static page, is complete and ready.

I’m from this point on going to update the About page’s monthly blog stats for each site at least once each month at the end of the month, pending any circumstances allowing more frequent updating, but no more than 2 major updates on that or other portions of the About page each month.

Well, that’s the dope on the overall schedule. I’ll post when I can without being obsessive or endangering my health by interfering too much with my sleep patterns, and thank you all so much with your generosity and patience as readers.

I know far too many awesome people, though that’s a tiny microcosm of the total number of awesome people I don’t know or have never met, and that’s only considering members of the human species on this planet, much less the sum total of all totally awesome beings of species in the entire universe we don’t know of or don’t acknowledge as sapient beings just yet.

Talotaa frang.

Persistent Saturnian Auroras

Four Lasers over Mauna Kea

The Iris Nebula in a Field of Dust

The Hercules Cluster of Galaxies

Conjunction by the Sea

Martian Anniversary Selfie

Orion Arising 

Images of the Week:

The Heart of the Whirlpool Galaxy
Source: Hubblesite.org
The Doomed Star Eta Carinae
Source: Hubblesite.org

Weekly Astrognuz:

LightSail is Ready for Launch! Join Us as the Countdown Begins

House GOP: Threatens to defund EPA.

Mysterious X-ray Signal Intrigues Astronomers

The latest on NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission

Earth from space: New York City from the ISS.

Hubble Instrument Scientist Bruce Woodgate Passes

“Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication”

Test Version of Orion Spacecraft Touches Down in the Arizona Desert

New NASA Images Highlight U.S. Air Quality Improvement

Asteroid 2104 HG124: Radar imaging gives size and shape.

Webb Telescope Microshutters Journey into NASA Clean Room

The Senate’s Flawed NASA Bill Hits a Bump in the Road

New Horizons: Hubble will look for KBOs as future targets.

Bushfires Continue in Australia’s Northern Territory

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s View of Tycho Central Peak

NASA’s Hubble Finds Dwarf Galaxies Formed More Than Their Fair Share of Universe’s Stars

Health Studies, Visiting Vehicle Preps Aboard Station Wednesday

The Massive Perseus Cluster

Game Changing Cryotank

Arctic sea ice: Melt season is getting longer.

The Cosmos in Video:

Weekly Stellar Picks:

Rocket Science 101

Laser Bees | The Planetary Society

SETI | The Planetary Society

A Clearer View of Hazy Skies : Feature Articles

Severe Tornadoes near Pilger, Nebraska : Natural Hazards

Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014/06/14


English: The Skeptics Guide crew at TAM 9 Las ...

English: The Skeptics Guide crew at TAM 9 Las Vegas 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Caturday. This week was a busy one, and it will be likewise for the next several. I apologize for being a bit slow on posting, but there was a lot going on, and this Monday, I’ve my monthly doctor’s appointment, so my posting schedule is a bit uncertain. I’ll try to get Monday’s post on the Algorithm done, and for this blog, the Weekly Roundup on Sunday.

I’ve done a bit of work on Twitter, and will be updating my lists soon, then beginning the creation and building of new ones. I was looking at those I subscribe to, and was a little surprised to see some that a late friend of mine, the former blogger formerly known as Skeptic Cat, had set up when I followed him on Twitter. Though the links of those lists are dead, as his account no longer exists.

It felt a little odd to see those lists in the column, considering that his account was deleted before 2011, but it also brought back good memories of our exchanges then. I’ll never forget that, not as long as I can help it. “Say what you will about ___, he was always very good to cats,” is a paraphrase of something he had said, spoken of someone else, but true for him as well.

Since he quit blogging, and given the current conflicts in the skeptical community (such as that is) I’ll admit my interest in posting on mainly skeptical topic matter has declined, though I’m trying to revive that. When I first self-identified as a skeptic (I still do, BTW, proudly,) I decided that the best way to be truly skeptical was to have a realistic view of, as well as all other things, skepticism and skeptics themselves.

That means that I knew from the start that lionizing prominent skeptics was a fool’s errand, that even those I admired should be seen as they are, or as they were, warts and all, as real people, never put on a pedestal or in any way hero-worshipped. That philosophy has served me well, and has, despite the current conflicts among rationalists, as allowed me to maintain my self-identity as a skeptic, rather than quitting in disgust, or burning out completely.

I never thought I was going to change the world, and I haven’t, but I’ve certainly met people who’ve changed me, and I thank them to the extent those changes have been positive. The rest I thank for showing me something new and…interesting about human behavior. The same applies to my atheistic and humanist views.

None shall be sacralized or worshipped, not people, not science, not rationalism, not any set of ideas or philosophy. All ideas are to be provisionally open to question in light of better information and arguments. Nor is that subject to sacralization either, merely the best and most reliable path to knowledge I’m aware of.

I’d rather hold the ideas I do with an optimistic yet realistic perspective: Any idea should only be valued to the extent that it actually works to achieve what it is intended to, and to the extent it may be shown not just useful, but true, and none should be held absolutely. That’s worked out well so far. I think that we really can know things with confidence, only not absolutely, and I do not fully understand the need for some that all of their claims to real knowledge be absolutely certain or rest on some ultimate authority. To me, for contingent matters of fact, that’s silly, nihilistic, and a waste of brainpower chasing mythical shadows that can never be caught. I’ve little need of or respect for ultimate authority figures as well.

