Tag Archives: astronomy

The End of Cassini: Crashing Into Saturn

On September 15, the Cassini spacecraft will come to an end. It’s going to crash into Saturn after orbiting it for more than 13 years. That’s a long time.

Cassini has brought us an incredible amount of information. Some of it has been extremely exciting. Lakes on Titan, liquid water ocean on Enceladus, the spongy-looking surface of Hyperion, and the split personality of Iapetus. And then there are the rings and the atmosphere of Saturn. I talk all about that and why Cassini is crashing into Saturn in my most recent science video.

What are some of your best memories of the Cassini mission? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Did You See the Eclipse? I Did!

This is the second solar eclipse I’ve seen in six years. The last one was in Japan, and it was a total eclipse. This time, we had a partial eclipse here in Edmonton. I made a solar eclipse viewer with a cereal box, and it performed wonderfully. Curious to see the results? Well, check it out!

The things that I observed with the viewer that I found interesting were:

  • I could see clouds when they passed over the sun.
  • While the image was sharp, the camera found it to be difficult to focus on it, mainly because of the contrast between the dark box and bright light of the eclipse.

Outside the box, when it was at maximum eclipse, I noticed the following:

  • It got darker. It was still sunny, but it was a very odd sunny. It was like we had a 70% less bright sun. Things that I normally would have squinted at, like the white garage door, was no longer very bright.
  • It became cooler. It was a significant drop in temperature, and I wanted to wear a jacket. It was a 25 C day. That’s warm. But with 70% of the sun covered, the heat was less, and it felt cool.

I would have loved to have experienced the total eclipse. When I was in Japan, it was cloudy. I didn’t notice much of a cooling and while it did become significantly darker, it was still cloudy, and it wasn’t as impressive. I could still see the eclipse through the clouds, though. And yes, I did look at it without protecting my eyes with glasses. I couldn’t see it with the glasses, actually! The clouds were just the right thickness to be able to see the eclipse. But don’t worry, I only glanced at it quickly. And then when there was a break in the clouds, I used the glasses and took pictures through them.

Did you see the eclipse? Let me know!

How to Make a Solar Eclipse Viewer

Most of you are from North America, and I’m sure you know about the solar eclipse next Monday, right? The path of totality will cross the United States, but all of North America will get to see it to varying degrees of partiality. For me, it’ll be around 75% partial.

Do you have your solar eclipse glasses? They’re hard to find now. If you don’t have some, don’t worry! You can still observe the eclipse! Actually, I made one today with my daughter. Here it is:

An easy to make solar eclipse viewer made with a cereal box.

That’s right, it’s a cereal box. Curious how to make it? It’s actually very easy. I made a video showing how I made it, so if you want to try this out, then definitely watch the video!

Are you going to make it? Any kind of cereal box will do. You can use pretty much any kind of box, actually. Just make sure no light is getting in except through the pinhole. Let me know if you’re going to make it!

E Is for Europa

Even though the A to Z Challenge is over, and I took a huge break, I’m going to finish it. A lot has happened over the last couple months, but it’s back! Today is the letter E, and I’m talking about Jupiter’s moon Europa! Did you learn anything new?

  1. Europa is the fourth largest natural satellite of Jupiter.
  2. It was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei, along with the other three Galilean satellites.
  3. The surface of Europa is the smoothest surface of any world in the Solar System, consisting of water ice.
  4. Europa orbits Jupiter in just 3.55 days, with one side always facing Jupiter, as it’s tidally locked.
  5. Beneath the ice crust is an estimated 100 km deep ocean of salt water. But it isn’t clear if the ice is thick or thin. However, the amount of water on Europa is about two to three times the volume of Earth’s oceans.
  6. Europa has a weak magnetic field, best explained by Europa’s salt water ocean.
  7. Tidal heating from the interactions of Europa with Jupiter and the other Galilean satellites warms the interior of the moon, possibly resulting in hydrothermal vents at the floor of the ocean. This has led scientists to suggest that life may exist in Europa’s ocean.
  8. Europa most likely has an iron core and a rocky mantle.
  9. Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope provide further evidence of subsurface oceans, as plumes of water have been seen erupting to 200 km above the surface.
  10. Europa has an oxygen atmosphere. But it’s very thin, providing a surface pressure of only 0.1 micropascals.

