Saturday, January 31, 2009


Sparkling X-rays

Credit: X-ray: NASA/MSFC/CXC/A.Bhardwaj et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA

Lovely perspective on Saturn - covered in blue sparkles of x-ray. :-)

Centaurus A

Centaurus' Jets

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al.; Submillimeter: MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al.; Optical: ESO/WFI

I felt like a black hole and lucky me I found a fresh one over at Chandras! The black hole in the middle of Centaurus A power up its jets materials to velocities half the speed of light. That is fast enough for me, believe it or not. :-)

On Time

It's Time!

Time is important in geodesy and we use all kinds of clocks. It would be a disaster if we'd use this kind though....:-)



I have a thing for observatories. They are gorgeous.

Bedtime Galaxies

Colliding Galaxies

Credit: Visible--Eric Peng, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics and NOAO/AURA/NSF IR--Jocelyn Keene, NASA/JPL and Caltech

Nothing much to say about this, except that I am going to collide with my bed now and that'll be a little like two colliding galaxies...:-)

Friday, January 30, 2009


Where Is The Water?

Cartographer: UNEP/GRID-Arendal

Fresh water is gold. It is pivotal for humans; without it we simply die. But it is also an important factor in understanding the water cycle and hence climate changes. The big unknown is groundwater. How much and where do we find the groundwater?

UNEP/GRID-Arendal have started to gather more systematic data on the subject. For climate change studies we need the help of space geodetic techniques together with traditional in-situ measurements.

- Groundwater represents over 90% of the world's readily available freshwater resource (Boswinkel, 2000). About 1.5 billion people depend upon groundwater for their drinking water supply (WRI, UNEP, UNDP, World Bank, 1998).

- The amount of groundwater withdrawn annually is roughly estimated at 600-700 km3, representing about 20% of global water withdrawals (WMO, 1997).

- A comprehensive picture of the quantity of groundwater withdrawn and consumed annually around the world does not exist.

Geodesists are teaming up with other scientists to reveal more useful information in a big international project called IGCP 565.


Colorful Nebula

Credit: Don Goldman

All sorts of light coming from this nebula (NGC 1579) that looks a lot like the more famous, with an easier name after all, Trifid nebula. :-) The source of the colorful light is somewhat different though.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

La Silla


Credit: Gemini Observatory/Ariel Lopez

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Evolutionary Feathers

Fine Primitive Feathers


Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse

Credit: Armando Lee

Did you see it, Love Bird, or are you so high in the sky you overlooked it? :-))

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Milky Way Galaxy

Milky Way

Credit: Wally Pacholka

Say It With Science

Hair raising

A woman touches a Van de Graaff electricity generator at the International Trade Fair in Leipzig, Germany

SU is sabotaging me. They have removed my number one awesome images provider from the top stumbler list for no reason at all. This is sabotage of me because the list works as a shortcut to her site when I need a quick visual fix. Shame on SU for making me work harder for my cyber dope.

Talking of cyber. This hair raising image reminds me of my starry best cyber friend here on SU. She has generously given me cyber nicknames and massive attention in all sorts of visible and invisible channels. The starry one makes me feel like a true SU star. Hey, that makes me Stellare the star with a starry groupie! :-)

Chinese New Year

Happy New Year!

Actors and dancers dressed in Qing Dynasty costumes perform at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China

I know, I know. New Years Eve was yesterday. On Saturday the Chinese contingency here in Norway invited me to their annual new year party, but due to a certain blizzard I was stuck in the country side where I live and could not get to Oslo where the party was. Too bad! I guess I was set back to such a degree I forgot to say Happy New Year for more than 24 hours!

China! :-)

Solar Eclipse

Storytelling: Solar Eclipse in Mauritania

Credit: David Cortner

Great storytelling with beautiful images. Even though this is rather old news, the presentation of this particular total solar eclipse in Sahara 1973 is worth a look and read. I found it very poetic. :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Flaming Star

Flaming Star Nebula

Credit: Jorge Garcia

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Solar Eclipse

Eclipse Ring

Credit: Dennis Mammana

Blue China

Bizarre Blue China

Artist: Li Xiaofeng

I fell for this sculpture in blue. Not surprisingly. Generally, I find contemporary Chinese art very interesting.

