Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

Back to looking at the stars!

Well, I have now been looking for the perfect (for me) telescope for many weeks, I mean months now.  Ok, it’s almost a year.  With so many great telescopes to pick from, figuring out which is the right one has turned into much more of a challenge than I ever thought it would be.  When you contemplate spending what will be over a couple thousand dollar investment, you want to get it right.

In the interim, I have not been avoiding the night sky.  I do own a small, 45x power spotting scope that has been able to give me some decent views of the moon, and some viewing of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.  I have easily seen three of Jupiter’s moons and have even been able to make our some of the cloud banding.  Though I have been able to make out the ring of Saturn, I am not able to see any ring bands.  I am still on the starting path of learning some of the star formations, and due to light pollution of the city, have not been able to spot any of the other many more spectacular sights to see, such as galaxies or even one of the great nebula’s weighting for me to spot.

So, as much as I would love a 12″ or larger mirror, I have decided to rule out Dob’s, even though they cost less for mirror size, they tend to be heavier and as such, would need to be set up in sections, which I know (knowing me) would mean I would not use it as much due to the extra time needed to set up for viewing.  So, taking weight into account, I have narrowed the search down to either a 10″ Mead Casigrain or an 11″ Celestron casigrain type telescope.  Each comes in at a bit under 100 pounds, and are still within my carrying capabilities.

So, by the end of the month, my goal is to have one of the two, setting in my home, ready for a night of exploration.

Stay tuned!

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October 16, 2013 Posted by | Hobbies, Mars, Saturn, Science, Space, Telescopes | Leave a comment

The heat just keeps coming!

After what seemed like a cooler than normal spring, summer has kicked into high gear in Nebraska. We are in a streak of 100 or near 100 degree days. The humidity though not equal to the temperature, does not feel all that far behind. Stepping out of an air conditioned building, or car, feels like opening the door of an oven and flooding your face with hot steamy air that fogs your glasses, takes your breath away, and just makes you want to close the door back up quickly.

So what is the reason for the extreme heat. Is is global warming? I check the records, and we are not currently setting new ones. Temperatures have been more extreme in times past. So, is this related to global warming, or is it related to higher output from the sun? Or, is it a bit of both. There seems to be some contention and controversy over what is the cause of warmer temperatures. There are indicators such as higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that can not really be contested, as it is scientific fact. According to geological records, this is not the first time in history that CO2 has been as high as it is today. In fact, it has been even higher if the science is correct.

I recall times back in the 60’s (I know), when the winters in Wisconsin and Minnesota were much colder than we average today. I also remember days when the temperatures climbed up into the upper 90’s and even hit the 100 mark, which is not much different from todays trends. So do I think that global warming is fact or fiction? I must say yes, it is. Or then again, what are all the possible causes? I am not exactly sure, but I do think that continuing to pump millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere is not a good idea regardless. Are all the efforts being made to reduce CO2 worth while? I would have to say “Yes”. Just as pouring tons of chemicals into the water-ways has been proven to not be a good idea. The really hard part is going to be figuring out how to reduce, while helping everyone to keep an acceptable standard of living.

The really ironic thing is that at time when winters are supposed to be warmer, we just had a winter with some of the greatest snow falls seen in decades in the north. Then we had a spring that was cooler than normal with more rain than normal. In fact we had a lot more rain than normal. So what do you get when you mix extra deep snow with lots of rain. You get a year where you have some the greatest flooding seen in over sixty years! If it was not for the all the heat we have been having, I would just say “rain rain go away, come again another day”. But, given the current circumstances, I would settle for some cooler air.

July 19, 2011 Posted by | Science, Spring, Summer, Weather, Winter | Leave a comment

Time and Space – part 2

   I wrote a while back about some thoughts on Time and Space.  There seems to be much conflicting information regarding the true nature of the universe.  Another item which crossed my mind the other night as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to arrive, was the rate of the expansion of the universe.

  Hubble measured the expansion of the universe to be one of ever-increasing rates of speed, the farther distant you look.  I have yet to hear of a theory of why this difference in speed exists.  Well, as I was contemplating this issue, a deep dark thought occurred to me.  No, not anything evil, but rather Black Hole Theory.  When you  think about a the gravity well of a Black Hole, the concept that comes to my mind is one of a string of rubber bands.  In this case, rubber bands that start off as weak ones, followed by ever larger ones and more powerful ones as you approach the Black Hole. 

  So what does this have to do with the expansion of the universe?   First you have to think about what is beyond the boundary of the universe?  Based on much of what I have read, what is perhaps most logically to be expected is a total pure vacuum.  Not the vacuum of space as we know space outside the boundaries of the Earth, Solar System, or even the vacuum of space between the Milky Way and our neighbor the Andromeda galaxy.  For this space is anything but empty.  All the partial physicists agree that in the vacuum of space as we know if, you will find molecules abound and particles keep popping into and out of existence in the subatomic regions of space.

   Now back out to beyond the known universe, is the pure vacuum of nothingness that existed prior to the singularity, or event region between different dimensions, which Banged, or Tore itself, depending on theories, into being. 

