A view into the mind of Jason

Welcome to Evilness
Tuesday, March 28 2017 @ 09:22 MDT

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How we know there's no counter-Earth hiding behind the Sun.

Astronomy

For centuries there has been speculation about another planet on the same orbit as the Earth, but hiding behind the Sun. Sometimes this is used as a plot device in science fiction or by some conspiracy theorist to explain something. The reality is we know there isn't a planet hiding behind the Sun and here's why:

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What I do in science

Astronomy

Occasionally I get asked as to what I actually research in astronomy so I thought I'd create a post that explains what my current research project is about. First some generalities: my interests in astronomy are related to stellar evolution and galaxy interactions (these topics are generally unrelated, though galaxy mergers do set off a storm of star formation in disk (spiral) galaxies). Specifically I find how stars end their lives quite fascinating. Supernovae, black holes, pulsars/neutron stars, planetary nebulae and white dwarfs are all majorly cool in my world.

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Asteroids: why we should look for them and how we do it.

Astronomy

In the past few years the astronomical community has begun to expend a fair bit of resources in the search for asteroids. Apart from the curiosity aspect of looking for such objects, there is a real, practical reason to locate these things: an asteroid collision with the Earth.

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Hubble oops....

AstronomyI got tagged on Twitter to explain an apparent Hubble tracking error image. Since the explanation will take more than 140 characters, I've put it here. Image after the cut.
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Some more astrophotos.

AstronomyOver the past month I've acquired a new mount for my telescope, and also a new telescope. Now in addition to my 127mm (5") Maksutov I also now have a 200mm (8") Newtonian. The Newtonian is photographically quite fast so it provides a wider field of view than the Maksutov. So after many nights of waiting for quasi-clear skies I was able to give both the new mount and 'scope a test run.
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Solar storms

AstronomySome time ago I ended up on some email list of bloggers. This means I get a litany of emails from various media outlets asking me to review some book or what-have-you. Generally the topic is some crackpot theory or another (the Maya apocalypse has been a fairly constant theme of late) so I've generally just sent the emails to the bit-bucket. Now I assume other bloggers (those with readerships that require the use of more than one hand) also get these and as I do probably ignore them as well. Until today. A few days ago I received one of the review emails from someone in the publicity department of the U.S. Discovery Channel about one of the upcoming episodes of their show Curiosity about solar storms.
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Wow- those are a loooong way away...

AstronomyAbout a week ago I took an an astrophoto of a galaxy cluster, those of you who know me on Facebook have already seen the shot (some possibly on Twitter as well). Though I provided some basic information about the photo, I didn't really do much analysis of it. So this post is to provide that analysis about my first attempt at a really deep (for me) astrophoto. There's a copy of the photo after the cut.
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More planetary nebulae.

AstronomyMy project for my final course in my degree has been approved. I'm looking at if there's a connection between the presence of singly ionized sulphur and the morphology (shape) of the nebula. A side benefit of this is that there will be lots of pictures of planetary nebulae. Not the best cosmetically since that's not my purpose, but they still can be quite pretty.
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DEATH STARS!

AstronomyOk, dying stars. Some more planetary nebula. Again not the best images as they're residuals from some science images I'm taking for school (no to mention is was a couple of days before full moon). I need to image several more, but the weather isn't cooperating at the moment. Hopefully things clear up by next weekend.
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Sometimes Science is Pretty.

AstronomyAs part of the data collection process for my current school project, I've had to image various objects through various filters. The purpose is to see if elements can be detected using narrow band filters. Now as a byproduct I do have some astrophotos of these objects. The photos aren't the best as they were taken for scientific purposes and aren't necessarily cosmetically the best (not to mention the C-14 needs some collimation). So here we go.
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