Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Astronomy Photo Of The Day

Wow, just...wow.

Eye of God Nebula

Monday, September 19, 2011

What does it feel like to fly over planet Earth?

Wow, amazing time lapse video taken from the International Space Station. Breathtaking.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I feel such profound sadness and disconnect when I contemplate all the life that must exist in the Universe and the fact that we are all so far away from each other. Most all of us (intelligent life forms) likely will have to live with the uncertainty and we will never have definitive answers to the big questions...are we alone in the Universe?...Why are we here? ...Where did we come from? It's a tragedy. Surely there are civilizations out there in the Universe that have the answers to these questions and have made contact with other intelligent life forms...perhaps in there own star systems. I imagine that it is theoretically possible that there are civilizations that have branched out to other planets in their star systems or perhaps to neighboring systems. Maybe Star Wars like galactic wars are common place somewhere out there. Perhaps they have engineered worm hole technology elsewhere in the Universe and there are governments that span entire galaxies. :Sigh: If only.

Astronomy Photo Of The Day

Sirius, The Dog Star. Taken by the hubble space telescope in 2003. This star is nearest and dearest to my heart.

Multiverses? Parallel Universes? String Theory?!

Is there another you living somewhere out there in an alternate Universe? Is this alternate Universe governed be the same laws of physics as our own? Does this sound like science fiction to you? Well believe it or not, it may be more science than fiction. String theory supports these ideas, however because the theory relies on the existence of extra dimensions of space that are not yet detectable, it is not widely accepted by the scientific community at this time. It is a nice idea though, I like entertaining the notion that the Universe is even more mysterious than humans will ever be able to comprehend.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Astronomy Photo Of The Day

20 light year long Nebula located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, near the Tarantula Nebula.

Ancient Aliens?

I am not particularly convinced, however the idea of extraterrestrials visiting Earth in ancient times and shaping our beliefs and culture IS fascinating. If we were visited by ancient aliens...where are they now? If they were so technologically advanced...why has sophisticated technology only come about in the last two centuries? Why are there only crude stone depictions left over as evidence of these 'ancient aliens', wouldn't there be more sophisticated electronic artifacts left behind?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hubble Deep Field

This is a deep space field image taken by the Hubble telescope. It has been called the most important image ever taken. The image is actually a compilation of exposures taken between December 18th and December 28th, 1995. The image contains approximately 3,000 galaxies. The image comes from the constellation Ursa Major. The field is SO small that only a couple of the stars from our own galaxy are visible in the foreground. To give you an idea, the area depicted is so small it is like a grain of sand compared to the size of the known Universe. In this field  there are hundreds of BILLIONS of stars, each with the possibility of having it's own solar system with planets like ours. Again, let me stress that this is an area of space that is comparable to a grain of sand in the big scheme of things. How can anybody be so arrogant as to believe that we are the only lifeforms in the Universe when taking into account the shear size of it? To me, it is undeniable. I don't need solid proof. I am a huge skeptic and I am not religious, but I have to admit that when it comes to this I have a lot of faith. I guess that I probably have the same sort of faith in the Universe being a place rich with life as a religious person has in God or Heaven. I only recently realized this and it is quite eye-opening. I will look down on someone that believes in something based on faith alone but I guess that I am not all that different. Then again, my own personal beliefs ARE supported by mathematics...hence the title of this blog. :)

Interractive Voyager Gold Record

Here is a LINK to Nasa's interactive site where you can listen the the recorded messages from the record as well as view the images and documents contained on the capsule.

Image Of Record

Are we alone? Have we been visited by aliens or alien spacecraft?

I heard Dr. Seth  Shostak of SETI speak at the Science Center in my hometown a few years ago and I was fascinated by his presentation, particularly the part about the Drake Equation. It wasn't the actual equation that fascinated me...I am the farthest thing from a mathematician that you could imagine, it was what the equation revealed that fascinated me. It is almost a mathematical impossibility that we are alone in the universe. We need not be theoretical physicists to know that mathematics is the language of the universe, whether we personally can understand the complicated equations or not. This blog is not a blog about UFO sitings or Alien encounters, frankly I doubt that we have been visited by extraterrestrials. If there is any validity to UFO sightings, I believe what people are seeing are unmanned crafts. In 1977 NASA launched two unmanned space probes,Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Originally designated to study Jupiter and Saturn, the probes continued their missions into the outer solar system and in June of this year they left our solar system. NASA still has contact with both probes. The two  probes continue to operate, with some loss in subsystem redundancy, but retain the capability of returning scientific data. Both probes  have adequate electrical power to continue operating until around 2025, after which there may not be available electrical power to support science instrument operation. At that time, science data return and spacecraft operations will cease.  Both probes carry  a golden record that contains pictures and sounds of Earth, along with symbolic directions for playing the record and data detailing the location of Earth. The record is intended as a combination time-capsule and interstellar message to any civilization, alien or far-future human, that recovers either of the probes. The contents of this record were selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. So one day this time-capsule of sorts could be discovered by a civilization elsewhere in our galaxy. If such civilizations exist and are at least as advanced technologically as we are, there could be similar unmanned probes out there waiting to be discovered. This could explain UFO's that have been sighted by NASA in space, as well as here on earth.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What is The Drake Equation?

The Drake Equation states that:

N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;
R* = the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
f = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
L = the length of time for which such civilizations release detectable signals into space.[3]