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About Syntarsus

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  1. It's interesting the wild difference in size estimates. The Russian Academy of Sciences reckoned about 10 tons NASA has just revised it's estimate upwards from 7000 tons to 10000 tons - a difference of a factor of one thousand.
  2. Well total cloud here in Sheffield. Asteroid expert and author Philip Plait has a good live stream though: https://plus.google.com/+PhilipPlait/posts
  3. Syntarsus


    The report by an astronomer on the beeb said it was probably quite small. The injuries were caused by lots of people standing by their windows which were then shattered by the sonic boom.
  4. Syntarsus


    So if landed around 9.20 am that means it spent 3 hours falling through the atmosphere. Surely far too long no?
  5. Dang. Youtube clip appeared in editing but disappeared when posted. Here's the direct link. (and any advice on embedding videos welcome)
  6. I found this by accident. Far the best description of Olber's Paradox I've come across. It includes some simple maths. It's part of a set of physics videos for A-level students that went up earlier this year. Haven't watched any others but hope to when I get time.
  7. I have some crappy 12x50s and they're fine hand held though with all bins, even 8x I think resting them or your elbows against something like a post, wall fence, tree helps immensely. And unlike birdwatching your subject is unlikely to move rapidly across your field of view so the narrow field of view is not so critical. I was seriously considering a decent pair of 12x and concluded the Pentax PCF was probably my preferred option or slightly cheaper the Barr and Stroud Savannahs 12x56 (non-ED version). Both are still on my wish list so might get a pair one day.
  8. Thanks for all the replies. I'm a bit peeved that some people seem to have unfairly inferred that by asking this question I am questioning NASA's wisdom on the subject. I think it's a perfectly reasonable question to be curious about and had I been able to ask NASA directly I would have. I'm in no doubt they would have a solid and well reasoned answer. I'd just like to know what it is. By asking questions we deepen our understanding about stuff. I doubt its the case that it's because the mission was planned long ago they don't have the latest gear since even my average camera of 7 years ago had 8 megapixels. I agree that the number of pixels is overrated in marketing and other factors like sensor size is equally or more important but my understanding is that that argument only comes in when you get above 10mp. 1600x1200 is less than an average monitor size these days. Of course one easily can stitch several such pics into higher res images but that still doesn't answer the question of why not just use a bigger CCD to begin with? The article on data rates was interesting and the presumably 16 minutes a day (2 orbiters at 8 minutes each) is obviously very limiting. One bit I didn't understand was: The idea that the CCD would have to be specially constructed to withstand radiation seems like the best answer and something I hadn't thought about.
  9. Seems weird though. The cost for better images is negligible so why take deliberately lower quality images? That's what I don't understand. You might well see some detail on a better quality image that a lower res shot will miss. I can only guess that the reason is something like bandwidth limits but I don't really know.
  10. I read in the NASA landing briefing that Curiosity's cameras were only 2megapixels. I think you can even get more than that on some mobile phones these days and that would be really low for typical consumer camera. My camera is 16mp which is pretty average. Curiosity's cameras can also shoot HD video but only 720p. So I was wondering why they haven't opted for the highest res they can get. Bandwidth limitations or what? I'd have thought that even if they didn't use the full resolution all the time it would have been good to have the option available. I'm a bit disappointed we won't have some really high res pictures though I guess they can stitch multiple images together but why not just get a better CCD?
  11. Moon landings were wicked. I was only a kid at the time but totally exciting. Only thing was that my knowledge was too limited to appreciate just how difficult it all was. More recently the film Apollo 13 really highlights that - a 5 star must see movie.
  12. http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/raw/ gone down almost as soon as it was announced.
  13. Already on the BBC site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19144464
  14. Amazing- can't imagine the relief for the folk that have spent 8 years working on this.
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