Caturday’s Astrophenia | 2015.08.22

A NASA cassini image of dione a moon of Saturn.

A NASA cassini image of dione a moon of Saturn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good morning! This week’s video features the final pass of Saturn’s moon Dione by the Cassini probe. Doesn’t it have the power it needs to continue its mission?

Well, I think that the main problem is the probe’s running out of fuel it needs to maneuver and position itself in its exploration of the Saturn system. Once that runs out, for all real purposes, it’s game over, thank you much and goodnight, Mister McSpaceprobe!

So that means that there will be no more passes of Dione, as lovely as the moon looks to us apes on this tiny blue world far from Saturn. I hope that your weekend starts out well.

However, there’s a grey lining in the silver cloud…

I’m currently a bit worried about a friend of mine with a recent medical incident, with no word yet on his current condition.

Here’s knocking on plastic – one must adapt one’s superstitions to modern conditions, after all – that things turn out well, and a speedy return to wellness for Christopher R. Rice of the blog Ravens N’ Pennies!

I’ve had far too many people die this year alone, much less last year in addition, and that wears on me, especially close friends.

Stay cool, stay brilliant.

…and reach for the stars.

M1: The Crab Nebula from Hubble

Andromeda Rising over the Alps

Announcing Comet Catalina

Central Cygnus Skyscape

M27: Not a Comet

Sprites from Space

Little Planet Curiosity

Image of the Week:

Ring of Stars and Nucleus of Hoag’s Object Galaxy

Weekly Astrognuz:

The story behind Curiosity’s self-portraits on Mars

Tricks to Remember the Planets

The United States of Space Advocates

How to Find Rosetta’s Comet in Your Telescope

Nathalie Cabrol to lead Carl Sagan Center at SETI Institute

An August Moment to Check in on NASA’s Budget and Future

NASA Invites the Public to Send Your Name to Mars on InSight – Next Mars Lander

No Major Problems with SLS Design NASA Managers Say

Astrophoto: The Southern Owl

Lightsail Lands New Hardware for Laser Ranging

Watch the You-Know-What out of this Trailer for The Martian

Sprite: Red Lightning Seen from Space

The Dwarf Planet (and Plutoid) Makemake

Pretty Pictures of the Cosmos: Long Exposures

New Instrument Images a Young Cousin of Jupiter

Perseids: Photo and Video

Final Enounter: Cassini and Dione

The Weekly Pick:

Big Picture Science Radio Show | Skeptic Check: Skeptic Seth

Ze Cat for Ze Caturday:


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Caturday’s Astrophenia | 2015.08.15

The universe is dying, so goes the title of this week’s video… But I would add, yes, we already knew this, just not to this level of precision. It seems that nothing lasts forever, that all existence, indeed, all life, is ephemeral. It seems that short of human goals, human objectives, and the meaning and purposes we give life through our own agency, there just doesn’t seem to be meaning or purpose, at least, not outside ourselves. We can give our lives purpose, and I think that we’ve been doing that all along, even when we suppose various Purposers outside of our own selves, outside of our own social systems and mystical traditions. I think that we are the purposers, even when we think purpose and meaning are handed down from above or beyond ourselves. Is that hubris? Is that arrogance? I don’t think so. I think it’s more humble, more honest, to recognize that we are projecting our own intents and needs, and personas, upon the universe. It could very well go on just fine without us, until it too dies. I learned many years ago that nothing lasts forever. And in recognizing that, I expect nothing excessive out of the wonderful ride of life I’ve had here on Earth. I don’t want to live forever, and maybe that’s a good thing. I think eternal life would grow dull, and eventually horrific. All the more to enjoy what time remains of this life, and to demand nothing more than what life can offer.

Talotaa frang, talotaa kas, talotaa tranga sulat. (Be well, be safe, be brilliant as the stars.) ~ Kai’Siri greeting and departure salute

HCG 87: A Small Group of Galaxies

A Sagittarius Triplet

A Blue Halo over Antarctica

Milky Way and Exploding Meteor

Moonless Meteors and the Milky Way

Comet Dust over Enchanted Rock

Perihelion Approaches

Image of the Week:

Interacting Galaxies Group Arp 194

Weekly Astrognuz:

Ride Along with New Horizons on Its Pluto Flyby

Rosetta and comet 67P: Eruption at perihelion

Successful Test Firing of NASA’s SLS Rocket Engine

Sen: Space Odyssey

The Dwarf Planet Haumea

Ceres: Crater saturation

Why is it Tough to Land on a Comet?

