Breaking science news and multimedia, heavy on astronomy and physics (and heavy on citing) New vids, pics, articles, and the occasional research post for ResearchBlogging.org.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Tattoo Prep

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I'm writing my tattoo artist and thought I'd share this progress with you all.  I'm planning on a CMB tattoo eventually put on my right inner bicep.  

CMB=Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation


Also known as the "afterglow" of the big bang.

In general, the radiation is everywhere and between 2 and 3 Kelvin.  That's 2-3 degrees above absolute zero, in the vague range of a half meter wavelength, in the microwave region.

I realize this material might take a few minutes to grasp, but this is the BASIC image for my tattoo along with the information behind it.  I'm going to have to really, really mess with the thresholds of colors and the contrast in order to dumb down the intense amount of detail in this.  THIS is the universe's background radiation IF you cancel out the light coming from the milky way.  It's like a world map.  It's a map of the entire universe. 
Image Credit: WMAP Science Team

So yes, I'll have to photoshop the bitch for a while.


http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/CMB-DT.html
The first paragraph and multiple images in the link above explain fairly simply how we can cancel out the glow from the milky way and make a picture of JUST the universe's glow.  Many WMAP images (WMAP is the probe gathering the data) have red lines along the center.  THAT is the milky way.

Technically this picture is called "The Internal Linear Combination Map" which is "computed using criteria which minimize the Galactic foreground contribution to the sky signal."

For more:
http://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/product/map/current/m_images.cfm



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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Walrus Tricks - WARNING: May Cause You To Develop Terminal Cuteness Overload

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I don't often cover biology, and this video COULD be scientific, with the obvious extensive background information involved.  For now, however, simply enjoy  

THIS AMAZING "TALKING" WALRUS



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The Owl Nebula And A Treasure Trove of Nebulae Pics

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On Nebulae: Deep Sky Videos, run by University of Nottingham, released an absolutely incredible video on the cycle, the life and death of stars.  The narration and interviewing is interspliced with stunning visuals, which I have screenshotted and posted along with the vid below.  It's a damn treasure trove!



Video Credit:Deep Sky Videos


A quirky little bit: A Pokemon artist impression of the Owl Nebula by Ross




Owl Nebula (Technical name: (Messier Object) NGC 3587 Pic 1



Owl Nebula Pic 2





Gas expelled from a star




The Dumbbell Nebula



The Ring Nebula




An artist's impression of the future, where the Sun gobbles up the Earth




During narration, an example of a beautiful Nebula.  I wish they had labeled it.


This video really got me off on the right side of the bed today.  Absolutely beautiful!



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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Real Time Travel - Einstein Discovered Time Dilation

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Einstein's Special Relativity included the discovery that physical speed slows time.  The first definitive experiment was done very simply.  There were two synced atomic clocks.  One was stationary.  The other was sent in a jet that flew around the world and back.  It turned out that yes, there was a time discrepancy after all.  THEN people really started to pay attention.

This video talks a bit about REAL time travel, the proven kind, which is actually called Time Dilation.


Einstein Inspires Dr. Mallett's Dream of Time Travel


Video Credit:


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

DARPA Puts Out Flames With Speakers

It almost seems like this news story was tailored just for me!

DARPA

+

FIRE
 
+

AUDIO

Yes, I'll take it, thank you.

DARPA started the Instant Fire Suppression Program (IFS) in 2008.  Round 2, which we'll see in a second, uses audio; but the first method out of this program was a "flame-suppression system that used a handheld electrode to suppress small methane gas and liquid fuel fires."

The second phase, using acoustics, was developed in 2011.
This video below shows something new and quite amazing. The exact description of what's going on here is very hard to reword, so here is their explanation:

"First, the acoustic field increases the air velocity. As the velocity goes up, the flame boundary layer, where combustion occurs, thins, making it easier to disrupt the flame. Second, by disturbing the pool surface, the acoustic field leads to higher fuel vaporization, which widens the flame, but also drops the overall flame temperature. As the same amount of heat is spread over a larger area, combustion is disrupted."
 

Video Credit: DARPA



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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Spider-Man Lizard

Spider-Man!


Spider-Animal! 


Yes, it's a real animal, a lizard called the Mwanza Flat-headed Agama.  Indigenous to Africa, specifically Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya.  If you're familiar with the vast coloration differences with the gender of same species birds, this lizard is similar.  The females are a lackluster brown, while the males sport the awesome coloration. 

A female Mwanza Flat-headed Agama


There are deviations to the male's specific combination of blue and red in the species, but the pop-culture-friendly version is common.  Furthermore, the males can change their color at will according to their mood, similar to Spider-Man's Venom.  The only difference is that the color change of the lizard is not due to extraterrestrial symbiotes.  Venom DOES have a rather ridiculously long tongue though.   

Venom: Look at the tongue on his alter ego!
Lizard inspiration?



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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Higgs Hubbub Explained By Theoretical Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel

Occasionally we get some science news so exciting that it's covered everywhere.  If it's big enough, it's even on TV.  I love it when this happens.  I love it when the average Joe gets excited by science, and I wish it happened more often.

