Saturday, November 7, 2009

Carnival of Space #128



Hi, and welcome to this week's Carnival of Space – Edition 128, making a rare stopover in the Southern Hemisphere. Although I am based in Melbourne, Australia, I decided to demonstrate extra-ordinary tolerance and inclusion by actually featuring the historic Sydney Observatory in the banner, which is a bit of a collage today. The Sydney Observatory is at the southern end of the harbour bridge and Luna Park is at the northern end. A great Astronomy/Carnival link. There is a long local history of Melbourne/Sydney jokes and rivalry, so we are putting all that aside today to bring you a truly Australian edition of Carnival of Space.

If you are new here, a “Blog Carnival” is a whistle stop tour of Blogs around a particular community of interest – in this case Astronomy/Space. It features the best and most interesting highlights of this week’s articles from the contributors to the community. The purpose is to share, develop, encourage and network with those of a similar interest. (Its also traditional to blend the themes of Carnival and Space in the banner).


Before we get started, 2009 is the international year of astronomy, and sadly it has gone so quickly and there is only 53 days to go. How have you celebrated? What have you done differently to make the most of “Our Year”? Feel free to complete the following test and score your involvement in this - the international year of astronomy. (If you feel bold enough you could post your score in the comments section of the blog.

I shared my telescope & night sky with children (20 Pts) [ ]
I participated in a cornerstone IYA 2009 project(20 Pts) [ ]
I did a presentation on Astronomy to a group (20 Pts) [ ]
I donated Galileo Scopes to a school/friends/org(20 Pts) [ ]
I went to a star party (20 Pts) [ ]
I logged better than 30 hours on my/a telescope (20 Pts) [ ]
I participated in a research project (20 Pts) [ ]
I reported Astrometric data to IAU/MPC/other (20 Pts) [ ]
I reported Photometric data to AAVSO/other (20 Pts) [ ]
I subscribed to a PodCast/VodCast/RSS/other (20 Pts) [ ]
I wrote an article, blog, podcast or e-learning (20 Pts) [ ]

Ratings >180 – Thought Leader, >140 – Activist, >100 Enthusiast, >60 Participant, <20When’s it on again?
Fear not….. there is still time for you to make it memorable!

So now I’ll get off my soap box…… its Carnival Time!!!! Enjoy! Disclaimer: If there are any real Sheldon's out there, I appologise in advance for my Big Bang Theory jokes.

In the money!
Who has "lifted" the prize money in the various competitions in the race to build, or at least provide proof of concept, for a space ladder? A number of our Bloggers cover this issue off this week with exciting reports from the various competitions. This a very hot topic at the moment and I'll leave our presenters to provide commentary.

Brian Wang at Next Big Future has been a regular on this issue and talks about the Lasermotive team's efforts.Brian also takes a look at another race in Spain to build a Space Hotel.



Cosmiclog also covers off the efforts of the competitors in the Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge and comments on the Space Ladder competitions and discusses other NASA initiatives.

Chuck Black from A Curious Guy takes a look at commercial space satellites.

Ken Murphy at Out of the Cradle rounds up over 50 scholarship and competitions opportunities.


Hard Science!
Chris from Weird Warp takes a look at various forms of space travel being researched and proposed.

e-Astronomy pioneer Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy reviews and comments on the first Hubble image after it's recent "makeover". The stunning image of M83 stellar nursery is worth a look.

The Chandra Blog features a bio on Chandra researcher Leisa Townsley. The Chandra Mission also posted details of research on a Neutron Star that has a carbon atmosphere.

Steinn SigurĂ°sson from Dynamics of Cats also follows up the Chandra article and explores the implications with an interesting article - Diamond encrusted dragon's egg, perhaps Dr Who's [BBC] diamond planet Midnight is not so far fetched.

Emma from We are all in the Gutter shares a cool movie on Blazars from NASA's Fermi Gamma ray telescope.

Paul from Centauri-Dreams writes about a paper by Claudio Maccone that analyzes the Sun's
gravitational lens not only in terms of imaging distant planets but as
a huge amplifier of radio signals.

A very relevant current topic is addressed by Cheap Astronomy beginning an epic two part podcast on Greenhouse Earth.

Steve's Astro Corner has some great suggestions for some maintenance tasks on your favorite glassware and eyepieces.

Regular contributor Stuart Atkinson from Cumbrian Sky has a great article about the naming of martian meteorites found by the Opportunity and Spirit rovers....its all a bit of a mash-up. I was also struck by the most amazing job title I have ever heard of - "Payload Uplink Lead for the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer" I wonder how you fit that on a business card ;-).


Fun Stuff!
So we begin the fun stuff with Beyond Apollo blog by David Portree and a rather interesting article about calculations for the perfect three planet manned fly-by.

Colony Worlds compares some Trekkie Techie with Lunar mission needs.

Ryan Anderson departs from his usual blog at Martian Chronicles to share an article he wrote for a Science writing competition. Ryan becomes Q for a day and investigates "James Bond" like qualities of future Martian Probes. Ryan invites us to vote for his entry if we feel so inclined. [Why, wouldn't that tamper with the statistical validity of the sample voter pool? I have one thing to say - Sheldon.....its halo night!!.....now where was I?]

Robert Pearlman at the Collect Space blog "roadtests" the Space Station CRV emergency Crew return vehicle in a test with some great photos and a fascinating article.

If you're looking for a Lagrange Point to escape the pull on your space and time, Louise Riofrio, from A Babe in the Universe, does an entertainment review on Max Q a Band playing in a cafe across the road from the Johnson Space centre. Louise also explains the significance of the band's name - we love a blend of Art and Science here at AARTScope.

This past week was Halloween, and I can report that an increasing number of Australians now participate in this annual ritual. Tracy from Tiny Mantras has been having some fun with Solar System costumes in Being Jupiter for a week.

On a more serious note.....
The first moving object that comes anywhere near the Hill Sphere in 2012 is going to send the conspiracy whackos looking for Google Ad revenue into a frenzy on their suddenly authoritative conspiracy sites (Someone hold up the sarcasm sign for Sheldon) ;-). Alice from AstroInfo has some great info about how to talk to your friends about 2012. With the release of the recent "action/disaster" movie, it is a good time to have that conversation with your kids and friends.

At Simostronomy Don't miss Mike Simonsen's touching tribute to the passing of legendary AAVSO member - Dick Wend.

Finally returning to the Observatory theme with which I began, my own blog AARTScope features a tour of the worlds most quirky, amazing and bizarre private observatories - the roll on/off roof edition. Some of these have to be seen to be believed.



Thanks for stopping by........look out for the next episode in about a week. For the "back issues" and future info goto Universe Today - Carnival of Space.

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