Mars as big as the Moon: Not in 2015 or ever.

Cassini to Make Last Close Flyby of Saturn Moon Dione

Gecko Grippers Moving On Up

How CubeSats are Revolutionizing Radio Science

NASA’s Europa Mission Team Joins Forces for the First Time

One Decade After Launch, Mars Orbiter Still Going Strong

The Universe is Dying


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Caturday’s Astrophenia | 2015.08.08

G’day! Study has been a little slow this week, clipping off two days earlier this week for concluding last month’s Bengali study, and now transitioning to Tamil, at the moment revising on previous lessons for that language and preparing for the creation of mnemonic tools to help me study more efficiently.

I find all three languages, including Hindi, quite mellifluous, quite pleasant to the ear, and while not easy to learn without the drive to do so, fun and interesting in any event. Learning a language, to the extent of fully assimilating it, opens new paths of thought, to think in that language, to think in the patterns a native speaker would, and that’s part of my goal.

How will that affect my worldview?

I’ll have to post more on those things pertaining to all three languages I’ve learned so far, it’s just that I hate gratuitously showing off, but I also feel that I ought to put up or shut up…

One day I’ll be fluent in all three languages, maybe even in something approaching a native accent with each, but in the mean time it’s worth the effort to learn these languages even for their own sake.

May you always have clear skies and a heart for wonder, and as my alien Kai’Siri would say…

Talotaa frang.

Apollo 17 at Shorty Crater

A Proton Arc Over Lake Superior

Virgo Cluster Galaxies

X Ray Echoes from Circinus X 1

Stereo Pluto

Full Earth, Full Moon

Curiosity’s View

Image of the Week:

Hubble Interacting Galaxy NGC 5060

Weekly Astrognuz:

Megan Amram: New Web series promoting women in science.

Stealing Sedna

Hiroshima: what the hell were we thinking?

The Moons of Saturn

DSCOVR: Moon transits Earth

Could We Terraform Jupiter?

Asteroid 1999 JD6: Contact binary pinged by radar.

The Planet Mercury

MSG-4: A new European weather satellite.

Curiosity Drills Deep into First High-Silica Martian Rock

Reboot the Suit: Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit fundraiser successful.

The Dog Days and Sothic Cycles of August

Mike Huckabee: Wrong about volcanoes and global warming.

Will SETI’s Unprecendented New Program Finally Find ET?

Philae: Rosetta comet lander’s first science results.

Kirk, Spock, and Sulu go to Charon!

Life Above 5000ft: Colorado + Utah

Pusheen Travels to Mars:

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Caturday’s Astrophenia | 2015.07.18 | Pluto Special!

Charon compared with Eris, Pluto, Makemake, Ha...

Charon compared with Eris, Pluto, Makemake, Haumea, Orcus, 2007 OR 10 , Quaoar, their moons and Earth. All to scale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Pluto week! So, with the passing of New Horizons past Pluto’s orbit thus ends the first era of humanity’s reconnaisance of the solar system. There is much, much more to be seen, as we now know that the dwarf planet is the largest body of the chilly Kuiper belt, past the orbit of Neptune.

Even now, we select targets for further exploration, like Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s Enceladus, as we continue to receive data from our probes in the outer reaches of the system. And we’ve only begun to receive the vast sum of information possible from New Horizons.

The late Carl Sagan once said, “The sky calls to us…If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day journey to the stars.”

These are very exciting times to live in. Have a fantastic weekend!

Talotaa frang, talotaa kas, talotaa tranga sulat.

New Horizons Launch to Pluto

Last Look at Pluto’s Charon Side

New Horizons Passes Pluto and Charon

Pluto Resolved

Fifty Miles on Pluto


Fly Over Pluto

Image of the Week:

Weekly Astrognuz:

Gaia: Galaxy map of stellar density

Mysterious Mountain Revealed in First Close-Up of Pluto’s Moon Charon

Pluto: from Hubble to New Horizons

How Could We Destroy the Moon?

Art: Pluto’s features predicted in 1979

Three-Tailed Comet Q1 pansSTARRS Lights up Southern Skies

Global cooling: No, we’re not headed for a mini ice-age.