These stories I normally don't cover.  This, however, is too perfect a clip from a great guy.

On the HUGE STORY OF THE HIGGS:
One of my favorite scientists, theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel explains it perfectly in a recent TV interview:


Video Credit: Ethan Siegel / Ben Lacy / KGW Channel 8 Portland

Read his blog HERE.  It's top notch. 


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Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm Printing And Framing My Own NASA Posters Cheap - How To Easily Edit Dimensions

Lately, I've been going to Costco and blowing up some of the hi-res NASA/ESA/ESO photos that you can get so easily on their websites.  ($6 Poster Print 16"x20", so cheap!  Try to avoid FedEx or Kinkos)  With the incredible definition available in these photos, a 16"x20" looks downright amazing.  I'd like to try a bigger frame sometime soon.  This is a photo of the Cat's Eye Nebula that I printed and cropped for a 15"x15" frame, seen here hanging on my wall:

 

So far as terrestrial views of the heavens, this site I found has intensely blown me away.  One of these I will frame, I swear to you now.

http://www.technology.am/29-amazing-space-photos-by-tunc-tezel-142519.html

 

I'm seriously considering printing out this brand new image below.  Perhaps as a 16"X"20, but instead of cropped, easily edited. (this image is square, as you can see) In order to fit a non square frame just apply black in the background of a digital canvas in your preferred dimensions.  IMPORTANT: True black (default black) may not be the exact shade at the border of one of these pictures.  Use the "eyedrop" tool to grab the exact shade of black from the edge of these photos.  These workarounds are wildly convenient.  Thanks, Space, for being black!

 

For imaging editing, there is a free photoshop clone, open source and legal, called GIMP.  It's completely appropriate, don't mind the acronym.  It stands for the GNU Image Manipulation Program.  I've used it for the past decade, it's wonderful.  Feel free to try it out here


Hubble Sees Red Giant Blow a Bubble 

This image is full res.  (click, then right click>save as)

This description of this new image is straight off of NASA's site.  The wording is too perfect, so since it's public domain, here's a copy-paste.

Camelopardalis, or U Cam for short, is a star nearing the end of its life. As stars run low on fuel, they become unstable. Every few thousand years, U Cam coughs out a nearly spherical shell of gas as a layer of helium around its core begins to fuse. The gas ejected in the star’s latest eruption is clearly visible in this picture as a faint bubble of gas surrounding the star.

U Cam is an example of a carbon star, a rare type of star with an atmosphere that contains more carbon than oxygen. Due to its low surface gravity, typically as much as half of the total mass of a carbon star may be lost by way of powerful stellar winds. Located in the constellation of Camelopardalis (The Giraffe), near the North Celestial Pole, U Cam itself is much smaller than it appears in this Hubble image. In fact, the star would easily fit within a single pixel at the center of the image. Its brightness, however, is enough to saturate the camera's receptors, making the star look much larger than it is.

The shell of gas, which is both much larger and much fainter than its parent star, is visible in intricate detail in Hubble’s portrait. This phenomenon is often quite irregular and unstable, but the shell of gas expelled from U Cam is almost perfectly spherical.

Image Credit: ESA/NASA


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My New Favorite Wallpaper by Andrew Steele

Gorgeous, I found this today over at Optics of the Day.
As an avid collector of images such as these, I had the immediate compulsion to apply it as my desktop wallpaper.  Try it out! 

Titled "Pastoral Paraselene," this image was taken by Andrew Steele in Shropshire, England

Click for full version. (right click>save as) -- All desktop fit settings look great except for tile.  I prefer "Stretch" on this.

Image Credit: Andrew Steele



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Thursday, July 5, 2012

song of mine on fusion metaphor

As a musician, I post occasionally about my work.  This track is vaguely science based.  It centers upon the metaphor of built up stress causing fusion ignition, as the character "explodes."

I just found this deep in my computer.  I had no recollection that the *first "finished" version of this song of mine had completed vocals with ME SINGING.  I now remember that I was beating myself up a bit about tiny imperfections that other people don't notice so much, as well as odd almost-accent that I like, but was self conscious about.  I had my friend Rebecca Reinhardt singing on the released version.



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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Protostar V1647 Orionis

There's brand new coverage out of NASA Astrophysics on x-rays and magnetic hijinx from a low mass star in its "toddler phase."  This star, V1647 Orionis, is in a beautiful and newly found nebula, M78.




Video Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



Here are a couple hi-res photos from NASA's page on this story.
(Right Click>Save As)


The protostar V1647 Orionis


Image Credit: Gemini Observatory


Nebula M78


Image Credit: T. A. Rector/Univ. of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF


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Computer Wallpaper: Titan and Saturn

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) over at NASA features a Cassini picture of the moon Titan in front of Saturn.  Absolutely beautiful.  I immediately opted to grab this one for my computer wallpaper. 

Set to "fit" "fill" or "center," but not "stretch."  Center is working best for me, with black as the fill in background color.  This leaves the majority of the image content to the right of my icons. 
Right click>save as.

"Humanity's robot orbiting Saturn has recorded yet another amazing view. That robot, of course, is the spacecraft Cassini"


Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/J. Major


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