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Users that often use this tag:
runcibleshaw (2)
phrontist (2)
nightengine (2)
snsranch (2)
bondcliff (2)
deansfurniture5 (2)
Gankmore (2)
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3-2-1 open! Space-themed gift suggestions for an adult

Help me think of a space-themed gift for an awesome 35-year-old guy. [more inside]
posted by shortyJBot on Jun 3, 2014 - 22 answers

Best pre-space age photos we had of the planets?

What were the best photos we had of the planets in our solar system before the Pioneer and Voyager missions? [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on May 15, 2014 - 4 answers

Astronomy 101

Cosmos has me very intrigued. Assume I know less than a 5th grader. I am looking for: book recommendations for basic astronomy concepts; blogs; podcasts for beginners; good audio books; and documentaries. If you wanted to teach an adult about astronomy where would you start?
posted by morganannie on May 5, 2014 - 13 answers

I have no IDeaL what I'm doing (IDL programming for absolute dum-dums)

So, I recently got selected to do undergraduate physics research this summer. Great! Awesome! Yay me! However, my research advisor has asked me to use something called IDL to analyze tomographic images of compounds and turn them into 3D images. This is good news, because IDL is used a lot by astronomers to analyze astronomical data, and I want to continue my education in astronomy. But, I've never used IDL ever before. I'm not even sure exactly what it is (a programming language?). My question is this: how do I get up to speed so that I can hit the ground running with my research? Difficulty: Research begins in two weeks. Details: [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on Apr 25, 2014 - 12 answers

Not my stats homework, I swear

An NPR blog cites an NSF study which claims that 26 percent of Americans asked answered that the Sun goes around the Earth, rather than vice versa. Believing that 1 in 4 of my fellow citizens doesn't know that the Earth circles the Sun is hard enough. But thinking about that number, it seems worse than that: if 26% got a 50/50 question wrong, wouldn't another 26% have answered correctly just based on chance rather than knowledge? That would mean that roughly half of Americans didn't know (and then split evenly on their guess). The idea that half of Americans don't know seems intuitively ludicrous to me. Am I missing something in how I think about this? Please help my statistically challenged brain... [more inside]
posted by tyllwin on Feb 15, 2014 - 17 answers

Help Me Build a Solar System

I want to build a solar system with a decent amount of verisimilitude, and the math and physics are killing me. [more inside]
posted by Deoridhe on Dec 13, 2013 - 4 answers

Blanket of Earth?

Tonight my 8 year old niece told me that for Christmas she wants a blanket for her bed that has a giant picture of Earth on it. I asked her if she saw this somewhere, and she told me that she just thought about how cool it would be in her own head. I tried doing a Google search, but I'm having no luck. Anyone have an idea of where I might find such a thing? Thanks!
posted by ezrainch on Nov 28, 2013 - 8 answers

Where should I put the prime meridian?

So I've just sent a probe to map a new Earth-like planet, and I'd like to establish a latitude-longitude standard for the planet. The poles are pretty easy to spot since the planet is rotating, so I plop down the equator halfway between them and boom, I've got my latitude lines laid out. But now it's time to lay out the longitude lines and I need to find somewhere to put the prime meridian. How do I decide where to put it? [more inside]
posted by ErWenn on Oct 19, 2013 - 22 answers

Where to see stars near lake Geneva

We are going to be in Lake Geneva this weekend where can we get away from light pollution and see the Milky way? [more inside]
posted by dstopps on Oct 10, 2013 - 6 answers

Fire On Exoplanets?

How likely is it that fire (as in open flame) will exist on extra-solar planets? [more inside]
posted by quin on Sep 13, 2013 - 7 answers

History of the science of planetary motion for kids

I'm looking for a short book or series of books for my 7.5 year old son describing the history of the search to explain planetary motion. [more inside]
posted by alms on Aug 5, 2013 - 6 answers

Looking for an image: Person looking out of a globe/biosphere

It is an antiquarian image, showing a person peeking out of a globe into the stars or something. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with metaphysics. I swear it is on the tip of my tongue..
posted by prufrock on Jul 3, 2013 - 2 answers

WHAT just happened to the moon?!

What did we just see? Please tell me we didn't just witness the beginning of the end of the world... [more inside]
posted by Emms on Jun 11, 2013 - 28 answers

How Can I Be Notified of Aurora Sightings in NY Tristate Area?

