Astrofest 2011 Tickets!

I have finally got around to ordering some tickets for Astrofest 2011 in February. I’m rather excited, it must be said. Just hope a friend of mine doesn’t mind me stealing his floor for a few nights!

I’ve booked 3 sessions and I’m particularly looking forward to the talks from Chris Arridge on Uranus and Neptune, Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) on recreating the early Universe, Emily Baldwin (@AstroEmz) on Phobos and Deimos, and Helen Keen’s (@helen_keen) comedy take on science ‘It IS rocket science’.

I will ofcourse be my usual sad self and tweet from the event!

Anyone else who reads this and is going, please do give us a shout!

Megacryometeors!

I’m an aviation met observer and have been fascinated with the weather for a while. Our atmosphere, our thin blue line, is truly amazing.

I can’t quite remember when I first came across these megacryometeors but the name instantly caught me, just for its sheer cool soundingness. I set out to find what they were. As it turns out, no one really knows. We know what they are. As the name suggests, they are giant ice balls that fall from the skies, but we don’t know anything about how they form and why they exist.

Suspected megacryometeor

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Defying Gravity

Defying Gravity. This was a stupendous TV series that was on just before Christmas last year. Unfortunately it was axed before it had even finished, partly thanks to ABC’s shoddy advertising and promotion of the series. The BBC thankfully decided to show the rest of the series but in the graveyard slot at 2am on Sunday evening. Defying Gravity saw a group of astronauts on a 6 year trip around the Solar System with a covered up mysterious mission! Continue reading

Logarithms, Quantum Mechanics, A Fact, A Mars Mission and Plate Tectonics!

I’m a newbie to the Open University, and had my first tutorial in Taunton yesterday (I’m currently studying S283 Planetary Science and Astrobiology). It all went better than expected too, which is grand!

We went over a bit of maths, transposing equations and the like. Something I haven’t done for a while but soon got the hang of it again. Then logarithmic scales. I didn’t know things like the Richter scale (for measuring the strength of earthquakes) and decibels (the measure of sound) were measured logarithmically. For instance, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake isn’t 0.2x stronger than a 7.0 earthquake but somewhere in the region of 10x stronger (don’t quote me, or my tutor, on that). Really puts the power of earthquakes in perspective for you. Apparently during the era of Concorde the Americans didn’t want it to fly over to them, saying it was too loud. To persuade them we went over with a decibel reader. A Boeing 727 took off and from 100m away the decibel reader read 120Db’s. They did the same with Concorde, it read 130Db’s. Only 10Db’s louder they said. Well, it’s apparently 10x louder, but the Americans didn’t know it was done on a logarithmic scale. Crazy huh! Continue reading

Transfer to WordPress

Originally I was using Blogspot. Yes, I know, forgive me. It’s not very nice.
I wanted to start a rather more professionally looking blog (despite the fact that I intend this to be anything but professional) and blogspot really wasn’t the place. I’d seen and read some great WordPress stuff. It looked rather fetching. I was misled by things saying download this, do that, upload this, and thought it was far too complicated. Thanks to the joys of Twitter however, a lovely follower showed me where I was going wrong and huzzah, I’m here now! Hope you enjoy!