Category: Carnival of Space

Carnival of Space #141

Welcome to the 141st edition of Carnival of Space. Hubble Top Star award-winner, StarryCritters is host this week to the blogosphere’s most interesting astronomy posts of the week. With Mardi Gras beginning February 16th, Galileo’s 446th birthday on February 15th, and the 20th anniversary of Voyager’s Family Portrait on the 13th, this is a great week to visit the Carnival. Strap yourselves in, we’re going for a ride.

The (maybe not) last night launch of Space Shuttle Endeavor seemed to capture the combined enthusiasm of the world including Robert Pearlman at CollectSPACE. As I was following Nancy Atkinson’s tweets, I could tell the event left her speechless. After collecting her thoughts, she had time to fill us in on her experience on her personal blog. And since we have more than 140 words, here it is included for free.

The night launch of a space shuttle is a wonderful sight, says Alan Boyle of CosmicLog. Sadly, it’s a sight we may never see again. The views gets even better when you’re in space. Tour space inside and out.

On the heels of Endeavor’s meetup to deliver Tranquility Node 3 to the ISS, Solar Dynamic Observatory soared into orbit to study the Sun. Nancy Atkinson, from our host UniverseToday, covered the SDO launch for us. Two launches are better than one. Noisy Astronomer, Nicole Gugliucci continues our coverage of SDO with more insight into the science goals. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date at the SDOisGO Tweetup, Nicole.

Also getting ready for launch at the Kennedy Space Center is SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Brian Wang at the Next Big Future tells us the private launch firm is targeting a March 8, 2010 launch date.

Next Big Future also reports on MIT work to power and move Rubik’s Cube-sized satellites, known as CubeSats. This new electric propulsion technology aims to give the tiny, versatile sats more mobility; maybe even to deep space.

Wayne Hall at Kentucky Space provides this video update from Jeffrey Manber on the work to make affordable, repeatable micro-gravity research available on the International Space Station. Not to be confused with CubeSats, the first of three planned NanoRacks, along with the first two “Cubelabs,” will fly on Shuttle STS-131 in March to the station.

Eva-Jane Lark of Out of the Cradle interviewed Hoyt Davidson of Near Earth LLC for this installment of “EVA Interviews.”

Much discussion continues about the redirection NASA announced earlier in February. Dr. Bruce Cordell, of 21stCenturyWaves explains that NASAs “New Paradigm” supports “Maslow Window Forecasts”. Aron Sora of Habitation Intention presents a counter-argument to his position in support of a lunar base.

If you weren’t wowed by the night-time launch of the shuttle, perhaps you’ll enjoy a one-of-a-kind twin auroral light show spotted on Saturn by the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists used the less well-known ultraviolet capabilities of Hubble to give us this shot. Both Emily Lakdawalla, of the Planetary Society blog and Alan Boyle, writing in CosmicLog marvel the rare double aurora.

At the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum and from the earthbound ESO VISTA survey telescope, explore the new, near-infrared image of the Orion Nebula at StarryCritters and Bente Lilja Bye’s Planetbye blog. There is a feature at StarryCritters that allows you to view the image full-screen. Click the far-right button on the toolbar to enter.

Were All In The Gutter blog, presents us with astronomical Valentines by pointing us to this video from the folks at the Sixty Symbols project. This project is a treasure trove of information. Enjoy the show.

Weird Warp takes us on a whirlwind, 10-minute ride through solar system creation. Faster if you’re a speed reader.

Continuing the sightseeing portion of this ride, tour guide Jason Perry of the Gish Bar Times, points out several features on Jupiter’s moon Io named after people in places from Dante’s “Inferno.”

While Astroblogger offers hints and tips for observing the opposition of Vesta.

Mike Simonsen at Simostronomy reminds us not to get too comfortable with what we thought we knew about galaxies. Things are changing with the Hubble Sequence as astronomers peer further back in time to see younger galaxies.

Just by changing the way we look at things allows us to see more than before. Isn’t science cool?

Ryan Anderson at Martian Chronicles explains how lasers work and talks about some common misconceptions. I still want sound effects with my laser. Pew, pew.

Steve Nerlich shares wiggly, wobbly, spacey-timey stuff at Cheap Astronomy in this final installment of his series of podcasts on light.

Speaking of spacey-timiness, StarStryder, Pamela Gay talks of annoyance and acceptance of gravity.

Adam Crowl at Crowlspace ponders a deep future view of warming white dwarfs with dark matter and the possible SETI implications.

In the strange, science fiction tie-in category of the week, Ian O’Neill, of Discovery News and Paul A. Gilster, of Centauri Dreams, explore the recent paper that calls for humanity to seed the galaxy with microorganisms ensuring life will survive even the death of our Sun. Maybe the paper’s author was inspired by “The Mind’s Eye.”

