Monthly Archives: February 2013
There have been some pretty amazing things going on with asteroids the past couple of days, namely the passing of Asteroid 2012 DA14 and the Russian Meteor Event. But they were completely unrelated! Here is an excellent infographic for you (click to make bigger):
We weren’t going to be seeing that little 50-foot asteroid coming at us from Sun-ward… The Sun is the most powerful gravitational slingshot in the Solar System but if we know the trajectories of ALL little rocks in the Solar System, then we could know a bit more. But it will take a LOT of observing time to see them… These little ones (like the Russian one) are VERY difficult to see, I just don’t see us catching them all but we can sure try :) I think we just need a big force field ;)
Here are some of my favorite posts about the Russian event:
- Reconstructing the Chelyabinsk meteor’s path, with Google Earth, YouTube and high-school math by Stefan Geens
- I really like his animated GIF – check it out! This is the kind of back-of-the-envelope calculation my undergrad astrophysics professor (who loved back-of-the-envelope calculations) said that Russian scientists did to figure out the power of the first atomic bomb (because the US released time-stamped images)
- From Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog (he’s now a writer but does have a Ph.D. in astrophysics and was a professor) – he has some excellent links (well-vetted)
In class today (Wednesday), I showed some of the lunar landing footage available to we, denizens of the Internet, for FREE! NASA is a public entity and as such, happily will show us many awesome things and has given us the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (ALSJ). Much of the text was written by former astronauts from the missions themselves and many of the best/crowd-favorite clips provide some context.
Whilst meandering the internet last summer looking for great astronaut videos to use in outreach, I came across this great website: Top 10: Videos From the Moon Landings (from How It Works Magazine). I’d already found some of them in browsing the COPIOUS video clips in the ALSJ but this website really does have some of the very best :) My favorites almost always involve the Apollo 17 mission it seems (this is a FANTASTIC Wikipedia page – check out the multimedia at the end!!)… But I suppose that one was the one with the geologist and he seems a bit more jovial than the others sometimes :)
In the end, don’t let anyone tell you we didn’t land on the Moon. You can find “Bad Astronomer” Dr. Phil Plait’s debunking here along with a page of several links to debunkers (and deniers!). You can find the Mythbusters episode debunking here (never mind – you have to find that yourself, they keep taking the versions I know down). You can find an excellent debunking website called clavius.org here.