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Old 03-03-2011, 06:23 PM   #81
Dreadnought
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Hart
Is that the novel about a superorganism that resembles a cloud in space that stumbles upon our galaxy?


Yup.

Impressive, young grasshopper
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:28 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Dreadnought
Yup.

Impressive, young grasshopper


Well as a person bordering on obsessed with literature and the sciences it was really required reading. I enjoyed that book, despite its more serious undertones (likely trying to present Hoyle's universal models in a more accessible way, something more scientists should try to do) the way the cloud behaved and communicated put me in mind of Douglas Adams and other more abstract authors. I loved the cloud's shock at the fact there was life on a planet, not in space.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:22 PM   #83
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Astronomy is the tits, subscribed.
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:29 PM   #84
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Used space shuttle for sale.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/s...?_r=1&src=twrhp
Screw museums, if I had the money I'd make that thing my own private getaway home.
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:06 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by Low_End_Rocker
Is the telescope I posted a link for any good? Can you locate a better beginner's scope on that site?

I say to you what I say to everyone I know trying to get into astronomy, don't buy a scope first buy some decent 20x50 binoculars, they're easier, cheaper and can be just as satisfying.
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:13 PM   #86
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Ok, look at this picture. What do you see? Lots of galaxies, with some at weird angles?



See the ones around the edges of the center of the picture? That's one galaxy. Gravity is bending the light causing it to appear at multiple places in multiple positions. It's called gravitational lensing.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_lensing

Blow anyone's mind? Because it did mine when I heard about it .
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Old 03-08-2011, 03:17 PM   #87
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^^ Learned about that in Astronomy class. Very interesting indeed.
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:02 PM   #88
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Measuring distances in astronomy is a super-interesting subject! I would like to add another method, because parallax only gets you so far. (It only works for nearby objects, as you get farther away from what you're looking at, the relative difference in position goes to 0)

Specifically, you can use the so-called Cepheid stars as a "standard candle" to measure distance.

The term "standard candle" can be explained as follows:
Imagine a candle. You roughly know how bright that candle actually is, so when you see a candle in a certain distance, you can approximately derive that distance from comparing the apparent brightness of the candle to its actual brightness as perceived from a very short distance (which you know, because, well it's a frickin candle! ). You can certainly tell a difference if a candle is standing 10 meters or 50 meters from you.

Hence, if you had a celestial object with a known actual brightness, you can always compare that value to its apparent brightness in pictures and hence deduce its distance. Now how do we know the actual brightness of any celestial object?
Well, here, the cepheid stars come into play.

A cepheid variable star is a very bright star, which pulsates (hence "variable") at a very specific rate. The reason for this is that the ion layer surrounding the star absorbs its light and heats up and expands into space, cools down, becomes transparent again, and falls back, gets ionized and intransparent, heats up and so on. How violently this process takes place clearly depends on the actual brightness of the star, and indeed, a clear relation between both has been found. Therefore, if you find a cepheid star in another galaxy, you can measure its period of oscillation, derive its actual brightness, compare it to its apparent brightness and deduce the distance!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cepheid_variable

I am really interested in cosmology. I recommend Simon Singh's "The Big Bang" as a light reading, he also explains the thing about measuring distances really well.

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Old 03-14-2011, 11:16 AM   #89
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Can anybody recommend some good books on the subject. Also, any thoughts on Ancient Astronaut Theory?
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:48 PM   #90
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Also, any thoughts on Ancient Astronaut Theory?

It's a bunch of pseudo-scientific hooey. It's not in any way a theory, it's barely even an hypothesis.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:40 PM   #91
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It's a bunch of pseudo-scientific hooey. It's not in any way a theory, it's barely even an hypothesis.

I have a friend who buys into a lot of that stuff. Every time I mention that it's probably BS he just says "Well, we'll never know".
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:45 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Masamune
I have a friend who buys into a lot of that stuff. Every time I mention that it's probably BS he just says "Well, we'll never know".

Hence, pseudo-science. Tell him you're convinced he doesn't exist, and if he argues say "well, we'll never know"
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:51 PM   #93
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Hence, pseudo-science. Tell him you're convinced he doesn't exist, and if he argues say "well, we'll never know"

I've already said similar things. It just ends up with a flustered look and changing of the subject.
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:51 PM   #94
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That, my friend, is called victory
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:00 PM   #95
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:04 PM   #96
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Anybody been watching BBC 2's Wonders of the Universe?

Me neither.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:10 PM   #97
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I tried to watch the first episode but got bored and stopped about 10 minutes in :/
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:58 AM   #98
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Thought this would give some of you guys something to think about

its a video from the University of Arizona about The Bang Bang and the Origins of the Universe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRhV...player_embedded

Skip to around 45:05 for a trippy ass view of the universe as we know it

and skip to 53:00 for another trippy ass zoom in of the universe from the cosmos to quarks
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:31 PM   #99
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I want this thread alive.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:00 PM   #100
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I agree!

I really want to get more into cosmology, it's very fascinating... If only there were any classes on that at my university! :/

Anyhow to contribute some links:

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/arc...hp?comicid=1430
http://www.mpa-garching.mpg.de/galform/millennium/
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