May 30, 2017

23.01.11: A Hail of Anti-Matter?

Lightning (& antimatter?) as seen over Astroguyz HQ…

An anti-matter barrage may be underway high overhead. Recently, NASA scientists have released evidence that antimatter in the form of positron emission may be created right here on Earth during terrestrial thunderstorms. The evidence comes from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, designed to monitor extra-galactic gamma-ray bursts. Since its launch in 2008, Fermi’s Gamma-ray Burst Monitor instrument has detected 130 of what are known as Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes, (TGF’s) generated by lightning. [Read more...]

3.10.9: NASA teams up with the NWS.

2" hail stone recovered near St. Froid Lake, Maine. (Photo by Author).

2" hail stone recovered near St. Froid Lake, Maine. (Photo by Author).

Did you know that rain drops flatten as they fall to Earth? NASA has been putting some of its high tech toys to use, aiding in the battle for accurate and timely local weather prediction. The University of Alabama in Huntsville has paired the National Weather Service with NASA’s Short term Prediction Research and Transition team, or SPoRT, to combat fast evolving weather. Physically co-located in the Nation Space Science and Technology Center, SPoRT provides real time analysis and assessment of the weather situation. This can be critical, from monitoring hurricanes and tornadoes to counting lightning strikes and the intensity of hail storms. For instance, traditional radar can only profile a shower in the horizontal direction. NASA’s Dual Polarimetric Doppler radar, however, can provide a 3D analysis, differentiating hail from rain and measuring water content to warn of potential flooding. Further tools, such as the GOES-R next generation weather satellite will give forecasters a powerful new tool when its launched in 2015. Coupling with NASA will also mean better weather forecasts for a clear night sky near you!

Convertable Gloves for Cold Weather Astronomy.

Gloves.

Astronomy Rocks! (Photo by author).

   Ahhh… it’s sometimes the simple things that make all the difference in observational astronomy. Now that we are once again spending northern hemisphere winter in sunnier climes (i.e. Hudson, Florida), I reminisce about all those chilly nights in Maine and Alaska under the stars. [Read more...]

Keeping Vehicles Running in Sub-zero Temperatures

Winter time temps provide their own “unique” challenges when it comes to vehicle maintenance. More than ever, we rely on our vehicles as our lifeline in the winter, especially in a rural setting. I grew up (and currently reside) in Northern Maine, were temps routinely drop below 0F.

[Read more...]