Since we're in a period of increasing solar activity, I'm hoping for some hot aurora action in the NY Tristate area. But while there are countless aurora forecast/advisory services, I can't find one for this area. [more inside]
posted by Quisp Lover on May 22, 2013 - 7 answers

Boston area Sunset/moonrise on June 23rd.

Where would be a good location in Eastern Massachusetts to see and photograph both the sunset and (full) moonrise on Sunday, June 23rd? [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on May 21, 2013 - 9 answers

Can you collect meteorite dust in your backyard? How?

I've been told recently that collecting micrometeorites is as easy, basically, as placing a clean surface outside and picking through the debris you collect because thousands of tons of space dust and debris fall to Earth every day. That can't be all there is to it, can it? How do you know whether you're looking at Earth dust or space dust? [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Feb 27, 2013 - 4 answers

When is it clear in New England?

How can I find out which semester has the the largest number of clear nights? I'm teaching an observational astronomy class this term and am getting frustrated by the number of cloudy nights. Is this just life in New England, or would teaching it in the Spring be better? [more inside]
posted by Betelgeuse on Nov 7, 2012 - 2 answers

The slowest game of peek-a-boo on record.

Could Alpha Centaurians detect planets around Sol? [more inside]
posted by chairface on Oct 17, 2012 - 13 answers

Great Astronomical Discoveries of 2012?

[Astronomy-filter] Giving a speech about Astronomical Discoveries of 2012 to an informal group of friends. Looking for suggestions on 3 main points to cover. Your input greatly appreciated! [more inside]
posted by Draccy on Oct 9, 2012 - 8 answers

What part of the earth gets the most moonlight?

Is there any place on Earth that gets the most moonlight? [more inside]
posted by zinful on Oct 6, 2012 - 7 answers

The stars are shining tonight

When you look up on a starry night, you see more than a thousand points of light. How many of what we see with the naked eye are stars and how many are galaxies?
posted by megatherium on Sep 11, 2012 - 9 answers

How many stars we see are already gone?

How many of the stars whose light we see at night are actually already dead/gone/disintegrated? [more inside]
posted by progosk on Aug 18, 2012 - 7 answers

In my universe the dipper points to the South Star

Batshit insane filter: I recommended to a friend, 1Q84, the best book I've ever read. He loved it. I had lunch with him this week and he said he thought he was in an alternative himself, as one night he looked up at the Big Dipper and it appeared to be backwards, pointing toward the south. Yikes, I had the same experience myself recently. Whats going on here? Is it an astronomy thing or will Tengo and Aomame appear soon?
posted by Xurando on Aug 6, 2012 - 15 answers

How big does something have to be to block out the sun?

How big/high up would something floating in the sky have to be to block out the sun to a sufficient extent to simulate "night?" [more inside]
posted by ethansh on Jul 29, 2012 - 10 answers

Resources to learn about astronomy, please!

Please recommend resources (books, websites, iPhone apps, etc.) for learning about astronomy: constellations, stars, dark energy, dark matter, black holes, space exploration, and the solar system. [more inside]
posted by hypotheticole on Jul 17, 2012 - 11 answers

Buying a telescope for my school

I'm teaching a high school astronomy course in the fall. I have around two thousand dollars to get a telescope. This purchase is the kind of thing that just bluescreens by brain. Please guide me. [more inside]
posted by Shutter on Jul 11, 2012 - 8 answers

Portable beginner telescope

Recommendations for a portable beginner telescope? [more inside]
posted by chndrcks on Jun 25, 2012 - 12 answers

Dark sky, cheap telescope, totally inexperienced operator. What can I see?

Astronomy/Skygazing Beginner: I'm gonna be camping out in a dark place, and I have access to a cheap low-consumer-grade telescope. Is it worth it to take it? What could it see? What could I reliably find? Three technically-competent operators, but zero experience/familiarity with the use of any telescope. [more inside]
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj on Jun 19, 2012 - 14 answers

Venus, 1.5 Centuries Ago

In which Aubrey-Maturin Novel did the Transit of Venus appear? [more inside]
posted by Danf on Jun 6, 2012 - 4 answers

Where to View the Transit of Venus Near San Francisco

The Transit of Venus is June 5! Where is a beautiful, romantic spot for viewing within 30-60 minute drive of San Francisco? [more inside]
posted by aoleary on Jun 4, 2012 - 10 answers

Dearly Beloved, We're All Made of Star Stuff

Wedding reading for the (very) non-religious space nerds. Suggestions? [more inside]
posted by lydhre on May 21, 2012 - 33 answers

Hypothetical Astronomy

If all non-solar-system stars ceased to exist, how would things look different to us on earth? Would anything change? [more inside]
posted by juniperesque on May 15, 2012 - 16 answers

Where can I see a clear western horizon around Chicago?

