It’s almost here

Brace yourselves.

I’ve been anticipating this for some time (as have many others) for Prof Brian Cox’s new series ‘Wonders of the Universe’. The second his previous series ended the first question was ‘So, what’s next?’ He said on Twitter there would be another series. I’ve followed him tediously (but non-stalkerish!) seeing where abouts the BBC Wonders team are. Where are they filming today? What’s been going on? Thankfully the team have been keeping loyal twitterers informed by posting the occasional photo or video. They’ve been to Africa again, a huge glacier and up in Norway. All to make us jealous too I expect.

Anyway the trailer, here it is, accompanied by the superb music by John Murphy that was originally on the movie ‘Sunshine‘. I cannot wait, this series is truly going to rival Cosmos as the best scientific TV programme in history.

And if you’re on twitter Brian Cox is there @ProfBrianCox and the Wonders team are there @BBC_Wonders

Enjoy the series! :D

The Carl Sagan Tributes

It was only last year when I first became aware of Carl Sagan, sadly deceased but probably one of the greatest, most influential scientists to have roamed the surface of the Earth.

I heard about his 1982 series ‘Cosmos’ and immediately bought the series on Amazon and gawped in amazement at half a days worth of awesomeness!

Carl Sagan

Some of Carl Sagan’s quotes have really stuck with me and changed and re-shaped my perspective of the world. Below are a few of my favourties. Continue reading

Farewell Discovery

Discovery is my favourite of the 3 remaining shuttles. Discovery was the first shuttle I learnt about and it fascinated me. It must have been back in 2002, when I was a mere 12 years old, there was a programme on the TV – Rocket Men of Mission 105 – on National Geographic. It astonished me. It followed the training of the crew, launch preparations, the launch and mission at the International Space Station. I was hooked. My obsession with the space programme started here.

Space Shuttle Discovery

So there she stands now, the most historic, most flown spaceship there is. Discovery, on launch pad 39A ready to head up tomorrow at 2150GMT. It’s going to be sad to see her go but I’m really looking forward to the launch, it’s going to be beautiful.

Images a’ coming!

I had a bit of a lazy morning this morning and got up just before 10 (I had very good reason, I was on an early yesterday and needed some decent sleep). I went straight to my laptop to look at the latest images from Stardust but couldn’t find anything. I went to Ustream and caught the last 2 minutes of JPL’s broadcast (the American’s all went to bed I guess). What happened?

Well as it turns out everything pretty much went according to plan with the flyby. The spacecraft turned round to point its high-gain antenna at the Earth and hit the transmit button. Seems as if the pictures are coming in the wrong order though. It was programmed to send us the really exciting close-ups first but has instead decided to send them in the order they were photographed. This means we do actually have some pictures at the moment but were going to have to wait a few more hours to get the good’uns!

As good as it gets for the time being!

As you can see, a bit grainy and lacking in detail at the moment. The ones to come will be on orders of magnitude more impressive. I’m going to be at work when they come through though which is a bit of a shame. I’ll try and grab a sneaky peek when it quietens down a tad and blog about it tomorrow!

A date with the Red Planet

Spread the love people! I haven’t received a valentines card though (Awww!) At least 3 lucky men have a date, a date with the Red Planet. Well, what I ofcourse mean by that is a fake ‘Red Planet’. A large room in Moscow (or more precisely the Institute of Biomedical Problems) covered with redish sand and rocks, all made to look like the Martian surface. Why? It’s the Mars500 mission ofcourse. They successfully ‘landed’ on the surface on the 12th and today took their first steps onto ‘the surface of Mars’.

The Mars500 Crew

Continue reading

Return to Tempel 1

The American’s have hyped this up a bit, ‘Valentine encounter for Stardust and comet’ when strictly speaking (if you follow GMT/UTC) then it’s the day after valentines. But hey, I guess if it gets people interested, why not.

Impression of Stardust-NExT's encounter with Comet Tempel 1

The Deep Impact spacecraft originally flew past the comet back in July 2005 and launched a projectile at the comet. Continue reading

Astrofest Awesomeness

Well I thought I ought to do a blog post about my time at Astrofest 2011 over the last few days. It was a fantastic 2 days, learnt a lot, met some lovely people and generally had a superb time.

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous and apprehensive about going along. I knew no one except for a few people I ‘knew of’ on Twitter. I’m not usually good when you put me in the situation of this kind of thing with loads of random people.

Nevertheless I found how to get to High Street Kensington on the tube (tube maps confuse me) and on Friday morning at 8am I left to find my way. I then went in search of breakfast and coffee before I went in.

Now, despite checking how to get to the event on Google Maps, Google Street View and the fact that I had my iPhone with me, I still managed to get lost. I even missed the giant sign that said ‘ASTROFEST IS HERE’. Even the swarms of people heading to that big building over there didn’t help me out. I got there in the end though, just in time for Session 1.

The first talk was by Dr Emily Baldwin (@AstroEmz) on the moons of Mars. Continue reading