Lastly, Stuart at Cumbrian Sky writes an impassioned tribute to the Mars rover, Spirit. If only we could all click our fingers or fall asleep and find ourselves on the Barsoomian surface to help dig Spirit out. After reading this, I can’t help wondering what will happen if we don’t settle Mars one day or do a better job of documenting our space exploration. Will some future explorer stumble upon the cold rover and wonder at our intentions?

Thanks for visiting the Carnival this week. Many thanks to Fraser Cain at Universe Today and the many bloggers who make reading and hosting the Carnival such a blast. Not ready to head out yet? Stick around and continue your sightseeing at StarryCritters.

Carnival of Space #131

Welcome to the Carnival of Space #131; the greatest weekly collection of space-related blogs here on Earth and beyond! I’ll be your ringmaster for the week.

Last week was Thanksgiving here in the United States. With all the festivities, family time, trips to the science museum and indulging in the sweet stuff, I fell behind in keeping up with all the cool astronomy going on. So I’m thankful I have this traveling carnival to help me catch up and for the cheat sheet for chatting up astronomy over the dinner table provided by AliceAstro at AstroInfo. Had I done much socializing, I’m sure this primer would have come in handy.

If you’re visiting StarryCritters for the first time; Welcome! I am a science writer, web designer/developer and a JPL Solar System Ambassador. StarryCritters, a NASA Top Star winner, was created mainly to help children use their imaginations by creating stories from what they see in images taken by NASA’s Great Observatories, particularly Hubble Space Telescope. So explore the site and the universe through the amazing images. Use the tool to pan and zoom around the images. A button on the far right of the toolbar will cause the image to fill your screen with starry wonder. Feel free to play.

I’m looking at the calendar lamenting the fact that IYA 2009 has nearly run its course. Only 32 more days left to get in all that cool astronomy stuff. Astronomy never ends. What’s in store for IYA 2010? Five more shuttle flights, more auroras at Saturn, continued geyser watching on Enceladus, rooting for Spirit escaping the Martian sand trap, marveling over videos of fireballs, and more great discoveries by Spitzer and other great observatories.

At Bad Astronomy, Phil, dives deep, with alliteration, into the origin of bulgy galactic middles. You have to embiggenate the stunning images of Terzan5 from the European Southern Observatory. Or just zoom into one here.

Terzan5. Credit: ESO

Handing out the aforementioned helpful holiday chat tips is AstroInfo.

Wonder what Atlantis astronauts had for their turkey day meal in orbit? Maybe they bandied Alice’s tips about. Find out at CollectSpace.

Cheap Astronomy delivers a podcast about how the remaining space shuttle missions will finish building the ISS.

CumbrianSky shares the tale of a successful public star party. We should all have a few of these.

Fellow Jayhawk, AngryAstronomer, sets his eyes on tearing down Creationist goalposts with a discussion about a new paper on increasing “metallicity” in an aging universe.

Speculation on top of speculation at NextBigFuture. Dark Matter rockets and is the universe made to be optimized for black hole powered space travel?

If you’ve had your fill of Black Friday, Cyber Monday (who comes up with these names?) and college football, Music of the Spheres found some interesting online resources related to the final Hubble service mission that took place in May 2009.

“Climategate” is all over the news but you’ll want to read Ian O’Neill’s take DiscoveryNews.

Simostronomy catches up with legendary variable star observer Albert Jones in this in-depth “interbiew”. Jones is a powerhouse with more than 500,000 variable star measurements to his credit.

Want to make a run at that number in 2010? Algol Blinks guides first-time observers of variable stars.

Debunking 2012 madness this week falls to Steve’s Astro Corner. I’ll definitely be taking away the credit card of my teen if she falls for the 2012 hype. Right! She doesn’t get a credit card.

But hold on, we can move the Earth. WeirdWarp has the details.

Preheat at 90 for 15 minutes. Puzzled? Head over to ChandraBlog. Hint: it has nothing to do with climate change, collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, exploding suns or hurtling planets.

Einstein said God doesn’t play dice with the universe but UniverseToday tells how to play Galaxy Zoo’s latest game, Cosmic Mergers.

One of the possible micro-fossils as origianlly photographed.  © NASA

One of the possible micro-fossils as origianlly photographed. © NASA

And we’ll leave you pondering the renewed debate over the Allen Hills Meteorite (you know the one supposedly containing a fossilized Martian bacteria-like organism?) highlighted by Planetaria.


The ancient peoples saw pictures in the sky. From those patterns in the heavens, ancient storytellers created legends about heroes, maidens, dragons, bears, centaurs, dogs and mythical creatures...
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