Sunday, November 26, 2006

Janus and Epimetheus

This is Saurns moon Janus.

Janus [JAY-nus] is the sixth satellite of Saturn. It was discovered by Audouin Dollfus in 1966 and was named after the god of gates and doorways. It is depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. Janus has an irregular shape with a size of 196x192x150 kilometers (122x119x93 miles) in diameter. It is heavily cratered with several craters 30 kilometers (19 miles) in diameter. The pervasive cratering indicates that its surface must be several billion years old

And this is Epimetheus.

Epimetheus [ep-eh-MEE-thee-us] is the fifth satellite of Saturn. It was discovered by R. Walker in 1980. Epimetheus was the son of Iapetus and brother to Prometheus and Atlas. Epimetheus means hindsight in Greek. It has an irregular shape with a size of 144x108x98 kilometers (89x67x61 miles) in diameter. It is traversed by several large and small grooves, valleys and ridges. Several craters larger than 30 km can be seen on its surface. The pervasive cratering indicates that its surface must be several billion years old.

Epimetheus and Janus share the same orbit of 151,472 kilometers from Saturn's center or 91,000 kilometers above the cloud tops. They are only separated by about 50 kilometers. As these two satellites approach each other they exchange a little momentum and trade orbits; the inner satellite becomes the outer and the outer moves to the inner position. This exchange happens about once every four years. Janus and Epimetheus may have formed from a disruption of a single parent to form co-orbital satellites. If this is the case, the disruption must have happened early in the history of the satellite system.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Its a monster

Look at this beauty!!

"Please wait while one of the largest mobile machines in the world crosses the road. The machine pictured above is a bucket-wheel excavator used in modern surface mining. Machines like this have given humanity the ability to mine minerals and change the face of planet Earth in new and dramatic ways. Some open pit mines, for example, are visible from orbit. The largest excavators are over 200 meters long and 100 meters high, now dwarfing the huge NASA Crawler that transports space shuttles to the launch pads. Bucket-wheel excavators can dig a hole the length of a football field to over 25 meters deep in a single day. They may take a while to cross a road, though, with a top speed under one kilometer per hour."

I'd love a go on one of those!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Fogbow!

" Is that white arch real? What is being seen is a fogbow, a reflection of sunlight by water drops similar to a rainbow but without the colors. The fog itself is not confined to an arch -- the fog is mostly transparent but relatively uniform. The fogbow shape is created by those drops with the best angle to divert sunlight to the observer. The fogbow's relative lack of colors are caused by the relatively smaller water drops. The drops active above are so small that the quantum mechanical wavelength of light becomes important and smears out colors that would be created by larger rainbow water drops acting like small prisms reflecting sunlight. The above striking image of a fogbow was taken last week with the Sun behind the photographer. Close inspection of the far right of the full image will show one of the two suspension towers of the Golden Gate Bridge in California, USA."

Ah the perils of cut and paste

Didnt even know fogbows existed!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Hubble Deep Field

I have been reminded how cool the Hubble telescope Deep Field is. By pointing the telescope at a seemingly empty patch of sky, and leaving the exposure open, they have captured these amazing shots of how densely populated the universe is. Thousands of galaxys stretching into the visible distance. And each one may contain life!

But Hubble is also a time machine. Everything it can see is from the past. These galaxys are billions of light years away, which means what we are seeing are galaxys that are billions of years old when we see them.

Including this photo of galaxy cluster Abell 2218. Abell is SO fat and its gravity is so strong that it is warping the light from galaxys behind it. It is called gravitational lensing and it makes light from behind it warp around it. You can see multiple images stretched and warped like a lens around it. It also amplifies images, making visable galaxies so far away that they could never be viewed with conventional instruments. The circled area shows a galaxy that is visible only because of the gravitational lensing. When they measured the red shift in the light, they discovered that the galaxy was 13 billion light years away, making the image 13 billion years old. The oldest thing ever seen by far.

Cool, huh?

Saturday, November 11, 2006


A better few days at poker. Played four $20 multi tournaments over three days. Finished in the money in all of them. Made the final table in two! Won $800.

Horray. Poker god status may soon be mine! Or pride cometh... We shall see.

The fantastic photo is a time-lapse shot of the International Space Station passing over a crater on the Moon.

Cool, huh?

Thursday, November 09, 2006


They are still taking cool photos out there.

I dont even know the name of this nebula, but sure is purty!

This next one is called the Ghost Nebula.


Hope you are all well out there in blogging land.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

So close, but yet...

Came 11th in the local poker tournament. It started paying out at 9th!! So close. Oh well. Lucky to be there. Was down and nearly out at one point. I was in for 1600 and I only had 1500 left. Someone put me all-in. With less than a blinds worth of chips left I called in the dark (not having looked at my cards). He turned over Ace Queen hearts. A very strong hand. I turned over two Aces!! What a time for them. Anyway that gave me enough chips to last to eleventh. So close...

Here is a beautiful picture of the Moon rising over an observatory in Chile.

As Boart might say