#Queries
I was wondering how much did your telescope cost? I've been dying to buy one with astrophotography capabilities but as a beginner I'm not sure what to get. Any recommendations?
 afro-dominicano
 unknownskywalker

Hi, sorry I didn’t notice this question earlier. Last weekend was a bit crazy.

I have the Nexstar 8SE, I bought it last year for about $1,800, but because I also ordered the briefcase with filters, eyepieces and other accessories—the telescope itself is a bit cheaper. I’m about to order a bigger one right now and more equipment.

In general, any reflector telescope with at least 5” of aperture is good for astrophotography. The brands I recommend you: Celestron or Orion.

Also, when buying a telescope, you have to consider the type of astrophotography you want to do (planetary or deep-space). In my case, for example, the original mount of my telescope was good only for solar system objects; I had to spend almost $1,000 later in an equatorial mount in order to do deep-space astrophotography.

Don’t worry about the camera. Having a super expensive badass camera isn’t necessary, you can capture good images even with a webcam (a good one, that is). This is because you won’t be using the camera to shot directly to celestial bodies, you’re actually going to place it in the eyepiece of telescope and capture the image it shows. This is the most easy and effective method, but there are many others.

However, you might want to buy a good DSLR later in order to get best results, specially for deep-space, since those cameras are good for doing long exposures. This will also help a lot if you’re in location where you can’t easily see the stars, you can compensate that with longer exposures.

And even if you get all the equipment you need, you won’t get good results right away. You’ll need to spend some time practicing. I recommend you to buy the telescope first and start using just as it comes and capturing images with whatever camera you have, then buy equipment, cameras and accessories later.

Hola. Estoy desarrollando el jeugo (que tanto tiempo me ha tomado empezar a trabajar). Debo decir que hasta ahora no he logrado nada que no sea el tutorial, pero acá puedes ver algo de lo que he hecho (aunque no para el juego como tal):

http://tejemaneje.tumblr.com/post/1130125000/the-same-scene-a-little-bit-more-detailed-working

http://tejemaneje.tumblr.com/post/1130214384/the-last-one-for-today-a-view-on-some-details

Me preguntaba si podrías indicarme algo que necesito para dar cierto sentido al gampelay que quieroplantear: si los humanos construyeran una mina en un asteroide¿de qué podría ser?, ¿qué elemento o compuesto es tan preciado como para que los humanos o alguna civilización se tomara el esfuerzo de construir una mina?. Yo había pensado en agua, una asteroide, planetoide o satelite con hielo, pero solo tengo una idea vaga.

Gracias por cualquier ayuda. Saludos.
 tejemaneje
 unknownskywalker

Pudiera ser de cualquier metal o elemento valioso de los que se extraen aquí mismo en la Tierra: oro, nickel, principalmente hierro, entre muchos otros, ya que todos estos minerales en realidad se encuentran aquí por aquellos asteroides que impactaron con el planeta durante la formación del sistema.

Estos elementos se creen abundantes en algunos los asteoides que son relativamente cercanos a la Tierra (NEOs, cinturón de asteroides)—se estima que uno de esos asteroides puede contener uno (o varios) de esos elementos hasta más de 3 veces que en la Tierra desde su origen hasta la actualidad. Imagina el valor económico que eso representa para nosotros! Tendríamos reservas por muchos millones de años más. Asi que el esfuerzo de construir minas en asteroides sin duda vale la pena.

Por otro lado, los que contienen agua, en vista de que serían cometas extintos, se encuentran un poco más lejos, más allá de Jupiter (aunque hay evidencia de algunos tan cercanos como los de metales), por lo que implicaría un esfuerzo tecnológico y económico mucho mayor.

Asi que dependerá de la historia y el contexto de qué mineral o elemento será la mina y donde estará el asteroide. Si deseas respuestas o comentarios más específicos que te ayuden en el desarrollo de tu juego no dudes en preguntar.

Saludos.

