Tag Archives: Carnival of Space #81

The universe doesn’t revolve around you

399 years ago today, Galileo Galilei was looking through his telescope when he took note of two starry objects next to Jupiter. The next night, he noticed that they moved strangely, so he kept his lens trained on the giant planet for several days. He saw that there were actually four of these bodies in motion, and came to the realization that they were orbiting around Jupiter.

This was humanity’s most compelling evidence that Copernicus was right. Jupiter does not revolve around us. The sun does not revolve around us. The universe does not revolve around us. I’m not sure that we’re grounded in these facts yet, nearly 400 years later.

You can’t mark this occasion by looking at Jupiter tonight, unless you live on the other side of the sun. But the moon will be crossing the Pleiades at sunset, which, my son informed me last night, is my “favorite cluster.” Then he had plastic mommy drive plastic him in a plastic car to “the observatory” to look through telescopes.

The Galilean moons of Jupiter (pictured): Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto.

P.S. These moons are not finished messing with our overdeveloped sense of importance yet. There is evidence of saltwater on three of them, and of large oceans on Europa. That could mean life off of our planet in our own solar system. Read more.

The Carnival of Space #81

Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to the Carnival of Space!

It’s fitting that Tiny Mantras was given the chance to host this weekly collection of cosmological articles on this holiday, because I am definitely thankful for the wealth of astronomy blogs and sites out there. You see, you’ve reached what some would call a “mommy blog,” but one in which I do a lot of reflecting on how to keep up with and nurture my son’s intense passion for space and other scientific interests. Between this carnival and the blogs in my reader, we always have something new to talk about.

I am also thankful to him for requiring that I learn so much about space every day. When you get into this parenting gig, you expect some profound and life-changing experiences, but inspiring me to learn vastly more about my place in the universe wasn’t one I saw coming. It is an awesome gift.

To start the holiday shopping season, I put together a round-up of my favorite space books for kids (the ones we actually read over and over). What’s Up Astronomy is also ready to help you get in gear with ten tips for buying a telescope.

Now on to the reason most of you are here – gobs of great new posts about space:

From Collect Space, a video of Dr. Don Petit as he demonstrates how to improve the coffee drinking experience in a weightless environment.

Alan Dyer was in the hot seat last week, handling news media calls about about the big meteor that exploded over western Canada on November 20: Tracking the Big Fall.

News and photos from the current space shuttle mission, STS-126, courtesy of Universe Today’s Nancy Atkinson.

Mars has large, buried glaciers near its equator, detected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft this week. (The Meridiani Journal)

Phoenix Pictures Gallery heralds the beauty of NASA technology in “The Day I Met Phoenix.

For the first time this week, it was reported that carbon dioxide has been detected in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star.

With Barack Obama announcing new cabinet and staff appointments daily, several folks are weighing in on the future of U.S. space policy. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy makes a case for the funding for NASA, as well as its need for greater oversight.

At Music of the Spheres, FlyingSinger shares a letter he sent to Obama’s transition team (via change.gov) about the future of NASA and private space ventures.

The Moon is Not Enough! says Bruce Cordell of 21st Century Waves, as he considers the strengths and potential pitfalls of The Planetary Society’s road map for space exploration in the 21st century.

Ian O’Neill of astroEngine ponders the reasons that so many robotic missions into space are constructed around the search for life, and whether or not they are worth the effort.

Ethan Siegel of Starts With a Bang poses the question “what happens when we move at the speed of light?” He warns that it “isn’t pretty.”

At Centauri Dreams, two stories look at recent findings of strong cosmic ray sources, an anomalous situation since it has been assumed until recently that cosmic rays arrived at the Earth without any clear direction of origin. Are there astrophysical objects near the Earth that are accelerating these particles, or is this evidence for dark matter? The jury is out, but the data keeps coming in.

At Colony Worlds, “Uranus: One Planetary System to Fuel Them All?” posits that though the blueish-green giant may lack large lunar children like Titan and Triton (not to mention a set of dazzling rings), Uranus may be the key that enables humanity to not only conquer the outer limits of our own solar system, but perhaps enable us to reach the next one as well.

If measures are not taken to address the effects of the greenhouse gases produced by our civilization, extreme climate changes will occur: droughts, heat waves, and floods. Understanding the behavior of greenhouse gases is critical for developing effective measures to fight climate change. The Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) is the first satellite to observe greenhouse gases from space. Check out GOSAT a.k.a. IBUKI Scheduled for Launch at OrbitalHub.

Sean Welton explains why Saturn’s rings will look closed from Earth’s vantage point by the end of the year at Visual Astronomy.

Amanda Bauer of Astropixie describes those two bright lights currently shining in the westerly evening sky: Venus and Jupiter. They are approaching each other quickly this week as they move in opposite directions along the ecliptic. My Dark Sky also has a post about this pair, and how to get the most out of looking at them.

Looking for stars that host exoplanets can be a pain, says Ian Musgrave
n> of Astroblog, but two of the most recent stars hosting exoplanets can be easily seen from your backyard.

Form the annals of space history, Altair VI’s David Portree has written a two-part post about Philip Bono’s 1960 plans for a delta-winged glider that could make it to Mars, replete with scans of several of Bono’s original drawings.

At One Astronomer’s Noise, Nicole looks at evidence of an ancient asteroid impact near present-day New York City.

The Space Video of the Week looks at how a very old technology – balloons – is being used to accomplish space science.

From A Babe in the Universe: On November 20, 1998 the first module of the International Space Station was orbited. Read about the tenth anniversary/ISS Birthday Party at Space Center Houston.

On the lighter side, when marketers get involved with astronomy the results can be a bit strange, see Tipsy Orion.

Finally, at the Planetary Society, read Solar Conjunction: Holiday for Mars Missions, and an Opportunity Update.

If you’re interested in perusing the archives of the Carnival of Space, submitting something for a future carnival or hosting it yourself, you can find all of the details at Universe Today.

Well that was intimidating, but fun. If you catch any errors, let me know and I will fix them pronto. Thanks to Fraser for letting me host this week.