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.

Mag 5 skies in Brooklyn?

Well, not quite, but if you're in NYC and reading this tonight (Oct 3) go outside! I spent a few minutes on our front stoop around 7:15 pm and noticed how clear the sky seemed to be. Then using my hand to block out the street light at the end our our cul-de-sac, I let my eyes adjust as was surprised to notice that I could see all four stars in the "body" of Delphinus. The faintest of these is delta Dephini, is listed as magnitude 4.43.

Lowdown on the sun

There's an interesting article on the solar wind on Science News today. For those of you too young to remember (and, ahem, those of us old enough to start having trouble remembering), the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft launched back in the 1970s are still plugging away returning interesting data on the nature of the solar wind from way past Pluto.

Linux Groupware Frustrations

I was asked to look into groupware for a grant project. Okay, I know there are several freebies out there that shouldn't be too hard to set up. So I looked around and did a little reading and saw that really, it was hard to choose. I mean, there are some that are not well developed, but beyond some threshold, its hard to choose without actually using the thing just to see how it behaves. So, I started installing them on my laptop to play around with.

NGC 7000 Preliminary Image

We spent the long weekend in upstate New York at a friends house on the Delaware River. Naturally, I couldn't resist taking the astrophotography equipment. I took the AstroTrac, the laptop, and everything needed to shoot with my Canon 350D. Friday night was a wash-out, but that was expected. Sunday night looked like it might work, so I set up everything. But by the time I got the boys settled into bed, the fog rolled down the river bed and sent me in.

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