Hey! Great to see another space enthusiast out there. Do you think we should have a moon base by now?
 moonus111
 unknownskywalker

YES! Considering we’ve been there more than once about 40 years ago, you’d think we already should have at least a small settlement in there; and by we I mean the whole human race. But the thing is, the moon landings actually were the achievements of one organization from one country—NASA. And that organization is not getting the same funding now as it did 40 years ago, and that’s the main issue, money.

In 40 years, clearly space exploration was not of major interest to the US administrations after reaching the moon, specially when the whole task depended only in one country at the time—I mean, only relatively recently other countries started to consider and invest in space exploration. Russia could have been great, but after the USSR collapsed their space science was never the same. Then, add to that the rest of the problems in the world, and of each country. Now that makes those 40 years look like it was yesterday.

I believe that for setting up a base in the moon—or carry out space exploration as we really should be doing it—all countries in the world should unify for that goal. And that sounds nice and all, but to achieve it, that’s a totally different story. In the meantime, we continue advancing in small steps, insisting to increase budgets and promoting space science and exploration; it’s what we can do at the moment.

I had nothing to do, I'm sorry
http://urlai.com/url/unknownskywalker.tumblr.com
66-100 years old. I lol'd so hard xD
 youdontyoudontyoudontseeme-deac
 unknownskywalker

Oh, and I’m so happy too!

Hello there sir!

I noticed that you have an appreciation for geek culture. Please try to give http://populationgo.tumblr.com a look when you get the chance! It might interest you as it specializes in combining both geek and otaku culture. :)

Thanks!
 afroluffy
 unknownskywalker

Will do. Thanks!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTQkRNeUpLQ

Saw this and thought of you. Enjoy!
 ummwhat
 unknownskywalker

Well, if this song can make it storm and rain when played with an ocarina, then it should now be called song of the cataclysm or something.

Hi!

I just stumbled on to your blog and like it. I especially like the Space focus.

So, keeping in mind that you are an atheist and that you are also into space, I would like to ask a question that has pretty much been the reason that I haven't full out converted to atheism myself.

The question being: If the religious version about the creation of the earth is wrong, and it clearly is, because science is telling us that something like a big bang created everything we see, in fact the whole universe, then I wonder where the Big Bang occurred. I mean to say, if there was nothing before the Big Bang, then what plane of existence did the Big Bang take place on? Where did that tiny little atom that exploded to form this universe come from? Where did it exist? Does science have an answer to this yet? Another dimension, perhaps? Or is there no answer and are we still looking?

If you know of a source/documentary/book that speaks about this particular point, I would love to know about it because I find that even the most detailed documentaries seem to ignore covering this point, which makes me think science has no clue, which is fine, but its disconcerting that they don't even mention it!
 uzairm
 unknownskywalker

No human mind hold such knowledge; whatever we think we know about that are just speculations. I’ve always thought that science may not have the answers for everything right now, but at certain moment it will. Well, at least that answer, because I personally believe that there will always be things that escape us.

But right now, we just don’t have such answer. And we never will as long as we stay here, watching everything from afar. What we can do however, is speculate, theorize, and for that we have many theories.

Particularly, there is the multi-universe or multiverse theory, which I’m pretty sure you must have heard of already. From this point of view, our universe isn’t unique, there are many. Some theories state that all the universe may be exactly identical, a copy of each other. Others say that the content of each universe may vary but they’re essentially the same (with the same laws and constants). Other theories even say that each universe is completely different, each with their own physical laws and constants. But something is clear: if there indeed are multiple universe, there obviously is a “container” where they all exist, and it is in this container where a big bang would occur.

For a more subjective answer, I’ve always seen the universe with some kind of ‘fractal’ point of view. That is, every single thing is part of a larger structure, just like quarks and leptons are part of atoms, atoms are part of matter, matter clump together to make stars and planets, which are part of galaxies, which are part of clusters, which are part of the universe, then this universe would be part of something else.

And this just may be as far as we can see (or believe we can see) right now. There may even be larger structures than multiverse, just as there may be smaller particle than quarks and leptons, and so on, only maybe we just can detect them right now. In this sense, everything is infinite. Not the universe. Not this one. Everything. And that’s what I meant when I said that there will always be things that escape us.

