Want to know what it would feel like to hop into a black hole without having to travel in space and actually doing it? Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus at the University of Colorado built a computer code which is based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The “participant” goes on an orbit into the hole that weighs 5 million times the mass of the sun. Starlight behind the black hole is swallowed up, however light from other ones are merely bent. They are hoping that the knowledge will help physicists understand the inner workings of the hole.
Read More | New Scientist
Checking out the sky is fun, but you could be frozen by the time you find what you were looking for. Meade’s EXT-LS telescope, with Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics for a better picture, has a computerized scope that will automatically locate the star, moon, planet or star you are seeking. Once it is locked in with LightSwitch technology, you can take photos with its built-in camera or check out audio and video clips. The EXT-LS can find over 500 objects and is available for $1,299.00.
Read More | Meade
While you are enjoying your Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Chanukah, look up and think about how some of our greatest gifts are free. The Christmas Tree Cluster is composed of bright blue stars in front of a red gas background. It was first discovered in the 18th century, but was captured again from the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The cluster is in the constellation of Monoceros, the unicorn, about 2,600 light years from Earth.
Read More | Wired
The 2008 Great World Wide Star Count begins today. Amateur and pro skywatchers can go outside, check out a constellation, compare it with one of UCAR’s (University Corporation for Atmospheric Reasearch) charts, then report what you see online. Last year the event drew over 6,600 observations on 7 continents, and the project is hoping to double that amount this year. Running until November 3, the count helps scientists map pollution while forcing all of us to be able to identify something besides Orion.
Read More | UCAR
Meade has added to its family of telescopes with mySky. The point-and-shoot device features a 480 x 234 display, a 12 channel GPS receiver for auto alignment, electronic accelerometers for direction finding, and magnetic North sensors. It has audio to match what you are seeing, so it is like having your own planetarium. With powersaving capability, it will last up to six hours with its 4 x AA (not included) batteries, storage with an included 256MB SD card, and earbuds. Check out Mead’s site for a nice video clip of the mySky at work.
Read More | mySky Product Page
Who needs a planetarium when you can explore the Google Sky? With it you can view 200 million galaxies, 100 million stars, constellations, a supernova, and planets in motion. You can also see the heavens with over 120 high-res images from NASA’s Hubble telescope. All you need is a download of the current Google Earth, then click on the Sky button on the toolbar. Available in 13 languages, check out the Gallery and discover space from different sources on Earth. We think we would like to experience the Milky Way from Paris, even if it is only on our PC.
Read More | Google
We speak with Celestron about their SkyScout product, an awesome tool used for stargazing that identifies stars, constellations, and planets by way of GPS and gravitational magnets. Great for beginners and pros alike. We love the concept here, and think the SkyScout is genious, as it even incorporates games and trivia once it thinks you have your astronomical bearings down. Seriously, lots of fun to be had here. Check the video for the full scoop.