an exercise in miscellany

Posts Tagged ‘space’

Planet Vulcan

In science & nature, wild card on March 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

solar_system vulcan


Vulcan was a small planet proposed to exist in an orbit between Mercury and the Sun. Attempting to explain peculiarities of Mercury’s orbit, the 19th-century French mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier hypothesized that they were the result of another planet, which he named “Vulcan”. No such planet was ever found, and Mercury’s orbit has now been explained by Albert Einstein‘s theory of general relativity.  Searches of NASA’s two STEREO spacecraft data have failed to detect any Vulcanoid asteroids.

via Vulcan

Project Thor

In operations and projects, wild card on May 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Project Thor is an idea for a weapons system that launches kinetic projectiles from Earth’s orbit to damage targets on the ground. Jerry Pournelle originated the concept while working in operations research at Boeing in the 1950s before becoming a science-fiction writer.

The most described system is “an orbiting tungsten telephone pole with small fins and a computer in the back for guidance”. The weapon can be down-scaled, an orbiting “crowbar” rather than a pole.The system described in the 2003 United States Air Force (USAF) report was that of 20-foot-long (6.1 m), 1-foot-diameter (0.30 m) tungsten rods, that are satellite controlled, and have global strike capability, with impact speeds of Mach 10.

via Kinetic Bombardment

Out-of-Place Artifact

In science & nature, wild card on April 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

Out-of-place artifact (OOPArt) is a term coined by American naturalist and cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson for an object of historical, archaeological, or paleontological interest found in a very unusual or seemingly impossible context that could challenge conventional historical chronology.

The term “out-of-place artifact” is rarely used by mainstream historians or scientists. Its use is largely confined to cryptozoologists, proponents of ancient astronaut theories, Young Earth creationists, and paranormal enthusiasts. The term is used to describe a wide variety of objects, from anomalies studied by mainstream science to pseudoarchaeology far outside the mainstream, to objects that have been shown to be hoaxes or to have mundane explanations.

via Out-of-place artifact


In science & nature, words & phrases on March 15, 2012 at 6:34 am

A fullerene is any molecule composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid or tube. Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs, and they resemble the balls used in association football. Cylindrical ones are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes. Fullerenes are similar in structure to graphite, which is composed of stacked graphene sheets of linked hexagonal rings; but they may also contain pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings.

via Fullerene


In science & nature on August 27, 2011 at 11:01 am

Ophiuchus is a large constellation located around the celestial equator. Its name is from the Greek Ὀφιοῦχος “serpent-bearer”, and it is commonly represented as a man grasping the snake that is represented by the constellation Serpens. Ophiuchus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains one of the 88 modern constellations. It was formerly referred to as Serpentarius.

via Ophiuchus

Galactic Center

In places, science & nature on August 24, 2011 at 9:21 am

The Galactic Center is the rotational center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is located at a distance of 8.33±0.35 kpc (~27,000±1,000 ly) from the Earth in the direction of the constellations SagittariusOphiuchus, and Scorpius where the Milky Way appears brightest. It is believed that there is a supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center of the Milky Way.

via Galactic Center 


In science & nature, wild card on August 24, 2011 at 9:17 am

Nemesis is a hypothetical hard-to-detect red dwarf star, white dwarf star or brown dwarf, orbiting the Sun at a distance of about 50,000 to 100,000 AU (about 0.8-1.5 light-years), somewhat beyond the Oort cloud.This star was originally postulated to exist as part of a hypothesis to explain a perceived cycle of mass extinctions in the geological record, which seem to occur once every 26 million years or so. In addition, observations by astronomers of the sharp edges of Oort clouds, similar to that of the Solar System, around various binary (double) star systems, in contrast to the diffuse edges of the Oort clouds around single-star systems, has prompted some scientists to postulate that a dwarf star may be co-orbiting the Sun. Counter-theories also exist that other forces (like the angular effect of the galactic gravity plane) may be the cause of the sharp-edged Oort cloud pattern around the Sun. To date the issue remains unsettled in the scientific community.

via Nemesis (hypothetical star)


In science & nature on August 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Nibiru (also transliterated NeberuNebiru) is a term in the Akkadian language, translating to “crossing” or “point of transition”, especially of rivers, i.e. river crossings or ferry-boats. In Babylonian astronomynibiru (in cuneiform spelled dné-bé-ru or MULni-bi-rum) is a term of the highest point of the ecliptic, i.e. the point of summer solstice, and its associated constellation. The establishment of the nibiru point is described in tablet 5 of the creation epic Enûma Eliš

via Nibiru


In history on July 11, 2011 at 8:58 am

Mir (Russian: Мир, IPA: [ˈmʲir]; lit. Peace or World) was a Soviet and later Russian space station, operational in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001. With a greater mass than that of any previous space station, Mir was the first of the third generation of space stations, constructed from 1986 to 1996 with a modular design, and the largest artificial satellite orbiting the Earth until its deorbit on 21 March 2001.  After 15 years in orbit and visits by 104 humans, the Russian MIR space station ended it’s life by falling back to earth and mostly burning up as it reentered the atmosphere. Some large pieces of debris plunged into the Pacific ocean.

via Mir

Large Binocular Telescope

In technology & innovatons on May 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) is an optical telescope for astronomy located on Mount Graham (10,700-foot (3,300 m)) in the Pinaleno Mountains of southeastern Arizona, and is a part of the Mount Graham International Observatory. The LBT is currently one of the world’s most advanced optical telescopes; using two 8.4 m (27 ft) wide mirrors can give the same light gathering ability as a 11.8 m (39 ft) wide single circular telescope and detail of 22.8 m (75 ft) wide one, according to the BBC. Either of its mirrors would be the largest optical telescope in continental North America. The strangely named
LUCIFER Telescope has two multi-object infrared spectrographs.

via Large Binocular Telescope