Wednesday, March 30, 2011


After the Japanese earthquake accident world environmentalists want to shut down most of the world's nuclear reactors. I don't know if they know that shutting down nuclear plants means that we will become slaves of electricity. High demand and low supply pushes the price up. Way up.
So fission hasn't got such bright future ahead. How about fusion?

Fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts. Heat/energy is released.  That's as detailed as I'd like to go. On the other hand, fusion is opposite of fission, the atomic nuclei merge together to form a single heavier nucleus. In that process large amount of energy is released.


ITER is actually what I wanna archive here. ITER or International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is huge research and engineering project that is currently building tokomak (fusion reactor). I did not know that it was already designed and in production. It will produce 500 MW of output power for 50 MW input power in up to 1000 seconds. 10:1 ratio. (nuclear plants produce circa 500-1000 MW per year)
That is just experimental and electricity won't be actually added to electrical network.
ITER is scheduled to begin operating in 2018-19 (some say 2016). I wonder how it goes. I sure would wanna look at this archive post in 6 years!


Natural fusion reactor - The Sun.

One way of using fission.

ITER - Official ITER homepage.
ITER Wiki - Wiki article with cool timeline.

Wiki Attack:
Fusion Power Wiki
Nuclear Fusion Wiki
Nuclear Fission

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I am beginning to think that I am addicted to deceiving titles! Sprites... so rare and so awesome!

This could actually be addendum to my Atmospheric Optics post. Sprites are special kinds of lighting that occur high above thunderstorm clouds (shelf clouds).
It is believed that sprites are formed only during really large storms - hence the rarity. Sprites often come in clusters. I would really like to see one day this amazing red thing! A friend of mine once caught it on the photo - blew my mind.

Sheer awesomeness.

Mind the blue jet.

Sprite observation.

Space Weather - Space weather archive about sprites.
Wiki - Wiki article about sprites.
Eurosprite - Blog about following sprites.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Super Full Moon

On March the 19th we'll be able to observe the biggest and brightest moon in almost 20 years!
Moon's orbit has an oval shape which of course means that sometimes the Moon is farther and sometimes it's closer to the Earth.
On March the 19th it's gonna be the closest in 17 years - meaning it is going to be 30% brighter and 14% bigger (visually of course). This event happens only in once about 18 years so be sure you don't miss it!
It is recommended that you look it at the sunset - just above the horizon - as it will appear even bigger because of foreground objects.

Explanation of this phenomena in more detail in the video below:

NASA Science - NASA Science article
APOD - [will add astronomy picture of the day as I'm pretty sure the super moon will be published there] [edit: added the link]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The history of sci-fi

Yes, I'm still alive!
Just a short update as I am very busy these days! I found a great picture of the history of science fiction. Looks confusing when you first look at it but it soon becomes one god-damn-awesome-picture.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Goodbye Glory

On march the 4th NASA's satellite Glory crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Glory was meant to collect various data of aerosols (smoke, air pollution etc.) and would have also collected irradiance information for climate study, water and energy cycles etc...
The crash was due to the Glory's launch vehicle Taurus XL which malfunctioned during the flight. Too bad, the costs were estimated to be close to 500 million US dollars. Half a billion. Poor taxpayers.

Anyway, RIP Glory, you would've served well!

Artist's impression of Glory in the space.

The launch. When everything seemed fine.

On the ground.

Twitter - Twitter of Glory program.
Wiki - Wiki of Glory satellite.
NASA - Official web page of the program.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spot the Loser

I simply have to share this article with you (and for my personal archive). It is about identifying so called "Losers" in various relationships. It introduces us some charactheristics of "The Loser" and it helps us identify these people before any emotional or physical damage is done. Another name for this article would be: How to spot a douchebag.
I have met people with such characteristics in my life, but have never really thought of putting together these "symptoms" and making a logical conclusion that the person might be a harming element in my life.
Anyway, here's a really short extract:

1. Rough Treatment "The Loser" will hurt you on purpose. If he or she hits you, twists your arm, pulls your hair, kicks you, shoves you, or breaks your personal property EVEN ONCE, drop them.

2. Quick Attachment and Expression "The Loser" has very shallow emotions and connections with others. Typically, in less than a few weeks of dating you'll hear that you're the love of their life, they want to be with you forever, and they want to marry you.

3. Frightening Temper "The Loser" has a scary temper. If your boyfriend or girlfriend blows up and does dangerous things, like driving too fast because they're mad, breaking/throwing things, getting into fights, or threatening others - that temper will soon be turned in your direction.

7. It's Always Your Fault "The Loser" blames you for their anger as well as any other behavior that is incorrect. When they cheat on you, yell at you, treat you badly, damage your property, or embarrass you publicly - it's somehow your fault.

15. Bad Stories People often let you know about their personality by the stories they tell about themselves. The stories a person tells informs us of how they see themselves, what they think is interesting, and what they think will impress you.

I guess I'll have to stop hitting my girlfriend. (j/k)

"Hey, wanna see my doughnut holder?"

Identify the Loser - The abovementioned article.
Douchebag - Encyclopaedia Dramatica definiton of a douche.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Dark Side of the Moon

Yes, again with the deceiving titles! This time I don't mean the famous Pink Floyd album but the actual dark side of the moon - the far side.
We are permanently destined to watch the near side of the Moon because the Moon rotates about its spin axis at the same rate that the Moon orbits the Earth (this is actually called synchronous rotation or tidal locking).
In my opinion, the near side of the moon is way more awesome than the far side. The dark side truly looks dark with all the craters - but the near side has all the trails and they look awesome and even awesomer when observed with telescopes. So we're quite lucky that we got "cooler" side. But those who prefer craters will probably like the dark side more!

Picture taken from Apollo 16

APOD - 1998 astronomy picture of the day with the above image
Wiki Moon - Article of the dark side of the Moon
Wiki Floyd - Article of The Dark Side of the Moon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Zoom me, baby!

Universe is awesome and I found (was given actually) two links that are especially interesting if you wanna take a close look of universe and the Moon. You can zoom in a lot.
With all the craters Moon is simply amazing when magnified (1st link). So is the universe. On second link you can zoom in the entire visible universe. You can observe most of the objects from NGC and IC sky catalogue and all 110 Messier objects.

Moon Map - Zoom in the Moon.
Sky Map - Zoom in the universe.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I bet you thought of that badass ultra-lethal robo'. Well, this post is not about him. It's about solar terminator - which is not half as deadly - but it is big. It's really big. Big as Earth, as a matter of fact.
So, solar terminator or twilight zone is acutally an imaginary line that separates the illuminated day side of planetary body from dark night side of a body.
I will not go into details, as always, because I want it to be suitable and understandable for all ages. Links below are for more information, if anyone is interested.

The grey line

Looks awesome from space, I know.

NOAA - Terminator article on NOAA
Terminator - And on Wikipedia.