Catch a Fine Lunar Planetary Grouping this Weekend

Pluto: New Horizons closest approach

Jupiter twin discovered around solar twin |

Celestial Fireworks: Star Cluster Westerlund 2:

PLUTO MARS – Outbound Probe [A Capella Science]

Ze Cat for Ze Caturday:

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Caturday’s Astrophenia | 2015.07.11

English: Leonard Nimoy at the 2011 Phoenix Com...

English: Leonard Nimoy at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With no big to-do about it, I’m bringing back this blog’s astroscience and Astronomy Picture of the Day feature. This weekend, the New Horizons probe is getting closer to its flyby of Pluto, planet or not, and the its first detailed surface photos. I’ve heard that there are even names picked out for any features that may be discovered, Spock, for example for a possible mountain, to honor the late Leonard Nimoy‘s Star Trek role, as opposed to the Terran child psychologist of the same name ;-) I’m continuing from here a feature suggested by stellar blogger and authoress Sharmishtha Basu “Ze Cats for Ze Caturday,” because as the personal pet monkey of the dread Feline Overlord, the diabolical Mr. Eccles, it would just not be Caturday without cats.

So, good morning to all, and as Kai’Siri say…

…Talotaa frang.

Zeta Oph: Runaway Star

Colorful Clouds Near Rho Ophiuchi

The Milky Way from a Malibu Sea Cave

In the Company of Dione

5 Million Miles from Pluto

Messier 43

Geology on Pluto

Image of the Week:

Galaxy M106. Click for macrofication.

Weekly Astrognuz:

Pluto’s Heart Revealed as New Horizons Probe Starts Flyby

Comet Life. No.

Once Around the Sun with Jupiter

Crash Course Astronomy: Meteors

Falcon 9 Rocket Failure a Huge Blow to SpaceX: Musk

Supernova: What would happen if a star exploded near Earth?

Is Kapteyn B Not to Be?

Labeling Pluto’s Topography | SETI Institute

News | Searing Sun Seen in X-Rays

Legendary Band Styx Meets Styx Discoverer, Mark Showalter | SETI Institute

News | NASA Selects Leading-Edge Technology Concepts for Extended Study

Earth and Mars may have shared seeds of life | SETI Institute

 News | With One Year to Jupiter, NASA’s Juno Team Prepares

Glimpsing the Solar System’s Birth:

Ze Cats for Ze Caturday:

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup 2015.07.05

XS_XXXGood day! I’m back to posting after a long period of reading and study the past few weeks. Last month, most of my study time involved lessons in Hindi, with some new study and revising of Bengali, on which I shall be focusing more this month.

I’ve gained an understanding of the basic vowels and consonants of Hindi via its Devanagari script, and am now filling in gaps in my knowledge of the graceful and intricate script of Bengali. I’m mostly focusing on the version spoken in West Bengal, with some of that used in Bangladesh as well.

Each month, I devote most of my language study to one spoken and written tongue, with the rest of study on other subjects and revising of prior study. I wish first to gain the competency to write fiction and poetry in the vernacular, and of course to improve my everyday usage as well. I’m not quite there yet, I think. Next month, I’ll resume Tamil as the main subject of study.

This morning, I’ve scheduled updates on all five of my blogs, my hub-page The Unspeakable Blogs, of course my Tumblr site, My Horrific Elegance, This blog, the Call, my Blogger site, The Collect Call, and my two remaining WordPress blogs, The Checkerboards of the Gods, and The Prank Call, my recent personal blog, with some earlier posts recently transferred from this site’s archives.

I’ve been updating the layout of my sites as well, at least the WordPress ones, with new Category organization and better use of SEO techniques for all subsequent entries where possible. I’ve added links to the blogrolls for each site, improved navigation via widget layout.

I have bad news. Checking my financial status and online expenditures, I cannot afford to pay $50.00 per year for this blog’s media file and ad-blocking upgrades, so those will expire sometime next year.

I don’t blog regularly enough to make a Patreon account worth the while of any interested Patrons, so I’ll have to blog cheap. So next year, ads will come back, but again, they are WordPress’s, not mine. I’ll continue promoting my peeps’ indie-published books through linked widgets in the Call’s sidebar.

As always with stuff Kai’Siri say,

Talotaa frang.

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