Where can we get a clear view of the western horizon at sunset to see the transit of Venus, in or near or within a few hours' drive of Chicago? [more inside]
posted by booknerd on Apr 25, 2012 - 5 answers

The Stars are Exploding?

My housemate and I just saw a bright pinpoint flash (approx intensity and size of Rigel) in the sky, lasting about an eighth of a second, what's it likely to have been? [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Apr 14, 2012 - 10 answers

What are career options outside of academia for someone with an astronomy Ph.D.?

What are career options outside of academia for someone with an astronomy Ph.D.? [more inside]
posted by kyrademon on Mar 26, 2012 - 11 answers

Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are.

What makes a star "twinkle"? [more inside]
posted by fignewton on Jan 4, 2012 - 13 answers

With whom are we sharing the rest of eternity?

If I've gotten the right impression, much of our currently visible universe will eventually be expanded away from us, never to be seen again. Do we already know how much and what parts of our present neighborhood we'll be left huddling with?
posted by Anything on Dec 4, 2011 - 12 answers

What will the fate of Jupiter and its moons be during and after our sun becomes a red giant?

What will the fate of Jupiter and its moons be during and after our sun becomes a red giant? (or, please forward me to reliable sources with information beyond a first-order Google search) [more inside]
posted by ch3cooh on Nov 23, 2011 - 8 answers

Her brothers want to be garbage men

How do I teach astrophysics to an eight-year-old? [more inside]
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism on Nov 18, 2011 - 19 answers

Its the time of the season

I'm looking for a map that shows the variance between the standard time and 'local time' within the timezones around the world, or at least within the US. [more inside]
posted by TDIpod on Oct 29, 2011 - 11 answers

Help me understand sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset tables

Please help me understand these sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset tables. [more inside]
posted by Tom-B on Oct 20, 2011 - 4 answers

which telescope?

When buying your first astronomy telescope, for the same given price (say $500) would you prefer a larger aperture (Dobsonian) or a basic computerised Go-To function? [more inside]
posted by wilful on Sep 29, 2011 - 18 answers

Higher resolution version of photo of Carl Sagan with the Dalai Lama

Where can a find a higher resolution version of this photo of Carl Sagan and the Dalai Lama looking at pictures of galaxies? Or failing that, does anyone know the source?
posted by caek on Sep 2, 2011 - 3 answers

Eyepiece for DSO viewing?

Best eyepiece for viewing deep space objects with a Zhumell Z12 dobsonian reflector telescope? [more inside]
posted by nurgle on Jul 26, 2011 - 2 answers

Extraterrestrials but inside the solar system?

I'm interested in reading (or listening, viewing etc.) speculative science essays or hard science fiction that postulates complex, extraterrestrial life within our solar system. [more inside]
posted by nanojath on Jul 15, 2011 - 15 answers

Romantic sounding astronomical entities

For our wedding reception we are aiming to name our tables after romantic (or pleasantly poetic) sounding astronomical entities. [more inside]
posted by Drama Penguin on Jun 13, 2011 - 26 answers

How early can you have a mid-life crisis?

I'm working on going back to school for Astronomy/Astrophysics, but I need help figuring out what classes to take at the Community College level here in San Francisco and how best to apply to a school like UC Berkeley. Complicating matters is the fact that I went to school for 4 years for film (don't ask) at Drexel University but didn't graduate. Luckily I spent my first two years at Drexel on a general science track. What I really need help with is figuring out what classes I should take at a school like City College of San Francisco. Also, when is the soonest I can/should apply to UCB? Alternately, what San Francisco adjacent schools have really good astronomy/astrophysics programs? [more inside]
posted by runcibleshaw on May 28, 2011 - 11 answers

Are giant steps what you take, walking on The Sun (apologies to The Police)?

Can anyone tell me, well, ANYTHING about a person (hypothetically) standing on the sun? [more inside]
posted by argonauta on May 16, 2011 - 44 answers

From Mars to Earth??

I was listening to this Fresh Air interview today and wondered how they know a meteorite is from Mars. [more inside]
posted by Rad_Boy on Apr 4, 2011 - 8 answers

I need the bizarro Martian version of Galileo.

Martian Astronomer Filter--when Mars moves like this in the sky from our point of view on Earth, how does the Earth appear to move from Mars' perspective? [more inside]
posted by JMB1138 on Feb 24, 2011 - 3 answers

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