New Horizons survives Pluto encounter

This is really exciting:

Data in its first call home since Tuesday’s flyby suggest the spacecraft experienced no upsets as it hurtled past the icy world at 14km/s,The signal came through a giant dish in Madrid, Spain – part of a Nasa network of communications antennas.The message took four hours and 25 minutes to traverse 4.7 billion km of space.

Source: New Horizons: Spacecraft survives Pluto encounter – BBC News

Be humble

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.

How light could reveal alien life

Garik Israelian is a spectroscopist, studying the spectrum emitted by a star to figure out what it’s made of and how it might behave. It’s a rare and accessible look at this discipline, which may help us an Earthlike planet friendly to life. (Recorded at TEDGlobal, July 2009, Oxford, UK.Duration: 15:52)

How spectroscopy could reveal alien life: Garik Israelian on TED.com

Google releases Google Earth 5.0

With Google Earth 5.0, you can now travel back in time to see historical imagery, dive below the surface of the ocean and record a tour of your journeys.

And here’s what’s new:

  • Historical Imagery: Until today, Google Earth displayed only one image of a given place at a given time. With this new feature, you can now move back and forth in time to reveal imagery from years and even decades past, revealing changes over time. Try flying south of San Francisco in Google Earth and turning on the new time slider (click the “clock” icon in the toolbar) to witness the transformation of Silicon Valley from a farming community to the tech capital of the world over the past 50 years or so.
  • Touring: One of the key challenges we have faced in developing Google Earth has been making it easier for people to tell stories. People have created wonderful layers to share with the world, but they have often asked for a way to guide others through them. The Touring feature makes it simple to create an easily sharable, narrated, fly-through tour just by clicking the record button and navigating through your tour destinations.
  • 3D Mars: This is the latest stop in our virtual tour of the galaxies, made possible by a collaboration with NASA. By selecting “Mars” from the toolbar in Google Earth, you can access a 3D map of the Red Planet featuring the latest high-resolution imagery, 3D terrain, and annotations showing landing sites and lots of other interesting features.

[Source: Google Blog]

How would you feel in a black hole

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how you would (possibly) die in a black hole. Well described and funny. Cosmic yoga. Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about being pulled apart in the black hole.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Death by Black Hole

Neil deGrasse Tyson (born October 5, 1958 in New York City) is an astrophysicist and, since 1996, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Since 2006, he has hosted PBS’s educational television show NOVA scienceNOW. Tyson is also known for his multiple appearances on The Colbert Report. (from Wikipedia)

Whether discussing the universe’s origins as host of NOVA’s “scienceNOW” or asserting that Pluto is a not a planet on “The Colbert Report,” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson translates the universe’s complexities for a broad audience.

Known as the great explainer of all things cosmic, Tyson first became known in the astronomy community by lecturing on the subject at the age of fifteen. He is currently the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, where he also teaches. Tyson has written seven popular books including the bestselling Death by Black Hole and the memoir The Sky Is Not The Limit.

WorldWide Telescope public beta now available

Oh, the WorldWide Telescope public beta is out already by the way. I normally don’t support betas but this – I just can’t resist it. I downloaded it in the end.

Sweet stuff. I can’t name the things I’m viewing but it’s look beautiful.

You can download the WorldWide Telescope here.