Let me know what you learned in the comments section below!

A to Z Challenge Begins! The Jay Dee Show 26

I seemed to delayed with everything this past week. Well, here we are with some videos. And the A to Z Challenge has begun! I uploaded only one video for my main channel, but I have two for you from my science channel!

On my main channel, my regular weekly Authors Answer has continued. This time, I talked about the validity and legality of fanfiction.

Over on my science channel, I started off April with a bang. And it’s going to be a very busy month on that channel.

The first video I posted is the first of the A to Z Challenge videos, this time featuring the letter A and Alpha Centauri.

And then I made a video about what was to come in April and some changes I have in store for science news.

And that’s all for this week. Expect 6 videos a week from my science channel, and 2 or 3 from my main channel throughout April. It’ll be pretty productive!

Which videos did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below.

A Is for Alpha Centauri

Here it is! It’s the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! Two years ago, I participated in it, and now I’m doing it again. This time, I have a science theme, and I am featuring videos.

For the first topic, we have Alpha Centauri. Check out the video below. After the video, the facts are available for you to read.

  1. It’s a triple star system 4.37 ly from the sun.
  2. Alpha Centauri A is also known as Rigil Kentaurus, while Alpha Centauri C is known as Proxima Centauri. B has no other name.
  3. Alpha Centauri A is a G2 yellow dwarf star similar to the sun, although 10% brighter and 23% larger.
  4. Alpha Centauri B is a K1 orange dwarf star 90% the mass and 14% smaller radius than the sun.
  5. Proxima Centauri is an M6 class red dwarf star with 0.123 solar masses.
  6. Proxima Centauri orbits the AB pair at a massive distance of 15,000 AU or 0.24 light years, though it’s not completely certain it is a member of the system.
  7. Discovered in 2012, Alpha Centauri Bb was an extrasolar planet that was found in 2015 to be an artefact of data analysis. It doesn’t exist.
  8. In 2016, Proxima Centauri b was announced. It’s an extrasolar planet a bit larger than the earth, but is in the star’s habitable zone. It’s likely to be tidally locked, making life difficult to take hold. It’s also likely to be one of the easiest extrasolar planets to study in the near future because of it’s proximity.
  9. The Alpha Centauri system is estimated to be between 4.5 and 7 billion years old, around the same age of our sun or older.
  10. Due to Proxima Centauri being a flare star, life may never have a chance to become established on b because the flares may strip the planet of its atmosphere.

Coming on Monday is the letter B, which will have a more biological topic. Comments are always welcome!

I Want to Live in Another World! The Jay Dee Show 24

My video-making continues to be a bit slow, but I’m finding I’m very busy recently, and I have less time to record videos. Plus the fact that with the science videos, editing takes about 2 hours for a short 4 minute video. This includes doing the thumbnails, but doesn’t include searching for images or writing the script. There’s probably about 5 hours of work for a short 4 minute video.

So, here are the past week’s videos. There are 3 of them. I made only 2 for my main channel and 1 for my science channel.

Starting off with my main channel, the first video I posted is my Top 5 Fantasy World video. I talked about the 5 fantasy worlds I love the most.

And then I finally posted my latest Authors Answer video, only 2 weeks late. It’s about writing child and teenage characters.

Moving on to my science channel, since I did a science video last Saturday, there wasn’t one on Monday. So, the only video of the week was the weekly science news video. This one featured some amazing pictures of Pan, Saturn’s small moon, and some political stuff about the EPA.

That’s all for this week! Let me know what you thought of the videos in the comments section below. Over the next week, there should be 2 regular science videos plus a few videos for my main channel I hope to get done, including a Star Trek one, a book review, and Authors Answer. Maybe I’ll finally get back to doing the Japan videos.