November 16, 2010

Martian Sunsets, Jovian Sounds and Everything In-between

For those of my fluffballs who have a slow connection, I do apologise in advance for the many videos and links to articles on this post.

I write my Fourier Methods final exam tomorrow and the prep is going VERY slowly. I'm clearly on holiday already. So, in light of my go-slow, I've decided to dedicate today's post to one of my passions: astronomy. I love astronomy and anything cosmology-related. I hope to do research in this field one day when I get to the  wherever I'm supposed to get going to.

I decided to take Nerugui-chan, my telescope, out tonight. The moon was my first sky-stop. I've got to say, I'm amazed every single time I look at it. It looks so dusty and rocky and quiet out there. Though, being one of the members of the scientific community, I know that that's actually not the case. I then decided to call Gieba and Mevin out to take a look at the moon too. They were both surprised at what it looked like through Nerugui and Mevin, bless him, asked me all sorts of strange questions (how many people are able to fit in the moon was one of them). It was then that Mevin asked me if I could see Jupiter with Nerugui too. Well, duh, I can, so I decided to make his little kid-heart happy and show it to him. Not really. I was looking for the moon when I so happened to see an Airy disk in my focus. Sharpening this led me to see that it actually was Jupiter, together with four of its moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. The latter objects just looked like tiny little dots, but they were all nicely lined-up on either side of the planet -- Io and Europa on one side and Ganymede and Callisto on the other. On closer inspection, I could actually see the cloud bands on Jupiter. IT WAS AWESOME!

Back to Mevin. Oh, the way he jumped up and down and clapped his hands when I told him that I'd found Jupiter for him. It was heartwarming to see. The poor kid was so excited, he didn't want to stop looking through the eyepiece (not that Gieba didn't want to not hog it either, but this is the kid's paragraph) and promised me that he'd go brag about it to all of his friends at school tomorrow. Go for it honey, everyone deserves their 15 minutes of fame!

Going along with this wave, I must admit that I always wonder what the sunset would look like on another planet. Imagine looking up to see two suns in the sky, or even eight moons! That must be an awesome sight to behold. I found something akin to this while scratching around the web earlier. Okay, some of you may not think very much of this but look at it this way: it's an actual sunset being observed on another planet! (Well, Mars to be exact, but let's not let that kill the wave.)

Did you know that planets make sounds? Me neither. They apparently give them off as electromagnetic waves and these travel through space. Using the correct equipment, one can convert these into actual soundwaves for the masses to hear. Jupiter's sounds are some of the most ethereal I've heard so far... This is a 10-minute video but you don't need to listen to the entire thing to be amazed.

And while we're on the subject, it had been found in May that Jupiter had actually lost one of its cloud bands. I wonder where it went to... :/ I actually saw that one band was missing tonight!

Another curious case was when some people took radio signals recorded from Saturn, raised the pitch a bit and then produced what's in this video (well, only a small portion of it).

Thought that was strange? Apparently the Moon has water too! It's supposed to be one of the driest places in our solar system and, yet, the damn thing's been holding back on all of the water while we're suffering from droughts and the like down here -- do I hear an aye for a  moonshower anyone? I thought so too... So, if there's water, maybe there's a lunar hydrosphere (Wikipedia this one if you don't know what that is)? What we then have, essentially, is something like this:

Over-populated Earth (droughts, shortages, etc included) -> More space needed for habitation -> Dry Moon -> Moon has water -> Lunar Hydrosphere -> Realisation that the moon is HUGE -> Technological advancement -> Terrestrial spaceport -> Begin terraforming Mars (?) -> Lunar colonies -> Lunar cities -> Haggle about who gets to go first -> More space for everyone -> Semi-happy people until the moon becomes over-populated -> Mars (?) or Venus (?). 

If you're rich, rolling in money and one of those types wanting to buy pieces of the moon for yourself, please do note how I've conveniently left you all out of the flowchart. The moon belongs to everyone, so tell whomever you're buying lunar land from that they're scamming you. If you've inferred that I'm against having the rich and famous on the moon only, or having them inhabit it first just because they've got money, then you're a smart reader. Welcome to the the distinguished reader-circle.

And to close everything off, I redirect you all to a rather interesting article on solar weather. I encourage all of you to take time off to go and read it. Another article on the subject can be found here. Observations made on the sun have all along suggested that our host star is actually extremely busy.

On a much-unrelated note, despite all of the apparent impending doom that our planet stares in the face on a daily basis, little Maru-chan here doesn't seem to care one bit. In fact, he prefers to make the best of an already strange situation. :)

That's all for today, my fluffballs.


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