Rings You Didn’t Expect

Saturn has rings. Big news eh? Well, sort of. That’s because there’s a humongus ring around Saturn that went undiscovered until just recently because it’s not visible to the human eye, not even through a standard telescope. And the artist’s conception of it makes an excellent computer background.

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Some of my library connected friends may find these retorts funny as well as rude.

Star Trek under the stars looking Up

Tonight was the cap to the orientation at the UofR, and the movie night on the Green was well done. There was one technical glitch during the showing of “Up” [8/10], but “Star Trek” [10/10] ran smoothly.

Star Trek was awesome under the stars. Saw two shooting stars tonight, and the ISS. I announced its appearance to the crowd, but few were interested it seemed. It went overhead at 8:30, and the little kids there saw it, but the one at 10:02 was less impressive, barely making it over the RIC building before blinking out of sight. It flies over again, brightly, at 8:52 PM Saturday night in Regina.

400 years of the far away being nearby

The telescope is 400 years old now. Google let me know with a clever graphic (like they often do for big events and holidays).

(I got popups when I opened the following link.)

[…]Just over 400 years ago, Galileo–then chair of mathematics at Italy’s University of Padua–got word that Dutch glass makers had invented a device that allowed viewers to see very distant objects as if they were nearby.

The mathematician soon acquired a Dutch instrument, and on August 25, 1609, he presented an improved, more powerful telescope of his own design to the senate of the city-state of Venice. The government officials were so impressed with Galileo’s telescope that they rewarded the professor with a higher salary and tenure for life at his university.

At the time, Galileo was touting the telescope for commercial and military applications, such as watching ships at sea. But in the fall of 1609 Galileo turned his telescope to the heavens, setting into motion a new kind of science: telescopic astronomy.

–Victoria Jaggard

Northern Lights in July

Lara and I got a treat on the balcony last night. Besides sampling the local honey brown micro-brew, the sky lit up and confirmed that it was northern lights (aurora borealis) that I’d seen overhead earlier. It’s hard to tell until it really gets going, because the light pollution from Regina is very bad.

Northern Lights in Regina

It’s unusual, because there are no sun spots visible right now. NLCs are being seen a lot recently too.

40 Years Ago The Moon Was Closer

Moon
I wish I’d seen it. It disturbs me that there haven’t been humans on the surface of the Moon in my lifetime. Not since the early-1970s has a human set foot on the largest and closest natural satellite around Earth. Imagine what we could do now in exploring the Moon first hand?

Since I was about 11, I was captivated by the grainy video footage from our 2X CD-ROM drive and Grolier CD Encyclopedia footage of the moon landing of Apollo 11. That was in Windows 3.1. Sadly neither lunar exploration nor Windows have advanced as much as I’d like.

International Space Station with Space Shuttle Endeavour

Tonight I showed a neighbour walking by, that the Space Shuttle and ISS were flying overhead. He asked me how I knew, and this is the answer.

And we could do so much more in our celestial neighbourhood.