What ever may be the container of all the universes, or the container of this container (this could go on forever), its characteristics may be way beyond human understanding, with things completely different of what we think we know right now. There won’t be people there, much less anything that may look like us, or any species, or even life at all, or matter, or space, or physics, no beginning and no end. There will be things that are not in this plane of existence, things we can’t even conceive. And all this sounds crazy, but I think that crazy or stupid is to not even imagine. The good news is, maybe if we try hard and long enough we can eventually get the answers.

Whatever that is, wherever the universe and the big band occurred, eventually, we can know it, and there will always be things to know. And that’s what science teach us, to imagine, to conceive for ourselves, to look and find the answers, rather than make our own “false answers” or believe what we want to be the “truth.” That’s why I think Knowing is more important than believing; why Knowledge is more important than Faith.

That’s why I prefer to consider myself atheist instead of religious, because religion claim to have “knowledge” that there is no possible way it could have gain other than through human imagination (or delusion, it would a proper word), without even doing observation and testing of the world and the universe, and because it teaches people just to simply accept this “truth” on faith just because they say it is so.

Ok, I think I’ve extended this answer too much already. This all is mind-blowing stuff, that some people even regard as fiction since there is nothing determined yet, so don’t be surprised if there are documentaries or sources than won’t touch this subject properly. Right now, I can’t think of a specific source/book/documentary about this subject that is ‘non-science friendly’ or easy/quick to assimilate, this is next level stuff! Any book or author of string theory or quantum mechanics would do. Try watching NOVA’s “The Elegant Universe,” a very popular documentary related to this. You may also check those explicitly focused on this subject, but be careful of those religion oriented.

Jonathan, thank you so much for your comprehensive answer to my question. Your a treasure on Tumblr!
--Chris
 imall4frogs
 unknownskywalker

You’re always welcome.

Resolved: That humans must terraform the planet Venus to maximize their chance of future survival.
First hurdle: Venus has no magnetosphere. Unfiltered solar radiation will cook any fledgling life that we export to Venus. Possible solution: We deploy solar-powered satellites in orbit around Venus to generate a nominal electromagnetic field around our sister planet.
My question: What is the best orbital configuration to shield Venus from our sun's radiation? What must these satellite's power output be? How much would one of these satellites weigh?
To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, I do believe that our kind will (perhaps desperately) pursue the answers to these questions about three years after everyone stops laughing.
--Chris
 imall4frogs
 unknownskywalker

Well, I have to say your question is very, very interesting and very well formulated.

I believe that the colonization of other planets is a must to the human species in order to survive (which is the purpose of all life in the universe, unless otherwise determined) as well as for the other species here on Earth that relate and interact with us (we can’t be alone—wherever we go, we must take them with us too). And a key process to do that is by terraforming, no question about that. Also, a key element to achieve a proper terraforming is establishing a magnetosphere is our planet destination, so no question about that either.

Now, that said, I believe the thing is not establishing a magnetosphere as such—since that is something that should occur naturally—but figuring out how to enable or enhance a proper magnetic field to the planet, which will then produce the magnetosphere for us. And I think that will require more than just a number of satellites surrounding the planet in question, or configured in a determined positioning.

Yes, a satellite arrangement may be of some help in the initial phases of the terraforming process, but we must take into account the planet’s protection from solar wind and cosmic radiation in the long run, specially for a planet we plan to inhabit ‘permanently,’ and depending only of satellites won’t just do; an intrinsic magnetic field is what is needed. But how can we achieve this? Now that’s a big question.

As we know, Earth’s magnetic field exists because of an internal dynamo, present at the core. And judging by the small (or the lack of) magnetic field in Venus, it is believe that such a dynamo is not present at its core. So, in a few words, we would need to figure out how to make one ourselves, or if it is present, how to enhance it. A dynamo requires a rotating, convecting, and electrically conducting fluid at the core.

So, what do we know of Venus’ core and what would we need to do? Venus core is thought to be electrically conductive. Also, while its rotation is too slow, simulations show that it is quite adequate to produce a dynamo. This implies that the dynamo is missing because of a lack of convection in Venus’ core, and this is where we would need to focus.

