Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Re: Even more awesome Mars images?

As rumored, here's the awesome Mars Phoenix image. An image later in the descent as the spacecraft nears the surface. Heimdall crater is within twenty kilometers of the landing site but just in the background in the image (You can't see it from the landing site).

Via Planetary Society Blog.

P.S. Also see the image of Phoenix on the ground at HiRISE blog. Heck, see the full image to see the parachute and heat shield as well.

Sudden cold front temperature change

A fantastic wind shift and cold front passage last night dropped temperatures by twenty degrees Fahrenheit in the course of a few minutes. As is common here, the cold front used the lake as an expressway south to accelerate and end an otherwise warm and humid Memorial Day. As experienced by me, a quiet warm night suddenly grew loud as the trees shook, then a blast of cold air blew through my open windows in a gust. Another account.

This data is from the Ryerson weather station.
--Timestamp--- Temp Humid Dewpt Wind HiWind WindDir
20080526 19:30 80.6 57 63.9 8 18 247
20080526 20:00 79.8 58 63.7 6 15 247
20080526 20:30 79.0 61 64.4 5 13 270
20080526 21:00 78.2 63 64.6 4 13 247
20080526 21:30 77.6 66 65.3 5 11 247
20080526 22:00 76.8 67 65.0 5 11 247
20080526 22:30 76.1 69 65.2 4 11 270
20080526 23:00 54.3 73 45.8 10 35 270
20080526 23:30 51.9 78 45.3 18 41 0
20080526 24:00 48.8 82 43.6 18 33 0

One of the few storms that popped up on the warm side earlier that evening
Is this cloud from the cold air bumping the warm humid air up and out of the way?

Even more awesome Mars images?

You've seen the amazing image of Phoenix descending in the Martian atmosphere as taken from MRO's HiRISE. (As Emily Lakdawalla puts it: "OMG!! Parachute!!!! Photo !!!!!" You might have seen the first false-color images. But now there is a rumor about another HiRISE image of Phoenix while it was still descending in front of Heimdall Crater.

Is this that image?
Not spectacular enough after the first image.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The newest supernova in the Milky Way

The last supernova in the galaxy was Kepler's star of 1604 in Ophiuchus. Or was it? You'd expect a supernova in a barred spiral of our size every 50-100 years. We haven't seen any, and it's because of that pesky dust in the way, blocking our optical view. But it looks like follow-up x-ray work from Chandra has found evidence of a 150-year old supernova in Sagittarius!

X-rays in orange, radio in blue. Reminds me of the firefox logo.

It looks like the impetus for revisiting the radio work in 1985 was that the x-rays detected by Chandra were significantly outside the 1985 radio contours implying rapid expansion. See the paper here.

P.S. Tip to General Carlessness and Bad Astronomer

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Adventures in large format digital photography: part 5

I got the camera working again, kinda of. It doesn't work with TWAIN enabled stuff. It will work just fine using Vuescan on Windows and XSane on Ubuntu. Exposures are weird with Vuescan--I seemingly lost 3 stops of speed with it.

I also dremeled open the highly vignetting slot that previously limited the images to that narrow vertical view. I can now scan 7x11 inches. (Somehow I lost an inch and a half--the sensor is dead below 7 inches). There is also a band of vignetting and/or low sensitivity right across the central-top of the frame.






Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kaguya: Color on the Moon

I was perusing (as best as possible without reading Japanese) the currently released images of the Moon from the Japanese spacecraft Kaguya when I encountered this one. You nearly forget all the images are in color when all you are looking at is the nearly monochrome Moon.

Click to enlarge to HDTV resolution