[ThTh1] On Sunday night, we had the last lunar eclipse until 2021. For once, the skies were clear here in Central Pennsylvania and I got to see the spectacular event. I’ve been doing astronomy since 1992 and I will never get tired of these. During the eclipse, there was a lunar impact, most likely from a meteor. Here’s a beautiful picture capturing the moment.
I had already posted the raw data of the lunar impact event because science but finally got around to doing the beauty process as well. Stack of 20 x 1 sec RGB in Celestron 8" + 0.33x reducer. The impact of course occurs in only one frame but the Moon itself looks much nicer. pic.twitter.com/VWuEKagEDU
— Christian Fröschlin (@chrfrde) January 22, 2019
[ThTh2] There’s a new book out trying to make the case that marijuana legalization is incredible dangerous. It got heavily referenced by the always wrong Malcolm Gladwell in the NYT. Dave Levitan expands on his Twitter thread here to completely demolish their arguments. The gripping hand here is that we don’t actually know a lot about marijuana because … it’s illegal. Legalizing research into it would be a big step toward understanding the long-term effects of use.
[ThTh3] I’ve done a Throughput before on the contention that Oumuamua is an alien artifact. At some point, I’ll do a longer post on the subject (I still have to chat with a few people who know more about this than I do). The paper has now been published and is getting some attention. While I think it is interesting, I don’t think we can rule out much more mundane explanations (if an interstellar asteroid can be called mundane).
[ThTh4] The Chinese probe that landed on the far side of the moon returned video of the descent. Its sped up but is quite amazing because it’s difficult to get a sense of scale until it lands.
[ThTh5] Exploding cows! Ok, not really. I was part of the research into the newest class of exploding star. It was fascinating ride in real time. Phil’s detailed explanation is about as good as you’ll find. I’ll just add: there’s more like this coming. We are just beginning to explore the transient universe.
[ThTh6] One of the most spectacular sights in a telescope is the planet Saturn. Any time we put it up for public night, someone insists that it’s not real — that we put a sticker on the end of the telescope. Even a small telescope, you can see the rings encircling it. Unfortunately, the may not last. The shepherd moons are keeping it together but the ice is slowing raining down on the planet and not being replenished. So be sure to take a look some times in the next … well, 100 million years.
[ThTh7] Particle physicists are making plans for an even bigger supercollider. But the proposal comes with some controversy. A lot of people are dubious that it will add much to our knowledge. And $20 billion is a lot to spend for a “well, let’s build it and see what happens.” It does, however, gives me an excuse to run this oldie-but-goodie from XKCD.