   I think of this pure vacuum of nothingness as being the source of why the galaxies further away, are moving faster and faster the further you look.  Think of the inverse of the Black Hole effect.  as the universe expands, matter is moving farther away from each other.   This increasing distance correlates to a reduction in the force that gravity can expend between the gravity wells of the galaxies.  This would mean that the true vacuum of space outside the universe, is acting as an attraction force drawing matter ever outward at ever-increasing velocity as the force of gravity becomes weaker as matter is spread ever thinner in our expanding universe.  Thus as the force of gravity increases exponentially around a Black Hole, the force the The True Vacuum outside the boundary of the universe is having an exponential influence on the speed of the expansion of the universe as the universe thins due to expansion.  Thus, the closer the galaxy is to the edge of the universe, the faster it will move, being drawn, or pushed as it were, through a straw, from a region of high pressure of compacted matter, into and toward the low pressure region of the True Vacuum beyond the edge of the universe.

Ok, I think I can go to sleep now.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Science, Space, thinking, thoughts | , , | Leave a comment

Things so large. It’s all relative in a Quantum Sense.

   After trying to grasp ones mind around the immensity of the size of the universe, perhaps looking the other direction would be easier? 

    Instead of a telescope, perhaps using a microscope is the answer.  It should be easier grasping the very small, right?

   That’s what I started thinking until I was reading an article regarding particle physics and and the realm of subatomic particle physics, otherwise known as Quantum Physics.

   Did you know that if you were to take a building, lets say the size of a football stadium which can hold something like  20,000 fans for comparison.  If the nucleus of an atom were the size of a gum ball, the electrons orbiting the atom would be up in the nose-bleed seats, with nothing but empty space in-between.

    So if every atom has this much empty space within itself, this means everything is made mostly of nothingness.  With so much of nothing making up everything, it’s amazing there is anything?

   And then we go even smaller in the the absolute realm of quantum particle physics were even the parts of an atom are made up of many more things, with space inbetween each of these parts.

   So if we look to the large, things just keep getting larger.  If we look inward to the smallest of the small, things keep getting smaller.

   I have to go lay down now.  My head is hurting again.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Science | , , | Leave a comment

Time and Space?

  As lay in bed the other night, after a day long consumption of at least one full pot of coffee, I found sleep totally evading me.  Not being one to try something as arcane as counting sheep, I instead entered into other forms of mind exercises in an attempt to find the Zzzzzz’s which were eluding me.

   Having spent a few evenings browsing Hubble images on the Web, things started to make less sense then normal.  If Hubble is able to capture an image from which the light originated over 13 Billion years ago, which is closing in on the time of the big bang, a thought occurred to me. 

   First some assumptions:

    1.  The universe is expanding outward away from the source of the big bang.

    2.  Our Milky Way is at least half to three quarters of the way, away from the big bang source.

     3.  We are in the Milky Way, so we are also around 3/4 of the way toward the edge of the universe.

    So, if we are this far away from the source of the big bang, the Big Bang has to be in one direction away from us.  But, as the Hubble images have shown, no matter which way we point Hubble, the images look the same.  In other words, we can see over 13 Billion light years in every direction we look.  Shouldn’t the universe be shorter in one direction over the other?

    So this would mean that space is not uniform, and thus must have curvature to it.  But what form or shape this curvature is in the shape of, has yet to be explained.  Perhaps space is compressed in one direction and stretched in another, but to us, due to light speed limitations appears to more uniform than it is.  Perhaps also, the effects of the the first moments of the Big Bang, which having an expansion speed faster than the speed of light has impact?   After all, if a Black Hole can pull light into it with effects we do not fully understand, then perhaps expansion exceeding the speed of light would also have impacts beyond what we would normally be expected.

   So I managed to arrive at absolutely zero answers, but I did fall to sleep with something interesting on my mind.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Exercise, Science, Space, thinking | , , | 1 Comment

The Hubble is Free!

Hubble on the horizon
Hubble on the horizon

 

 At 7:57 a.m. Central, history was again made in the completion of the successful servicing of the Hubble Telescope.  This amazing work was the mission (TS-125) which did more than repair a telescope.  Not only were upgrades completed, but upgrades were also installed which, if you can believe it, made Hubble even better than the day it was sent up into space.

  Though this is the last time that repairs will be made or even attempted, the Hubble should last another 5 to 10 years before it’s time to send the telescope to a watery grave back on earth.  Something this large will not be left to chance, in terms of where it lands.  After all, we are talking about something the size of a Bus!  Parts will hit the ground, or water.

  If you have not visited www.NASA.govI cannot encourage anyone with a sparkle of interest in what is beyond our world, it visit and click on the Hubble ( http://hubble.nasa.gov/) link to expore our universe.   If you take a minute to view all the images captured by Hubble, I think you will find that you will be busy for a long time to come.  Fortunately, NASA has made the most dramatic images easy to get at. 

   As I stated in an earlier entry, the Hubble is really a visual time machine.  I recommend you take some of your time, to take a view into the past.  It’s really a wonderful sight!

You can also see video of the space shuttle capture the Hubble Telescope at the link below.  There are also other links on the page to other mission related videos as well:

http://anon.nasa-global.edgesuite.net/anon.nasa-global/ccvideos/hubblegrapple_320.asx

May 19, 2009 Posted by | Earth, Science | | Leave a comment