Roland Roberts's blog

Milky Way Gets a Little Bigger

There's a New York Times Science article from yesterday reporting on recent measurements indicating that the Milky Way, our home galaxy is bigger than previously thought. We now qualify as a peer of the Andromeda galaxy. The critical measurement was how fast we revolve around the galactic center. The faster we're going, the more massive our galaxy must be to hold us in.

Math Evolver, needs to evolve a bit more....

Math Evolver is a game by DimensionM used to teach pre-algebra to middle school students.  While perhaps not quite as exciting as Halo, its very good.  Good enough that my older son is willing to actually think in order to play the game (at least when I won't let him play Halo which, of course, requires very little thinking).

Moon, Jupiter, Venus Conjunction

Well, I'm a bit late putting this up, but I took some pictures last Monday night of the conjunction between the crescent moon, Jupiter and Venus. 

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The image was taken with a Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT) and a 70-300mm zoom at around 200mm focal length. The insert shown is Jupiter and two of its moon can be clearly seen.

Bill B Science Song and Dance

The most recent issue of the National Science Teacher's Association newspaper included information on some groups with fun science songs. Having just wasted, er, spent some time looking at music videos on YouTube and the artists' web sites, I thought I'd share.

Another Reason to Buy a Wii

And this one is geeky instead of gamey. Er, I didn't quite mean that it was stinky, but anyway...

I first read about it in technical journal (I forget which one, they all sort of blur together in my aging brain), but apparently I'm behind the curve on this one (another sign of advancing age) as its all of the Internet at this point.

Geeky Physics Videos

If you're into geeky videos, you'll find some at the AIP Journal Chaos YouTube site. Some of the videos are fascinating, like the one currently highlighted on their page, which shows thermal convection. Watching it is kind of like staring into the campfire, it's mindless, but somehow soothing. If' you've got a Lava lamp, the convection video will look quite familiar...

No Child Left Inside!

October 12-18 is Earth Science Week! PS 102 will be kicking off the Astronomy Club that week and unfortunately, we don't have our first outdoor event planned until the following week on Oct 24 (see "Upcoming Events" in the sidebar). The week's activities focus on in-school lesson plans (with suitable opportunities to do the "in-class" out of doors). The American Geological Institudte is sponsoring the activities and have put together some material on the Earth Science Week web site for students and teachers.

Mercury Flyby

On Monday, Oct 6, MESSENGER made it's second pass around Mercury. The spacecraft doesn't have enough fuel to just pull up to the planet Star Trek style, so it has to make a series of looping passes, shedding a little velocity and angular momentum each time. But it wasn't all navigational changes; MESSENGER took the opportunity to take a few more pictures as it flew past. Details are at the official web site.

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