Carnival of Space No.124


So we are hosting Carnival of Space this week. The idea of this is to collate together the writing on astronomy blogs over the last week. If you want more info have a look at the Carnival Homepage.

Let’s start with the Nobel Prize for Physics which this year was partly won by the scientists responsible for inventing the CCD. The Chandra Blog and Commercial Space celebrate this and explain how CCDs have been indispensable to astronomy and our understanding of the Universe. As well as, of course, giving us lots of pretty desktop pictures.

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Speaking of pretty pictures, over at Bad Astronomy Phil Plait gives us a visual treat in the form of an image of our nearest galactic neighbour, Andromeda, as you have never seen it before. Taken as 330 separate images, it shows Andromeda in Ultra Violet light. The UV traces both the regions of star formation in the spirals, where young, incredibly bright stars pump out UV light, and the older, densely packed population of stars in the central region of the galaxy.

And one of the biggest stories of this week is also about looking at a familiar object in new wavebands, I am talking of course about the discovery of a new ring around Saturn. Spotted by the Spitzer space telescope, which sees the sky in the infrared, this ring is like no ordinary ring. Spanning a volume which could fit a billion Earths, this gargantuan collection of dust and ice would appear in the sky to be the size of two full moons ether side of Saturn, if only our eyes could see infra-red like Spitzer. See Cosmic Ray for details and pretty pictures and Universe Today for an interview with Anne Verbiscer, a member of the team that found it.

While the rings of Saturn contain small clumps of ice, the solar system is full of their bigger brothers. You might vaguely remember hearing about one of these, a comet named Lulin,  which was briefly visible in very dark skies last February. Well Lulin won’t be visiting our part of the solar system for a million years or more, but space_disco writes about a group of astronomers over at the Lowell Observatory who were watching Lulin closer than most. Using their telescope they were able to work out the rotational period of Lulin and even hope to use their data to create a 3D model of its nucleus.

Talking of comets, this October the Earth will be ploughing through the dusty trail left by Halley’s Comet. When it does so the night sky will (hopefully) play host to a spectacular meteor show. Head over to Visual Astronomy for the details. Cheap Astronomy latest podcast has also been considering some of our solar system’s icy bodies. Tune in to learn all about trans-Neptunian objects.

While you are outside enjoying these celestial fireworks why not dust off your old pair of binoculars and have a look at what else there is to see in the sky. What’s that you say… you find it hard to hold your beloved binoculars steady and so the stars are all shaky? Well never fear, just head over to this fantastic post about fixing your binocs to a mount. And speaking of fireworks Wierd Warp has some thoughts about the effects of sunspots.

Getting the telescopes like Spitzer in to space, so they can show us beautiful images of our cosmos, is no easy feat. While this has traditionally been the job of massive rockets like the Arianne rockets, or the Saturn 5, Next Big Future wonders if in the future payloads couldn’t be “shot” in to orbit using massive Orbital Gun Launch Systems.

While this might be fine for inanimate payloads, I think it might be a suggestion to worry the “chumps”.  This affectionately nicknamed crowd is the new class of future NASA astronauts. To learn more about who the “chumps” are, and who gave them their nickname, head over to Collect Space .

It seems nostalgia is in the air as Beyond Apollo21st Centrury Waves, Cumbrian Sky, and The Gish Bar Times are all taking time to remember times gone by. Beyond Apollo looks to 1972 when, because of a faulty Apollo Command and Service module, three astronauts almost had to be rescued from the Skylab Orbital Workshop. Gish Bar, ten years on, takes a look back at some of the stunning pictures of the Galileo fly by of Jupiter’s moon Io. In other solar system exploration news Cumbrian Sky looks at the award of the Sagan Medal to the man behind the Mars Rover. Meanwhile 21st Century Waves takes a look at a new book by Fred Kaplan called “1959 — The Year Everything Changed”.

Another good book review comes from Simostronomy who gives us the low down on a new book by Douglas Isbell and Stephen E. Strom, about the observatories of  the American southwest , imaginatively entitled “Observatories of the Southwest”. While Paul at Centauri Dreams uses his latest reading material as a springboard for musings about how bizarre and alien our ancestors’ civilizations would look to us.

Finally, Habitation Intention is looking for speakers from the aerospace or engineering industry for a conference at Columbia University later this month. They might find what they are looking for  over at Kentucky Space, where cubesat pioneer Bob Twiggs described his new role at Morehead State University.

(Picture credit can be found here and here.)

13 Comments on “Carnival of Space No.124”

  1. Nostalgia? No, that’s when someone remember the happy times that never were. For historians, nostalgia is the enemy, much as propaganda is the enemy of (good) journalists.

