Thursday, March 23, 2006

Tank Mates

Just thought I would share some pictures of my "more interesting-looking" roommates!

First, my newest friend:

He's a Dwarf Lionfish. His spines are poisonous. The poison won't hurt you or kill you, but someone who was once stung told me they needed two morphine shots to deal with the pain. That puts an end to my swimming laps in my fish tank!

My first "friend" (he was uninvited- I think he traveled for miles in the bag of sand that I put in the bottom of the tank):

He's a...something.

Another new "friend:"

Not sure what this thing is either, but I first saw it a couple of days ago.
There are also sea stars that pop out from time to time and a Hawaiian fireworm that makes a rare appearance. Sometimes, I wonder what else could be lurking in my aquarium...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fires of Creation?

The Spitzer Space telescope recently took this amazing picture:

This object is being called "The Double Helix Nebula" due to its DNA strand shape. The shape is thought to be caused by the magnetic field near our galaxy's center.

This nebula is about 300 light years from the black hole at the center of the Milky Way (to put that into perspective, we are over 25,000 light years away from it). It joins the "Strangely Shaped Nebulae Club," consisting of such members as the red rectangle and, of course, the smiley binary system highlighted below!

This is a false-color image. Spitzer is an infrared telescope. Since we can't see infrared, the images are assigned colors so that we can see them.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL, Caltech/UCLA

Friday, March 03, 2006

An Optimist's Confirmation

I just received my beautiful e-postcard from the Spitzer Space Telescope:

What you are looking at is Stephan's Quintet. Four of the five galaxies in this image are colliding. The green arc in the center of the image is actually one of the largest shock waves ever seen- it's a shock wave bigger than our own galaxy! It is being produced by one galaxy falling toward another at over a million miles per hour.

Now what you might not see is actual scientific proof of a long-held belief! Now don't be hard on yourself if you don't initially see it, I am an astronomer and have been trained in image analysis. I know the proper equations to apply to this image to glean the truly necessary information. Using complex number wave functions and a little bit of scientific ingenuity I have come up with this:

God truly does have a sense of humor.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I now have a vlog set up (a video blog, that is)!

The Muybridge Connection

The first post there is my 10 minute narrative short film. It will take a long time to load, but I'm not planning on posting videos that large each time I post somthing, so never fear! The film was just long overdue and I wanted it to have a home somewhere. It was originally shot on 16mm film and looks best that way, but since I can't afford prints right now, this is the only life it can have: