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About ingrast

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    Montevideo, URUGUAY
  1. An extensive assesment of involved risks was performed not only for this stage, but for previous experiments where the distinct possibility of potentially hazardous outcomes was foreseen. The latest document can be found in the CERN site, but in essence the most reassuring argument against doomsday forecasts, is that the energy levels to be achieved at the LHC are orders of magnitude lower than the energy levels of the most energetic cosmic ray particles, in quantities of millions per second, striking the upper atmosphere. Equally, within the whole visible universe this same kind of unintended high energy experiment is being carried out billions of time a second, and nowhere has been observed (otherwise we should not be here to comment) any kind of runaway catastrophe as voiced by LHC detractors / would be star-for-a-day doomsayers. Rodolfo
  2. From Jan/2004 to June/2005, I was Contributing Editor for the Canadian site Suite101, being in charge of the Astronomy and Astrophysics topic. Though I no longer author articles for Suite101, the corresponding material is available on-line and I thought it could be of interest to members. Disclaimer, I neither did nor do receive economic retribution for this works. Topics covered in that period ranged from meteorites to supernovas, to gamma ray bursts, to light pollution, to the development of life and many more. The target was a non technical audience, but tried to convey as much useful scientific information as possible within this constraint. Despite the elapsed time, by far most of the material is still relevant. Hope some will find it interesting reading and have fun, as much as I had doing the research and writing. I am listing below the series of article title, briefing and link. Heavenly fireworks Shooting stars seldom fail to amaze witnesses no matter age or cultural environment. Every night tiny bits of rock end their journey of eons wandering through space in a fiery blaze high on earth's atmosphere. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/105662 Mars under attack A fleet of robot spacecraft launched in mid 2003 joined forces with two active orbiters in the quest to understand Mars geography, geology, climate, and to search for vestiges of life. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/105712 Eugene M. Shoemaker (1928 - 1997) Not the worldwide fame, glamorous kind of scientist, Shoemaker was a gifted, passionate person who loved his work and, more than anything, enriched the lives of those fortunate enough to know him. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/105984 Twinkle twinkle little star, no more. Earth's atmosphere perpetual movement blurs incoming starlight. It was because of this blurring the Hubble Space Telescope was launched, to peek from above the atmosphere, but new technology has succeeded in circumventing this problem http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/106358 OUR black hole. Part I Black holes are strange beasts, small wonder they lure public imagination and feed Sci-Fi writers inspiration with all sort of wild tales. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/106531 OUR black hole. Part II It seems that every galaxy harbors a black hole in its core. The larger the central bulge of older stars, the bigger the hole. Our Milky Way is no exception, but only recently have we developed techniques suitable for peering into the cocoon and measuring the massive, quiet beast lurking inside. ... http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/106643 Their darkest hour Light pollution is of concern not solely to astronomers, it may affect you in more than one unexpected way. Yet, there is hope the situation may improve, for arriving to good solutions is not expensive, rather, it makes economic sense. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/106785 Martian Chronicles, the Backstage It's been over 2 months since Spirit landed, with Opportunity following suit 3 weeks later. Learn what they are doing, and about their masters on Earth. (Not at all the nerdy bunch you may have suspected). http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/107059 The Master Plan, part I Space research may appear as a somewhat chaotic dispersion of disparate efforts, space probes, ground telescopes, space telescopes etc. Yet this is not completely true. Scientists manage to arrive to certain consensus, while politics has, the last say. First of a two part article, within a series of related installments. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/107086 . The Master Plan, part II Part II reports on the "optical" range (infrared to X rays) observation facilities - existing or planned - within the 1999 and 2000 NSA decadal survey. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/107156 Alien call I. First contact will probably - if it ever takes place - not be face to face, instead, a distant call may be radioed purposefully or not. Neither will it be a true dialogue unless some fundamental physics breakthrough emerges. For decades now, many people are scanning the dial looking for signals. ... http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/107180 Alien call II The search for extra terrestrial signals has been going on for over 30 years. Support from official sources has been mostly lacking, and results up to now have been admittedly inconclusive. We make now a brief survey of what has been done, and what is planned to do in the quest ... http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/107245 The quest for extraterrestrial planets. Evidence of planets circling nearby stars has been amassing since 1995. Pointing a big telescope and pouring in magnification does not work, but indirect methods have succeeded. First of an article series. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/107694 Extraterrestrial planets, over 100 and counting. How astronomers detected the first extrasolar planets and how it relates to the only previosuly known example, the Solar System. .http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/107928 The Dark Side I In the first part, we present the evolution of cosmology leading to the postulation of dark matter, the Universe Age Crisis, and the lines of research pursued to solve it. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/108208 The Dark Side II The first part dealt with advances in cosmology that led to posit existence of "dark matter", and the lines of research intended to characterize universal expansion. We now check the first results and a possible model for the Universe. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/108237 The Dark Side III About 97% of what makes the Universe is unknown, a combination of dark matter and dark energy. This is not acceptable as is, neither the disfunctional relationship of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/108268 Twice in a lifetime Venus Venus transits in front of the Sun come in pairs, each pair separated from the next by over a century. In their time they spurred expeditions to far flung places tasked to observe the event. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/108454 Save Hubble Space Telescope The legendary Hubble Space Telescope narrowly escaped deliberate destruction. It's future is not clear though, and most probably will never be displayed in the Smithsonian http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/109370 Cassini Meets The Ringed Lord After a 7 year journey featuring safety concerns and controversy, and a spectacular December 2000 Jupiter flyby teaming up with the earlier Galileo probe, Cassini is entering the real business phase. To orbit Saturn for a minimum of 4 years. The European Space Agency's Huygens probe will for its part plunge ... http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/109551 Cassini Saturn arrival update 22 years hinged on a mere 96 minutes burn when the Saturn Orbital Insertion took place on June/30 - July/1. First looks from Saturn and Titan amazed even seasoned space mission veterans. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/109717 Nature's magnifying glass Predicted by General Relativity, gravitational lenses catapulted Einsteins's reputation as much as they are handy tools today to tackle one of Cosmology thorniest issues, the discovery and census of dark matter. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/110308 Martian chronicles, above and beyond Above expectations and beyond budgeted lifetimes, this is what Spirit and Opportunity are accomplishing since the launch of an over 8 month martian surface journey. Bearing the scars of pushing design limits and the harsh martian winter, they keep purring and making science. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/111449 Black holes ain't that black then? That black holes are a pain in the neck for astrophysicists is more or less well known. Infinites and zeroes are fine for mathematics but not to be found in Nature, yet a black hole in principle hides an infinite at its center, or that was accepted until now. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/112576 Looking down the barrel Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB's) puzzled astronomers for decades since their discovery by the Vela nuclear test surveillance satellites in the 60's. Scientists think now the mystery has been solved, adding yet another (unlikely) threat to the catastrophes lurking out there. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/113398 Mother lode Ask anybody what is a supernova, and chances are a vast majority will respond it goes bang and has to do with astronomy. Supernovas are epitomes of out of this world catastrophe, of unimaginable violence. Yet we all have been - in a distant past - within not one but probably ... http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/114492 Get a life - I It was bound to happen. The issue of extraterrestrial life, or of life in general as it relates to the Universe had to crawl here sooner or later. Tiptoeing around sensitive issues, we plot the journey life and intelligence had to negotiate in this galactic corner, on Earth. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/114626 Get a life II Picking off where we left, that is describing which are life compatible environments at the galactic and planetary system scale, we now focus on the Solar system and the Earth Moon subsystem. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/114730 Get a life III After sniffing well over 99.9% of tentative locations around the Milky Way, a common yet tranquil corner in the Universe, we found a likely place to inhabit. A warm, cozy planet with steady climate driven by a stable star and sizable moon. Now we look to earthly needed features for life ... http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/114830 Get a life IV Given the right conditions, life started almost immediately; yet the road to complex organisms and to intelligence was probably more arduous and fraught with devastating incidents of which the sky was not absent. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/114935 Get a life, elsewhere Faced with the unbelievable, we struggle forward on rationality crutches and begin to find answers. Life makes sense, but the mind may be hiding weird surprises, and we are probably not bound to meet aliens. Probably neither should. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/115075 More than meets the eye Thousands light the night sky to the unaided eye, dimmer or brighter, yet seldom a hint of color to make a difference from an overwhelming whiteness. But the starry zoo features a wild variety in sizes, color and life span. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics/116163 Enjoy!
  3. Hey you are welcome here Mick, whenever you want to come !! Rodolfo
  4. ¡Buen español Nick! ¿De donde eres? This is an amazingly friendly forum !! I did no plan to mention it, but I tried another forum before joining SGL, mainly because I found a thread about the sope my son presented (my first telescope!!) and mods to improve it. I also belongs below the equator, and I expected some kind of friendliness for that but it was not to be. Regretably not a single welcome response, not and acknowledgment of my comments about the hacks I had made or have planned. Nil. Yes, we have a mostly mild weather here. Winter may present cold wet weather sometimes for over a week, which clears up in bitter cold, but I have never seen snow neither does temperature drop below freezing except exceptionally for a couple of hours at dawn if at all. Wind and moisture may make you miserable though if careless outdoors. At the height of summer (January) it may be equally miserably hot but only so much (36oC or little more), and may bring though infrequently the infamous "pampero" a southwesterly gale that has claimed more than a score of shipwrecks strewn along the Atlantic an River Plate coastline. But most of the time the weather is fair. I did for some time contribute to the canadian site Suite101 as contributing editor for the Astronomy and Astrophysics forum, and checked the links are still alive hough I no longer write for them here is the link in case someone is interested in looking out, it was intended for a general audience but tried to do some serious research for each article. http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/astronomy_astrophysics Thanks all again for the nice welcome! Rodolfo
