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Blog Entries from 2006-07-16 to 2006-08-24

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-08-24 12:31 PM. space
A journalist at the Bangkok Post is decades behind in their understanding of modern astronomy.

So far, our solar system is the only known celestial system with planets orbiting a star. - Astronomers demote Pluto, Bangkok Post Breaking News

This guy must have missed out on the disovery since the 1980s of over 198 planets orbiting other stars! See a list of stars with confirmed planets.

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-08-21 09:25 PM. space
The Hubble Constant is measured to be 77 kilometers per second per megaparsec

Hubble's law is the statement in physical cosmology that the redshift in light coming from distant galaxies is proportional to their distance. It is considered the first observational basis for the expanding space paradigm and today serves as one of the most often cited pieces of evidence in support of the Big Bang.(Source: Wikipedia)

Chandra Independently Determines Hubble Constant
NASA Release - August 8, 2006

By combining X-ray data from Chandra with radio observations of galaxy clusters, the team determined the distances to 38 galaxy clusters ranging from 1.4 billion to 9.3 billion light years from Earth. These results do not rely on the traditional distance ladder. Bonamente and his colleagues find the Hubble constant to be 77 kilometers per second per megaparsec (a megaparsec is equal to 3.26 million light years), with an uncertainty of about 15%.

This result agrees with the values determined using other techniques. The Hubble constant had previously been found to be 72, give or take 8 kilometers per second per kiloparsec based on Hubble Space Telescope observations. The new Chandra result is important because it offers the independent confirmation that scientists have been seeking and fixes the age of the Universe between 12 and 14 billion years.

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-08-16 08:34 AM. space
Eight planets and three dwarf planets - so far
  1. A "planet" is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.
  2. A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape , (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.
  3. All other objects except satellites orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar-System Bodies".

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-08-06 03:25 PM. military
I visited my grandfather's grave today. I had never met him but was aware that as a young man he served with the U.S. Army in Belgium near the end of World War II. His U.S. Army-issued gravestone reads: PFC HO CO 809 TD BN. Google helped me understand the acronyms.

PFC is the easy one. Rank: Private First Class, the third lowest enlisted rank. The rest took awhile to determine: 8th Armored Division, HO Company, 809th Tank Destroyer Battalion

The main weapon of the 809th TD Battalion was the M36 Tank Destroyer:

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-08-05 01:33 PM. space
A business plan for private spaceflights around the Moon from Earth orbit. This is the term paper for the Personal Spaceflight Venture Viability independent study at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Lunar Voyages: Spaceflights round the Moon from Earth orbit
John P. Kavanagh
Robert H. Smith School of Business

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-08-04 01:19 PM. space
The 3-mile-wide (5-km) satellite, which takes 770 years to complete a horseshoe-shaped orbit around Earth, is called Cruithne and will remain in a suspended state around Earth for at least 5,000 years.

Cruithne, discovered in 1986, and then found in 1997 to have a highly eccentric orbit, cannot be seen by the naked eye, but scientists working at Queen Mary and Westfield College in London were intrigued enough with its peregrinations to come up with mathematical models to describe its path. More Moons Around Earth? Its Not So Loony

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-07-23 02:31 PM. space
How big is our galaxy? Where are we located? Explore the geography of the Milky Way with this interactive experience.

Approximately 200 planets have been discovered orbiting other stars. Visit the New Worlds Atlas to see where in the Milky Way they are.

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-07-21 11:22 AM. recreation
Rehearsal Dinner at Daffodils, Wedding Mass at Saint Christopher''s followed by a Reception at the Hearthstone Manor
Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-07-16 06:29 PM. space
Check out this virtual reality photo panorama of the Apollo 15 landing area on the Moon. Quicktime software required.

Apollo 15 landing site panorama

"Taken by Apollo 15 lunar module pilot, Jim Irwin this pan shows commander Dave Scott while he stores core tube samples on the back of the lunar rover. In the background is Lunar Module, 'Falcon' surrounded by the Swann Hills and mount hadley Delta"

Submitted by kavanagh. on 2006-07-16 05:51 PM. space
After a three-year delay, NASA engineers say they are finally ready to begin the most ambitious construction project ever attempted in space -- one that will double the size and weight of the international space station over the next 18 months

"You can see it now, when it goes over at night," said Paul Hill, the mission's lead flight director. "But with the new arrays, the station will become the first man-made object in orbit that you can see with the naked eye during daylight."

NASA Says It's Ready to Expand Space Station
Washington Post
Sunday, July 16, 2006