Laughed so hard I did.

Laughed so hard I did.

Happy Birthday Wil Wheaton!

Table Mountain Star Party 2014

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Here are some pictures (as promised) of the Table Mountain Star Party 2014 in Oroville, Washington courtesy of the astrophotographer Alan Dyer. While there, he also did an excellent presentation on the skies of the southern hemisphere during his trips to Australia. Apparently the sky is much darker down under and offers more to see than what we are used to seeing in our northern skies. (That is if you can get past the numerous amounts of poisonous things out to kill you.)

In any case, this star party was amazing on top of being a really good experience for me. It rained for the first 3 days (see my picture below), but the clear skies on the last 2 nights made the entire 6 hour drive up there worth it.

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My campsite (I got there early) with Star Trek pillow engaged.

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I have never seen skies that dark before. I have never been around so many people that shared such similar interests to mine (hence one of the reasons I created this blog). Not going to lie, I initially thought it would be nothing more than a large gathering of old retired yuppies showing off their expensive equipment and competing to see who has a larger telescope (okay so there was a little of that going on), but It turned out to be a melting pot of several different types of people such as astronomers, scientists, pilots, old folks, couples, young families and just plain old science groupies such as myself. Everyone brought to the scope field different equipment and experience which was happily shared among all. Here is an image of the scope field right before it cleared up, while everyone was drying out their gear after the torrential downpour lol.

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There was a kitchen that served up dinner each evening, but you had to pre-order these meals (which cost an astounding $15 each), and so in an effort to save some money I settled on dinners that looked more like this…

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I brought my 6” dob but wasn’t able to image anything with the new smartphone mount because of the sheer brightness of my phone. I didn’t want to be “that person” that gets yelled at for ruining everyone’s vision. I was able to find M8, M13 and M31 before the dew got the best of my mirror, and the cold got the best of my fingers.

After such an epic week I decided to take the next giant leap into astrophotography and purchase my first DSLR. I will soon have a Canon Rebel T3i…so please join me as I take baby steps into this scary new world of DSLR astrophotography.

Clear skies!

This image captured by NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft is part of Olympia Undae. Compare this to previous images and notice how uniform the dunes are in this region.

This image captured by NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft is part of Olympia Undae. Compare this to previous images and notice how uniform the dunes are in this region.

Do Black Holes Explode When They Die?

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A new theory suggests that black holes might die by transforming into a ‘white hole,’ which theoretically behave in the exact opposite manner as a black hole - rather than sucking all matter in, a ‘white hole’ spews it out.

The theory, as first reported by Nature.com, is based on the speculative quantum theory of gravity. Scientists believe it may help determine the great debate over black holes about whether they destroy the things they consume.

According to the theory, a ‘white hole’ would explosively expel all the material consumed by a black hole.

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This is so true. You are basically looking for “sky fuzzies” lol. Still amazing nonetheless.

This is so true. You are basically looking for “sky fuzzies” lol. Still amazing nonetheless.

Buzz Aldrin’s first space selfie taken during the Gemini 12 mission in 1966.

Buzz Aldrin’s first space selfie taken during the Gemini 12 mission in 1966.

I’m getting ready to head to the Table Mountain Star Party tomorrow. Hoping the fact that over half of Washington is on fire right now won’t affect our seeing in any way. I’ll take lots of pictures and share them with you when I return. Clear skies! (?) You can visit the Table Mountain Star Party website here.

I’m getting ready to head to the Table Mountain Star Party tomorrow. Hoping the fact that over half of Washington is on fire right now won’t affect our seeing in any way. I’ll take lots of pictures and share them with you when I return. Clear skies! (?) You can visit the Table Mountain Star Party website here.

Still though…poor guy lol.

Still though…poor guy lol.

This image from NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft shows Lonar Crater. This crater has undergone very little modification since it formed, and so is one of the younger features in this region.

This image from NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft shows Lonar Crater. This crater has undergone very little modification since it formed, and so is one of the younger features in this region.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on its arm to catch the first images of sparks produced by the rover’s laser being shot at a rock on Mars. The left image is from before the laser zapped this rock, called ‘Nova’.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on its arm to catch the first images of sparks produced by the rover’s laser being shot at a rock on Mars. The left image is from before the laser zapped this rock, called ‘Nova’.

Are We Living in a Multiverse?

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The universe could be a bubble amongst a ‘frothy sea’ of other bubble universes, scientists have claimed. They hope a new series of experiments could shed new light on the ‘multiverse’, which says ours is just one universe among many.

Researchers hope it will be a proof of principle and show the multiverse theory can be tested.

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In March 2003, Saturn’s rings were at maximum tilt toward Earth, a special event occurring every 15 years. With the rings fully tilted, astronomers get the best views of the planet’s Southern Hemisphere. They took advantage of the rings’ unique alignment by using Hubble to capture some stunning images.

In March 2003, Saturn’s rings were at maximum tilt toward Earth, a special event occurring every 15 years. With the rings fully tilted, astronomers get the best views of the planet’s Southern Hemisphere. They took advantage of the rings’ unique alignment by using Hubble to capture some stunning images.