Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Just the beginning ...



Black holes rule and ... they exist big time. To whit.





Just the beginning ... of a new era in astronomy is at hand. Stellar without question.

EKCD yet again. :)


Makes one feel small doesn't it?

538's take on how they did this is truly astounding. Excellent to a fault. :)

Just one more thing ... :) The pix below shows the Messier 87 black hole in context
via the Chandra X-ray observatory.






Sunday, April 07, 2019

Our Planet


A must see, a must act, a documentary everyone on planet earth should see.


Now I remember ... :)


1969 those were the daze. :)
Sounds like politicians not remembering some gross malfeasance doesn't it, but only funnier.

One Starry Night ... :)


Creativity and innovation go hand in hand, especially when it involves science and the solving of a wicket problem: to whit, do primordial black holes give rise to dark matter? If so, how do you find said entities? The answer, microlensing.



The answer, thus far, no.

The latest bit of emptiness was published this week, and it seemingly puts an end to one of the possible remaining explanations for dark matter: black holes that formed shortly after the Big Bang and have been structuring the Universe ever since. While earlier studies have seemingly ruled out larger versions of these primordial black holes, the new study closes the window on anything more massive than a large asteroid. And it was all accomplished with just a single night of telescope time.

Wicked problem No. 2 ... Could smaller primordial black holes give rise to dark matter?

If primordial black holes were common, they'd create plenty of these smaller microlensing events, and we should be able to spot them. But dedicated searches for them came up with very few of the events, as did the Kepler planet-hunting telescope, which stared at a large field of stars on and off for several years. Combined, these suggested that any primordial black holes would have to be extremely odd, weighing less than our Sun.

But these small, primordial black holes couldn't be ruled out on theoretical grounds. This led a group of Japanese researchers to try to rule them out on observational grounds.

To find out, innovation and persistence comes into play.

Enabled by some new telescope hardware, the Japanese researchers decided to go bigger. The hardware is something called the Hyper Suprime-Cam, an 870 megapixel monster attached to an 8 meter telescope. Configured properly, it could capture the entire Andromeda galaxy in a single frame, and it can do so about every 90 seconds. That's fast enough that even a light black hole can be captured multiple times during the microlensing. To make sure they could capture as many events as possible, the researchers were given an entire night with the telescope all to themselves, with seven hours of total observation time.


End result ...



Innovation & persistence indeed. :)

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Much ado about nothing :)


Web Comics ... from the beginning


Web comics like the truly excellent XKCD & Dinosaur Comics have been around for years, chronicling the web and society in ways both funny and touching at the same time. Well, the Verge came out with a wonderful piece Web Comics: An Oral History where web comic creators discuss how they, and the web, have changed over the last 20+ years. Worth a read without question. 

It can be hard to remember how primitive the internet landscape was in the late ‘90s, the era when webcomics came of age. The only way to share things was through email and instant message, and a seconds-long video clip could crash email servers if too many people sent it around. Something Awful was still a “weblog.” We went to websites — plural — to check for updates every day.

Webcomics creators often went online after being rejected by newspaper syndicates, gatekeeper conglomerates that grew increasingly conservative in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The best ones grew into beloved phenomenons, and the nascent funny T-shirt industry allowed many artists to make a living on daily cartoons throughout the 2000s.

Social media and a glut of internet merchandise have shifted the economics. Artists increasingly rely on Patreon, book sales, and other sources of revenue, while new webcomics often pop up exclusively on Instagram, foregoing the expense of a dedicated site. But in those early days, webcomics were some of the most influential pieces of the early-ish internet — vibrant and weird. They formed followings, which became communities, which became culture.






Excellent to a fault. :)