More images of of Li Xiaofeng's work

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cosmic Collisions - again

Cosmic Collisions

Credit: NASA
Colliding Galaxies

The preceding post was just a teaser, of course. Here is the full package. Excellent collection of all things collision in space. I used to drink 'colliding galaxies'. I strongly warn others than astrophysicist to do that. You need astronomical perspectives to survive them....

Swung my way by the super baby-faced disco lover.

Energy and Environment

Energy and Environment in Norway

The Economist wrote a very comprehensive article on energy and environmental politics in Norway. Though they pretty much got all the major points right, I disagree with both their conclusions and Norwegian politics on these topics. What do you know! :-)

How Norwegians choose to use our energy is hardly relevant compared to the global energy consume. We are after all only 5 million people up here. So it is a bit like the mouse peeing in the ocean.

Do anybody care if a small country like Norway act like a good example? I seriously doubt it. We might like to think we do, but based on my international experience it doesn't account for much in big politics. It's not like we are even invited by the G8 (fill in number, it used to be 7) countries to discuss the matters. Not for real.

What Norway could do with all our money is to develop alternative energy technology. I have no idea who came up with this buying CO2 quotas. It is plain stupid and does not reduce the global production of gases. I can't get how the rest of the world don't get this. They are fooling themselves to think this is green politics. It is nothing but helping poorer countries reach the same level of pollution as the rich world, ideally, as opposed to the alternative that they will produce even more than we are at this point of time. Need I remind y'all that India and China alone are populated by 2.4 billion people? We can't quota buy us out of that energy problem. Why should we ask them to live without the energy we have? We can't and they shouldn't and will not accept that. That is all.

We will be out of oil one day. By then we might have drowned in CO2 or whatever - and we have no alternatives. Not for cars at least. Non-mobile equipment will be fuel by coal or nukes, but the cars will at best start to roll real slow compared to today. And that we can't have. :-)

The solution is using technology to reduce the emissions today and invent alternatives for the future.

Transported emission free to me from Yuruani

Milky Way

The Milky Way

Credit: Wally Pacholka

Say It With Science

Cosmic Collision

That will be the answer to all these questions!


Cuddle up with Physics

Female Touch in Physics! Irresistible! :-)

Higgs cuddle with Higgs.

The Moon and X-rays

X-rays on The Moon

Should you have an urgent need of x-rays when on the Moon you know where to go now.

Seriously, this is rather exciting. Like here on Earth, x-rays reveals all, so we hope to learn a whole lot more about the Moon and its origin by studying x-rays. The Indian Chandrayaan detected the first signals. Yay, for India! :-) ( and for the rest of the international teams, of course. Most missions and programs today are international)

Carnival of Space

Martian Carnival

Bring your own whips!

Not to be confused with Venetian Carnival. That's in February! :-)

Gorgeous post over at Martian Chronicles in this week's carnival of space.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mega Balloon

Balloon Blast

Credit: Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility

Balloons are such blasts! I love'em!

Chasing Neutrinos

Miniscule MINOS

Photo Credit: MINOS

Catching The Particularly Slippery Particles - The Neutrinos!

MINOS - Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search,As you may well have noticed I like to mix languages from time to time. Just for fun. MINOS is far from miniscule or anything mini at all. The only really, really mini are of course the neutrinos. Those sly slipperly particles always getting a way with it. They just go straight through the whole planet. Doesn't cost them one tiny little bitty thing. And we want so bad to catch them we build all sorts of constructions in their honor. To no avail so far. :-)

Planetary Nebula

Pretty Planetary Nebula

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Pleiades Cluster

The Pleiades

Credit: Richard Hammer

Because They Are Beautiful.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Get Geek Girls

The Great Geek Seduction Guide

Some of this actually works...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Water in Africa

Hunting Water in Africa

Water body map around the Niger River, near Niamey, Niger, in 2007.