On Earth, convection occurs in the liquid outer layer of the core because the bottom of the liquid layer is much hotter than the top. Since Venus has no plate tectonics to let off heat, it is possible that it has no solid inner core, or that its core is not currently cooling, so that the entire liquid part of the core is at approximately the same temperature.

In the bottom line, using satellites to “create” a magnetic field to shield the planet from radiation is not recommended because it wouldn’t be 100% effective, at least not in the long run. In fact, before we could figure out how to create a dynamo, we would have to put up with solar wind and cosmic radiation using some kind of ground based protection, which would be more ‘resource-saving’ than placing satellites in space.

But this is just the part of protecting the planet from radiation. However, since Venus is so close to the Sun, and it has a very, very slow rotation, a system of satellites using mirrors, could be used to deflect the rays of the sun in the light side of the planet to make it less warm and create a “night time”, as well as could be used to reflect sunlight in the night side to simulate daytime. Although it is believed that successfully establishing a magnetic field lilely would make the planet rotate a bit faster in time.

So, just imagine the technology and effort required to achieve this! I know it all sounds overwhelming, and even insane to some people, but maybe with time (a long, long time) and dedication it is possible.

What goes on in your mind and how does it work?
 humanpoetry
 unknownskywalker

I wish I had the words to explain it in a short answer.

Your site is bursting with awesomeness.
 butterisnotacarb
 unknownskywalker

Yeah, I know, I like to keep it like that. But I think that, rather than this blog, awesome are actually those people involved in everything I post (i.e. authors, artists, researchers), so don’t forget to check the links that lead to them. Thanks for reading.

What are your favourite Sci-Fi movies?
 theepicspaceodyssey-deactivated
 unknownskywalker

Star Wars (the original trilogy), any of Star Trek (specially the latest one), Contact, Back to the Future, Serenity, The Fifth Element, Spaceballs (a Star Wars parody—a must watch!) Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Terminator 2, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Moon, Primer. Ok, I think is enough; those are the first ones that came to my mind right now.

You should also check this list I found recently: 25 classic science fiction movies that everybody must watch

hello there, can you recommend me some good sci-fi books?
 gian-solo-deactivated20140526
 unknownskywalker

Classics/must-read: Dune, 1984, Ringworld, Rendezvous With Rama, the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Neuromancer, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Contact, Stranger in a Strange Land, The Andromeda Strain, Red Mars (trilogy).

From the latest I’ve read: “Galileo’s Dream” from the author of Red Mars, “City at the End of Time” by Greg Bear.

And since I know you are a Halo fan, I recommend you “The Fall of Reach” and “First Strike;” those are the only ones I’ve got, but there are others.

Hello. :) I really adore your blog. May I ask if there is really a 13th zodiac sign called Ophiuchus? Thanks!
 snowprincess17
 unknownskywalker

Well, there surely is a constellation in the sky named Ophiuchus, and it’s been there for a long time. And as far as I know there’s also been an astrology sing name after it for a long time too, only it’s not ‘mainstream’. The astrology matter of the 13th sign came to popular attention earlier this year, when astrologers started to point out that the sun passed through this constellation last year from November to December (I don’t know the exact dates) and that this should be considered as the 13th sign. This caused controversy among the average minded people that rule their lives with astrology and think it’s true.

If you want my personal opinion, I think that astrology, in its entirety, it just a bunch of nonsense. The whole idea that planets and other celestial bodies somehow affect our lives makes absolutely no sense. And it’s no secret that this system of beliefs have already been studied, tested and constantly debunked. So, it’s safe to say that the whole thing is just a bunch bullshit that superstitious, misinformed, or simply narrow-minded people believe. And I’m totally against it because, as long a it’s being practiced or at least regarded as true, it just makes people more and more like that.

I recommend you to never take astrology seriously, because it’s not true nor right, it just plays with people’s minds. And I definitely recommend you to read the astrology debunking article by astronomer and renowned skeptic Phil Plait. It’s the most complete, brief and factual article about astrology I’ve read, and which I totally agree. You’ll find the truth behind astrology there.

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