  5. Well, right now it is winter here, and the wheather is soggy, drizzling. But on average yes, we have clear skies, only light pollution is a major hindrance to homebound observing. Rodolfo
  6. Thanks all for the nice wellcome, this adds content to the proverbial british good manners!! Yes, southern skys have some unfair advantages like the nearest galaxies (Megellanic clouds), bigest star and emission nebula (Eta Carinae), great globular clusters (Omega Centauri, 47 Tucana) and scores more. On the other hand you have some treats like the largest naked eye *real* galaxy (M31) and scores of other goodies. The intermediate latitude (34 S) allows for good positioning of solar system objects, right now Jupiter is a blazing beacon tucked in Sagitarius, and have generally good access to most interesting targets depending on season. I am located in suburb Montevideo, the orange tiled roof at 34o 48' 14" S, 56o 14' 05" W in GooglEarth or maps.google.com. I have rather severe light pollution (who doesn't!!) and a somewhat tree obstructed sky, but at minutes drive of better observing places when time allows. Hope to share images as soon as I can make some decent shots. By the way, I am impressed with the heavy iron owned by several members !!, I spotted in a quick scann LX200, Radian eyepieces, Equinox mounts etc. Rodolfo
  7. Yes, it is a project, and may be I enjoy as much (or more) working on it than actually observing!. Whatever, I will keep reporting, and posting images both of the works and eventually shots taken through an adapter I built for afocal imaging, must work a bit still to get decent results. Rodolfo
  8. Hey, thanks all for the warm wellcome! You may want to check this post http://stargazerslounge.com/index.php/topic,30166.0.html and see what you think about the issue. Rodolfo
  9. I was presented some weeks ago with a Celestron PowerSeeker 127 short tube newtonian telescope. I have no observational background, neither owned or even peered through an eyepiece before, but have been acquainted with the trade for years through reading. This was the first chance to put to use whatever I may have learned about telescope use and issues. This product belongs to the low cost could-have-been-made-better category, where cost cutting often unnecessarily spoils what cound have been a far better instrument. - Mount. Shaky extruded aluminium tripod, wobbles at the slightest touch of the focuser knob. Fixed that filling the legs with mortar and fitting a wooden spreader to stress it open, much stiffer now only the mount elasticity itself is left, will look for further improvements. - Eyepieces. Probably by far the weakest link, the supplied 5mm (Ramsden?) is mostly unusable due to lack of constrast and minimal eye relief. The 20mm unit (Kellner?) is moderately fair, but one cannot expect an about U$ 200 scope to come with a couple of eyepieces in the U$ 50 range or more, which is to be expected for decent muticoated Plossls to begin with. Add to this a 3x plastic body Barlow. Planned upgrade is at least a better barlow and high power eyepiece (Celestron X-Cel range seems a good choice, hope to hear comments!), which will be a recoverable investment for eventual future telescopes, may be even a new 20 mm also. - Assembly. Out of the box, the scope once assembled and pointed to Jupiter showed what even in my inexperienced eyes looked like gross miscollimation. After some testing and fumbling around, I replaced 2 of the collimation screws with a couple of longer bolts I fitted with knurled knobs and spring loaded between the mirror cell and back plate. This made visual collimation far easier in the darkness and prompted suspend the building of a laser collimator out of a scrap length of brass I had started. Will eventually finish it, but is no longer an urgent issue. - Optical desing. This is a tough issue, the design is of the Jones-Bird type, i.e. a relatively fast spherical mirror, corrected and focal length extended by a doublet lens placed at the tip of the drawtube. I have heard all sorts of negative comments about this scheme, though it seems they are mostly related with the actual execution of it in cheap scopes from general brands, rather than with the optical design itself. Here I am in a quandry. I may choose to replace the primary with a quality paraboloid, replacing the tube itself if I want to keep approximately the same focal length (effective lenght that is, 1000 mm), or make a flex cell to deform the original primary (Sky&Telescope - Alan Adler Nov/2000). In this case, I may probably need to replace the inbuilt corrector-extender lens with a (better quality) barlow to remove the now unnecessary aspherical correction while keeping the focal length, or may be another approach I do not see now, or may be it is not worth in the end. Whatever, I am enjoying quite fair views of the moon and Jupiter (can see the pale red spot with the 20mm eyepiece and barlow), and expect to hone my observational skills in the months ahead, wheather permitting! Apologies for the long post. Rodolfo
  10. After some search for a good astronomy forum, I choose to join stargazers' lounge on the general quality and quantity of topics and member activity. A brief introduction. I am an Electrical Engineer, 57, with interests in music, aviation and lately astronomy. A long time subsriber of Scientific American (until it regretably fell way down in quality), I was at times also subsribed to Astronomy magazine and Sky & Telescope. I have had up to now no contact with hands on observation, but my son came some weeks ago with an unexpected present, a Celestron PowerSeeker 127 newtonian. So here I am under southern skies finding my way (after some pretty obvious hacks I had to implement to make the scope usable, I will start a thread exchanging information as well as requesting expert opinion about future modifications I have in mind). That is it, hope to enjoy your company as much as I will try to add contributions within my scope of possibilities. Rodolfo
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