Credits: Advanced Computer Systems S.p.A.

Ground water is the 'new' gold, oil, etc. Wars have been and will be fought over this natural resource. Through a combination of space and ground based earth observation system we hope to gain more knowledge of this big unknown factor in the water cycle models. SAR technology in combination with other space techniques are particularly promising. I'll return to this subject, for sure. :-)

Map of underground water infiltration probability around the Niamey area in 2007.

Credits: Advanced Computer Systems S.p.A.

Climate Change Antarctic

Antarctic - Hot, Hot, Hot

At least hotter than before! :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


My Moon Whip

Credit: NASA

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mars - Again

More Methane on Mars

Credit: Mars

The internets are full of this 'life on Mars' thing. It is just gas, folks. It is cool enough in itself. No need to invent stuff. :-)

Oh, I like the sphere. It got plenty of blue on it. Another reason to be content with what it is.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Earth Explorers 2009

I watched the ESA press conference in December 2008 immediately after the Ministerial where ESA's Director General Dordain presented the budgetary results of the negotiations. And for once that was good news, in particular for Earth observation. As an active participant of the global initiative
for Earth observation, GEO, I believe the budgetary success is a consequence of the international focus on better coordination of global earth observation systems. Both space agencies and the
European commission have given GEO high priority resulting in a strengthening of Earth observations benefiting not only European citizens but everyone on this planet.

Three earth observation satellites are ready to be launched, all of them included in the Living Planet Programme.

The Living Planet Program includes the Earth Explorers – a set of satellites missions divided into core missions and opportunity missions. ESA has announced the following schedule for

Credits: AOES - Medialab

The gravity mission - GOCE (Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer)
The launch has been postponed several times already, last due to a problem with the Russian launcher. The satellite is however now scheduled to lift-off in March. GOCE will provide the dataset required to accurately determine global and regional models of the Earth's gravity field and geoid. It will advance research in areas of ocean circulation, physics of the Earth's interior, geodesy and surveying, and sea-level change all key parameters in climate change monitoring and research.

Credits: AOES - Medialab

The water mission - SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity)
SMOS is currently stored at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France waiting to be launched in July
2009, a few months after GOCE. SMOS will provide global maps of soil moisture and ocean salinity to further our understanding of the Earth's water cycle and contribute to climate, weather and
extreme-event forecasting.

Credits: AOES - Medialab

The ice mission - CryoSat-2
Towards the end of 2009, ESA gives another shot at launching a Cryosat satellite, the first was lost during launch in 2005. CryoSat-2 will determine variations in the thickness of the Earth's continental ice sheets and marine ice cover to further our understanding of the relationship between ice and global warming.

For the sake of our planet Earth, lets hope everything goes approximately according to plans.




Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Saturn looks good no matter what, obviously. This image reflect the black and white weather we see outside today...:-)


Hyperion - The Swampy Moon

Credit: Nasa

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Energy in Nepal

Go Hydropower!

Dump Diesel!



Oh, there is so much more daylight already I had to celebrate with a prism! :-)

Learn how much we can learn from light by spectroscopy.

Cats and Squirrels

The Cat and Squirrel Fable

Credit: Xineann



Andrew Wyeth's final sleep

I was actually introduced to this artist via social media (StumbleUpon), by the knowledgeable Mr. Greene. I really enjoy Wyeth's work. For real.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Methane Colors

Methane Mars

Credit: NASA

High methane concentrations (reds and yellows) appear during martian summer in localized plumes.

Methane does not necessarily mean life. It could rather be a false alarm.


Mars, Pretty Mars

We have lots and lots of outstanding images, (with a dash of 'photoshopping') of Mars. This here, published on Discovery Space, is one of my favorites.

Trucks and GPS

Tracing Trucks for Environment

With Global Navigation Satellite System GNSS (or GPS if you like) and some other techno stuff.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Sun

Spotless Sun

Excellent, peaceful, astrophoto by Stephen Sykes.