    I refer here to your description of my summary of a 1972 document on Skylab rescue plans. I summarize such plans because they contain lessons for the future. History is important – it is our memory. It helps us to become prepared.


    • weareallinthegutter says:

      Hi David, Sorry about the nostalgia wording, honestly didn’t mean any disrespect by it. Just a careless phrasing to link together 3 links about historical subjects. I really enjoyed reading your post. Its not an event I was ever aware of before and its definitely one worth knowing about. I totally agree that the history of such a grand endeavor as our exploration of space, deserves to be chronicled in as accurate a way as possible.

  2. […] are All in the Gutter, Looking at the Stars is hosting this week’s Carnival – which is about a lot of different things, since all the Mercury and Moon kerfuffle happened […]

  3. […] of Space #124 This week Carnival is at We are all in the Gutter. Go and take a […]

  4. […] 124th Carnival of Space is up and breathing at the blog We’re All In The Gutter. They’ve collected this week’s best astronomy and space blog posts and put them in one […]

  5. Sully says:

    Ode to NASA

    At Cabeus did NASA geeks,
    A swifty Centaur rocket hurl,
    Where dust, and mayhap water reeks,
    ‘Pon craters numberless, and peaks,
    Under the cosmic whirl.

    Sent twice two tons of massy metal,
    To feel out lunar soil’s fettle.
    And also careful cameras set,
    To record impact on lunar rill,
    Ensure the wants of public met,
    Make time long record of the thrill,
    Assure refill of NASA’s budget till.

    But, oh! When stopwatch ended countdown,
    To indicate the mighty crashdown,
    Appeared no hint of fiery flash down,
    There on Selene’s apparition.

    Were the cameras to be faulted,
    For missing flash on Moon assaulted?

    Or had some Lunar Politician,
    Told a junior lab technician,
    “Strip down that leftover techy thing,
    From building that new Saturn ring,
    Set a force field strong and watchful,
    To stop this arrogant man sent missile. ”

    “Include a grokking gizmo, Ace,
    To do that thing of the Martian race.
    Twist that racing Terran thing,
    Clear outa this here four D space.
    Enough of taking human guff!
    Teach those Earthlings right enough,
    That they ain’t smokin’ red hot stuff!”

  6. Niall says:

    How do you respond to that?

    T’was the month of December and in the year 2023,
    That the NASA space programme came to Dundee,
    Resolved to do something stupid, very,
    Like launch a probe from Broughty Ferry

  7. stuartlynn says:

    The nasa geeks one and all,
    spent all night in a darkened hall.
    The moon they said is all dry and unappealing,
    no water to make our astronaut’s Darjeeling.

    One plucky researcher, however did proclaim,
    I have had the most wonderful though in my wonderful brain.
    There maybe water, maybe just might,
    hidden in craters shielded from light.

    Or under the surface away from the sun,
    the rest of the geeks proclaimed by-gum!
    How might we find this tea making delight?
    a mission they cried, resolved to work all night.

    They planed landers, and rovers and probes with strain,
    and even considered sending astronauts with brains.
    But all was too expensive in the economical climate,
    the water was doomed to remain hidden from sight.

    As one, with frustration and rage,
    threw his pen in to another’s beverage,
    the resulting plop got his mind racing,
    a mass impactors what we need! to work times a wasting.

    They worked until the early dawn,
    drawing and calculating to eventually spawn,
    the child of there invention at modest cost,
    and came up with the strange name of LCROSS.

    Many years later they gathered , all where interested
    they pondered 3 years and their spouses neglected,
    as moon and impactor intersected,
    the plume arose and the data was collected.

    Have we found water in this inhospitable place?
    Well will have to wait for the data analysis.

    Stuart here by apologises to all poets living and dead.

  8. Sully says:

    It does my heart good to see there are other versifiers out there. The world has become altogether too prosaic. How can we convince the common man to turn over his tax bucks to fund adventures in the cosmos if we don’t promote romantic inclinations. They ought to be learning and reciting Burns and Macaulay and Coleridge and Poe in grade schools along with the times tables.

    I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of your site and I’ll be back. But don’t count on an effusion of poetry. The stars have to move just so for me to make something like my last post happen.

  9. […] Astronomy Links of the Day Carnival of space 124. […]

  10. […] Carnival of Space #124 is hosted at We are all in the gutter, looking at the stars. […]

  11. […] week the 124th Carnival of Space ended up where we all are – in the gutter (looking at the […]

  12. Ross says:

    How come you press harder on a remote control when you know the battery is dead? =)

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