Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Solar Dynamics Observatory: Year 4

Tue 11 February 2014, 5:00pm

Tweet Four years after its work began, and following last year’s three years in three minutes, Nasa have released another wondrous short video of a year of selected solar activity as viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Video via Nasa Goddard.  Full-screen viewing recommended.  Stunning. [Credit: NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Music: Stella Maris courtesy of Moby Gratis] The […] more »

“an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.”

Mon 28 October 2013, 10:24pm
HRSC on Mars Express - Valles Marineris

Tweet Curiosity may have been on the surface of Mars for over a year, but ESA’s Mars Express has been in orbit around the Red Planet for almost a decade.  It’s one of a number of ways Mars is being observed, up close and personal.  And, like the Hi-RISE camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express has some […] more »

Time-lapse: Earth

Sat 12 October 2013, 2:58pm

Tweet As the Guardian’s GrrlScientist says, “Wow. Just wow.”  And, “Oh, I recommend “full screen” mode.” Indeed. Adds – If you watch closely you can see Ireland and the UK pass underneath at around 2mins 30secs in. Time-Lapse | Earth from Bruce W. Berry Jr on Vimeo. Video credits Music: “Manhatta” composed and performed by […] more »

A year of Curiosity

Tue 6 August 2013, 4:33pm
Curiosity view of Mars

Tweet One year ago, after “seven minutes of terror“, Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory, the 900kg rover Curiosity, landed safely on the Red Planet and was soon taking a look around.   [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems]  Full image and caption here. This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera on the right side of the Mast […] more »

“There’s no place like home…”

Wed 24 July 2013, 3:48pm
Cassini image of Earth in Saturn's rings

Tweet I didn’t ‘Wave at Saturn’ on 19 July when the Cassini probe, orbiting the gas giant, was taking a high-definition image of the view back home.  I don’t think it encouraged a proper sense of perspective…  But the resultant image is stunning. [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute] It’s not the first time Cassini has looked home.  […] more »

Three Years of SDO Data – Narrated

Sat 11 May 2013, 10:08pm

Tweet If you enjoyed the recent video from Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) - “Three years in three minutes” – but would have liked more of an explanation of what was going on with our own local star… here it is again!  This time, though, extended, and narrated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center heliophysicist Alex […] more »

“A major difference between the hurricanes is that the one on Saturn is much bigger…”

Wed 1 May 2013, 6:42pm
Cassini - Saturn north pole The Rose

Tweet As I mentioned previously, Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… - Ed]  Indeed… [new link]  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.   In some of its first sunlit images of Saturn’s north pole, Cassini has looked […] more »

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Three years in three minutes

Mon 22 April 2013, 9:56pm

Tweet What it says on the tin.  Three years after First Light, Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has released three stunning minutes of images compiled during its virtually unbroken coverage of the sun’s rise toward solar maximum.  Enjoy!  [Video from NasaExplorer on YouTube. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO] As they note in the associated text […] more »

Comet 2013 A1: Rendezvous with Mars…

Wed 27 March 2013, 8:46pm
Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) orbit

Tweet Here’s something to think about whilst waiting to see if Comet ISON will fizzle, or sizzle.  The latest Science at Nasa video looks at the trajectory, and consequences for Mars missions, of Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring).  Discovered as recently as 3 January this year, this Oort cloud object will pass “extraordinarily close” to the planet Mars […] more »

The ALMA Inauguration

Sat 16 March 2013, 7:05pm

Tweet As the BBC reported on Wednesday, having opened its eyes in 2011, and with 57 of its 66 antennas now ready to receive data on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Atacama desert, Chile, the Atacama Large Millimetre/Sub-millimetre Array (ALMA) was officially inaugurated on March 13.  Here’s the associated ESOcast 55: The ALMA Inauguration. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO). Editing: […] more »

“It was a meteor strike–the most powerful since the Tunguska event of 1908″

Wed 27 February 2013, 4:33pm

Tweet ScienceAtNasa has a sobering video on the latest information about the visitation by the god Ogdy unexpected meteor strike in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia on 15 February.  Video credit: ScienceAtNasa. From the accompanying ScienceAtNasa press release The Russian meteor’s infrasound signal was was the strongest ever detected by the CTBTO network. The furthest station to record the sub-audible sound […] more »

“President Vladimir Putin said he thanked God no big fragments had fallen in populated areas.”

Fri 15 February 2013, 5:36pm

Tweet As I mentioned previously, asteroid 2012 DA14 is due to make its close encounter with Earth later this evening.  Meanwhile, earlier today several hundred people in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia were injured during a visitation by the god Ogdy by debris caused by the unexpected appearance of a relatively large meteor.  It’s reported that a crater 6m (20ft) […] more »

Pope Benedict XVI: “with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome”

Tue 12 February 2013, 10:57pm

Tweet For anyone seriously concerned with his “legacy”, the surprise announcement by Pope Benedict XVI, of his intention to renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome “as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours”, deserves a more considered approach.  For example, following on from his initial response, at the Telegraph Blogs Damian Thompson reproduces the […] more »

“Ireland has the potential to generate far more wind energy than we could consume domestically…”

Mon 28 January 2013, 8:28pm

Tweet Apparently, Ireland is to become Britain’s off-shore wind farm…  That seems to be the gist of the complaint from opponents to wind farms in the Irish Midlands, as reported in the Irish Times. Andrew Duncan, spokesman for the Lakelands Wind Information Group in Co Westmeath, said: “It seems to be an Irish solution to a […] more »

“comets are like cats: they have tails, and do whatever they want to do”

Tue 1 January 2013, 11:25pm
Comet C/2012 S1 Oct04 2012

Tweet In the BBC’s science news preview of 2013, reporter Jason Palmer highlights a couple of astronomical events worth keeping an eye out for. In mid-February we will get another reminder we live in a (potentially) violent cosmos – asteroid 2012 DA14 will make a harmless but attention-grabbing pass near the Earth, at a distance just a […] more »

Further Up Yonder

Fri 21 December 2012, 9:09pm

Tweet Stunning views of the Earth accompany this seasonal message from the crew of the International Space Station. more »

“In Saturn’s Shadow” – redux

Tue 18 December 2012, 8:29pm
Saturn In Shadow by Cassini

Tweet Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… - Ed]  Indeed.  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.  [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute].  From the image’s associated text NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of […] more »

Titan’s Nile River Valley

Thu 13 December 2012, 2:52pm
Cassini Titan River Valley sideways

Tweet Fascinating image from Nasa’s Cassini probe at Saturn, where we’ve previously watched the weather on Titan.  [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI.]  North is to the right in this view. From the JPLnews press release “Titan is the only place we’ve found besides Earth that has a liquid in continuous movement on its surface,” said Steve Wall, […] more »

Black Marble Earth

Fri 7 December 2012, 8:45pm
Nasa: Black Marble Earth

Tweet As the BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, notes This [above] spectacular night-time view of Earth is called Black Marble. It has been assembled from a series of cloud-free images acquired by one of the most capable satellites in the sky today – the Suomi spacecraft. Here is the associated, wondrous, video from Nasa Explorer This view of […] more »

“damn, what a sky…” – redux

Thu 15 November 2012, 8:17pm
Panoramic photograph of night sky above ESO's VLT during lunar eclipse

Tweet [Image credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky]  Another stunning time-lapse video of the wondrous night sky above the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope [VLT] array on top of Cerro Paranal in Chile’s Atacama Desert.  This time presented as ESO Cast 50: Chile Chill 1.  [Marvel at the solar system in motion... - Ed]  Or, indeed, the galaxy.  Stay with it […] more »

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