Well, anyway, here’s this week’s Astrophenia, and may your Caturday be bright and filled with new understanding.

Open Cluster NGC 290: A Stellar Jewel Box

How to Identify that Light in the Sky

M51: X-Rays from the Whirlpool 

Three Galaxies over New Zealand

The Tarantula Zone

A Strawberry Moon 

New York to London Milky Way

Images of the Week:


Galaxy Triplet Arp 274

Weekly Astrognuz:

Autonomous Robots Battle for $1.5 million NASA Prize

Robotic Search for Life on Mars Brings out Human Experiences

Found! Oldest Known Alien Planet That Might Harbor Life

REPLAY: ‘Cosmos’ Webcast with Astronomy Magazine

Curiosity Captures Mercury from Mars

The Sun Pops off Two X-Class Solar Flares in One Day

Surprise! The Earth and Moon May be 60 Million Years Older Than we Thought

Mystery Solved? Why There are No Lunar ‘Seas’ on The Far Side of the Moon

The House Passes FY 2015 NASA Budget

“The Soft Landing is Not Really Soft”

A Cosmic Tadpole in More Ways than One

A Gorgeous (Non-Polar) Vortex

Why Extroverts Could Cause Problems on a Mission to Mars

Private Team to Restart Engines on 36-Year Old NASA Spacecraft

“Carbon Copy” Spacecraft Ready to Track Global Carbon Dioxide

3-D Printer to Fly to Space in August, Sooner than Planned

The Cosmos in Video:

Weekly Astropicks:

Here’s NASA’s New Design for a Warp-Drive Spaceship

Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014/05/31


Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627 (NASA, Chandra, 12/13/12)

Spiral Galaxy NGC 3627 (NASA, Chandra, 12/13/12) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

G’day, and good morning from my side of the globe. This week was interesting, and at least on my end is bound to be more interesting still. I’ve noticed a little bit of discussion going on about the strength of the evidence for recent claims of the discovery of gravitational waves, here. I’ve decided to post semi-regularly on my blogs, linked to here as The Collect Call, I am Troythulu, The Impudent Algorithm, the Gods of Terra, My Horrific Elegance, The Hypershard Dispatches, We are the Wavetouched, the Checkerboards of the Gods, and The Exohuman Journal.

These more specific-material sites (only three are general purpose, including this one) should help out with any reluctance I may have on occasion to post something, and help improve my proficiency at writing. It’s been a long time since the clunky verbiage of my early post-2008 entries, and there’s work to be done with that still.

This weekend, I’m having guests over to help pass the time, especially teh Queen of teh Fluffies, Willow, who’s appearance will no doubt fill Rockykins and Mr. Eccles with feline joy.

It’ll be a busy weekend, with the launching on the Algorithm of a series of ongoing narratives/reviews of Indra’s Pearls, a math text that reads like adventure fiction that I’m currently studying from. We’ll see how that turns out, but I’ll be posting installments each Monday or thereabouts.

Camelopardalids and ISS

An ALMA Telescope Array Time-Lapse

Star Factory Messier 17

The Cone Nebula from Hubble

Millions of Stars in Omega Centauri 

Planetary Nebula Abell 36

Satellite Station and Southern Skies

Images of the Week:

The Colorful Demise of a Sun-like Star
Source: Hubblesite.org

The Eagle Has Risen: Stellar Spire in the Eagle Nebula
Source: Hubblesite.org

Weekly Astrognuz:

Watch All The Apollo Saturn V Rockets Blast Off At The Same Time

Future Space Telescope (WFIRST) to Probe Exoplanets, Dark Energy (Video)

Weekly Space Hangout – May 30, 2014

3D Printer ‘For Weightlessness’ Needs Special Design (video)

Spitzer Telescope in Crosshairs of a Budget-Constrained NASA

New Arecibo Radar Images Show Comet Responsible for Camelopardalids is an Icy, Cratered Mini-World

Space History Photo: Little Joe Launch Vehicle

There Might Be 100 Million Planets in the Galaxy with Complex Life

Virgin Galactic Signs FAA Deal to Clear Airspace for Suborbital Flights

Video: Beyond Neptune, It Sure Is Crowded With Icy Objects

SpaceX Unveils Dragon V2 Spaceship

Astrophoto: Spectacular View of the Triffid Nebula in Narrowband

Cosmic Inflation Pioneers Snag Prestigious Kavli Prize

The Battle Against what Spaceflight Does to Your Health

Hunt Intensifies for Aliens on Kepler’s Planets

How Much Can Titan’s Sunsets Teach Us About Alien Planets?

Want to Find Alien Life? It Will Take a Lot of Luck.

Will An Asteroid Smack Jupiter in 2022?

NASA’s Voyager Probes Still Healthy After Nearly 4 Decades in Space

Chandra Helps Explain ‘Red & Dead’ Galaxies | NASA

“We’ll Find Alien Life in This Lifetime,” Scientists Tell Congress

The Cosmos in Video:

Weekly Astropicks:

The NASA Exoplanet Archive

No, An Asteroid is Not Going To Wipe Out All Life on Earth in 2041

Cassini Solstice Mission: Images

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