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Space Blogsfor June 16, 2005


Shai Coggins, About's guide to Blogs defines them like this, "The word blog is short for web log (weblog). It is used both as a noun and a verb. As a noun, a blog is also known as an online journal or web diary, as well as a content management system or an online publishing platform. As a verb, 'to blog' means to write on one's weblog. Essentially, a weblog is a chronologically organized site with the latest entry appearing at the top of the page."

Here. we'll try to review some of the most recent and interesting posts in the world of Astronomy & Space blogs.

Cosmic Log - Red, white and blue on Mars

    Red, white and blue on Mars: Celebrate Flag Day with NASA's latest view of a white sun and blue sunset on the Red Planet.

    This picture, sent from the Columbia Hills back to Earth by NASA's Spirit rover on May 19, is one of several Martian sunset (and sunrise) pictures that help scientists figure out the composition of the planet's dusty atmosphere.

    The blue glow is due to light diffracted by ice crystals - the same sort of diffraction that makes the whole daytime sky blue here on Earth.
Astronomy Blog: strudel.org.uk - The Pole Dance
    The pole I am referring to is the North magnetic pole. Unlike the rotational North pole, the magnetic poles don't stay in one place. The magnetic poles are generated in a complex way, by the rotating molten iron core of the Earth, and have a tendency to move around a bit.

    The magnetic North pole has been in Canada for some years but it seems that it has now finally moved out into international waters, heading in the direction of Siberia. Far from being upset about the departure of the magnetic pole from Canada, Larry Newitt, head of the Natural Resources Canada geomagnetic laboratory in Ottawa takes solace in the fact that "we're still the closest country to it." This sentiment was echoed by Carolyn Relf, a geologist with Indian and Northern Affairs. "As long as Santa's still in the North, I don't care about the pole," she said.

Tom's Astronomy Blog - Meteors From Comets?
    Dr. Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer from the SETI Institute and Esko Lyytinen an amateur astronomer, say comets that breakup, cause most of our meteor showers in a paper accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal.

    They discovered a fragment of a lost comet (D/1819 W1 or Blanpain). The comet was last seen in 1819. The fragment has survived for 36 orbits and was detected by the Catalina Sky Survey as a minor planet named 2003 WY25. Once its orbit was more precisely determined, Jenniskens traced the object back to that of Blanpain in 1819. They discovered that a breakup during, or just before Blanpains return and caused the amazing meteor showers of 1956. The 1956 shower was from the Phoenicids and produced over 100 meteors per hour. It seems the planet Jupiter had steered the debris into our path.

The SpaceWriter's Ramblings - What's In A Name? Caveat Emptor
    I just got the Nth spam message this week telling me how it exciting it is that I can now "officially" name a star for my dad for Father's Day. Not only am I NOT excited about it, I'm pretty tired of watching these companies preying on people's gullibility about how stars are named. There are several who advertise, using all kinds of careful language that implies you can name a star for a loved one, without actually coming right out and saying that the star names they're charging you for will NOT EVER be used by astronomers. You have to ask yourself, "If it's so easy to name a star that some company can convince people to pay THEM for the privilege of doing so, then why can't I just go out and name a star myself without paying them?"
Astro Diary - The summer solstice approaches
    So that just about wraps up my astronomy observations until the autumn. With plenty to do on the field field with gathering crops, taking the fishing boat out and building up a stack of wood for winter I'm pretty much exhausted and fast asleep by the time it's dark. The sun wakes me up in the morning and then it's too light to see the summer Milky Way...

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