May 23, 2017

14.02.12- A Weekend of Astronomy & Fun on the Plantation.

A grand old building! (All photos by Author).

You never know what might be in your own backyard. This past weekend, we journeyed up to Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida for an exciting adventure at the Plantation Resort Hotel and Restaurant, about a pleasant hours’ drive north of the Tampa Bay area. [Read more...]

Review: The Hooded Observing Vest from Dark Sky Apparel.

The Hooded Observing Vest in Action!

Looking for the perfect gift for that astronomy-obsessed someone in your life this Xmas? (OK… we don’t call ourselves obsessed, but you know…)

No doubt you’ve heard that same someone complain about the neighbor’s million candle-watt power floodlights, or accompanied them in a 100 mile quest for truly dark skies… if only there was a way to bring the dark skies to you… [Read more...]

25.10.11- Astroguyz at the 2011 NecronomiCon!

The ultimate in solar protection!

We came, we saw, we hung out with zombies and folks dressed like Iron Man at the 2011 NecronomiCon convention in Saint Petersburg, Florida this past weekend! A great time was had by all, as we celebrated all that was science, science fiction and fellow genres of horror and fantasy. [Read more...]

Review: Magick, Mayhem & Mavericks by Cathy Cobb.

A Classic!

Science history books are some of our favorite tomes to review. Far from being the tidy linear progression of rules and paradigms that we’re presented in High School science, the history of our current knowledge is has often been messy and hard won. And unlike political history that is often re-written by the victor, scientific history has pin-point, objective moments. Sure, we don’t know who that first Neolithic Einstein was that figured out how to smelt metal from ore, but we do know when Newton first worked out his laws of motion, or when the Laws of Thermodynamics were conceived. [Read more...]

26.05.10: SDO and the Coronal Rain.

Coronal Rain as imaged by SDO. (Credit: NASA/SDO).

Coronal Rain as imaged by SDO. (Credit: NASA/SDO).

  

   NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory continues to astound. Launched earlier this year, SDO is already providing insight into key solar mysteries. One long standing mystery has been the action of what’s termed “coronal rain.” This long documented phenomenon is caused by super heated blobs of plasma in-falling back to the fiery surface of the Sun. But until now, no one could adequately model the slowing down of this sinking material. It was as if an unidentified medium existed, “cushioning” the fall of the coronal rain. In a recent news conference, SDO scientists revealed a key culprit; an underlying area of hot gas. What makes SDO standout from previous solar observatories is its acute temperature sensing technology. Utilizing its ultraviolet Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA), SDO can probe the outer layers of the Sun’s atmosphere as never before. The picture emerging is of relatively cool (60,000 K) plasma falling through hotter material standing between 1,000,000 K and 2,200,000 K.

All of this portends to a future understanding of our Sun in intimate detail. As Solar Cycle #24 gets underway, Platforms like SDO will study our nearest star in unprecedented resolution. As Dick Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division stated; “I’ve never seen images like this…” Keep em’ coming!

Astro-event: SDO and STS-130 are go!

The Crew of STS-130! (Credit: NASA/KSC).

The Crew of STS-130! (Credit: NASA/KSC).

Two (count ‘em!) launches will light up the Florida Space Coast over the next few days; that of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-130 and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). STS-130 is scheduled to liftoff from launch pad 39A out of the Kennedy Space Center on the morning of Sunday, February 7th at 04:39 AM EST enroute to the International Space Station. Cargo includes the Tranquility connecting node which houses the Cupola, a Millennium Falcon-like window that will give residents unprecedented views and aid in spacewalks and exterior work. [Read more...]