Tag Archives: astronomy

About December

So, December is almost upon us.

I have plans for December. I talked about how I plan to get back to the basics before. December is the month I start to do it. I have a pretty solid plan for it. Now, keep in mind that my work schedule is pretty heavy during the holidays, so I will be working longer hours and more days than usual then. Regardless, I’ll maintain a post a day. But what I post about will be back to the roots of this blog. This is what to expect:

  • Five book reviews. That’s right, five.
  • An author interview.
  • Resuming Quick Facts Astronomy.
  • And at least one worldbuilding post.

I really want to get back to doing these things. It’s part of what gave this blog its character. I also plan on doing something else new. You know I’ve been doing Star Trek episode reviews. Well, I plan on doing reviews of full seasons of different TV shows and movies. Coming soon will be season 1 of The Walking Dead, as it’s pretty short, and I just have two more episodes to watch.

Are you looking forward to December? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Another YouTube Channel?? – Science!

After a lot of thought over the last few days, I’ve come to a decision. I will be starting another YouTube channel. Here’s how this came about.

A while back, I was thinking I might start doing some science-related vlogs on my vlog channel (you should subscribe to it!). I then decided I’d do a science video every week. However, I felt like it wouldn’t fit with that channel, as it’s meant to be a daily (sometimes 2-3 days) vlog. Why not start a new channel?

And so I made my decision. Soon, there will be a new channel on YouTube dedicated to science! But it won’t be right away. I need some time to plan it, choose a name, and have room to shoot my videos in. They’ll be extremely low budget, but I plan on using a new video editor (it’s a free one, but highly recommended).  I need to learn that new editor before I start the new channel, and I need a whole list of video ideas. I need to develop a format for it, as well. There’s a lot to consider. And one of the things I need to check out is if I am able to monetize a third channel this year. When I tried monetizing the channel for my daughter and I, YouTube told me I can’t monetize three channels in one year. Not sure about that, but I’ll investigate.

The new channel will have one video per week to start. They’ll feature me in front of the camera, and I’d like to do these videos with diagrams on paper. I’ll need to script the videos, unlike the videos I currently do for books and vlogs. I will focus a lot on astronomy and biology, though I’ll also include geology, physics, and chemistry.

I have some questions for you, though. I’d love to have some input.

  1. Would you be interested in subscribing and watching this channel?
  2. Do you think I should aim the videos toward children or adults? Or maybe good for both?
  3. What topics would you like to see me make videos on?

One of the things I may start doing for that channel is a weekly Q&A where I take a question or two and provide the answers. However, this will come down the road. As for the main videos, I’ll be using a lot of public domain images and planning on doing picture in picture video from time to time. So, I need to practice editing videos. And if possible, a collaboration or two with other science channels. Lots to do!

So, who’s with me? Interested? Let me know what you think in the comments with your answers to the questions above.

Back to My Roots

This blog started out as a way for me to talk about the books I’m reading and what I’m writing. I really haven’t been doing much of that lately. I also had some series that I was enthusiastically doing. Some of them I haven’t been doing. So, it’s time to get back to what made this blog better.

Here’s what I want to make sure I’m writing:

  • Book reviews. I have three from earlier this year that I never did get written up other than notes. I’ll be doing those. Also, I recently finished a book, and that needs to be reviewed.
  • Worldbuilding series. I need to get back to writing posts about worldbuilding. I already have five posts, but there are many more to go.
  • Astronomy Quick Facts. I’ll continue touring the solar system’s moons in this series.
  • Instagram photos. I haven’t done this in a while. I’d like to continue round 1 of the voting for my best Instagram photos. Some great photos have yet to come.

There are some other things I’m considering. One of them is more author interviews. What do you think about that?

Let me know what you think in the comments. What are you most interested in seeing return?

Planetarium Software

I found some really good free planetarium software. It’s called Stellarium. Today, I was able to use this software, but I’m going to download it and use it at home.

You see, I’m going to be using this software at work extensively. This should give you an idea about what I’m going to be doing. When I said I’ll be using my university degree in my job, I meant it. I’ll be educating people on astronomy and physics. But that’s not all. There’s something else I’m not telling you, and I think that will remain a secret for now. Sorry!

What I’ve been able to do with this software is look at stars, nebulae, galaxies, planets, and the Moon. I’ve looked at the movement of Jupiter’s moons over time, watched the Moon’s phases, and examine the night sky around 100,000 years in the past and future. There’s a lot more I can do, and I’ll explore it as much as I can before I start using it at work.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m finally using my university degree in a job! Do you use your degree in your job?

The Benefit of Making YouTube Videos

I’ve come to realise something about making daily YouTube videos. I’ve been speaking in front of a camera, and looking at my earliest videos, then my more recent ones, I see an improvement in my ability to speak. I’m becoming a better speaker. I’m feeling more comfortable speaking in front of a camera. And I think this will carry over to something very important.

You see, my job will involve me speaking in front of audiences, making science presentations and demonstrations. I need to be able to speak well, and in a friendly manner. The more I speak, the better I get. Thankfully, I’ll be talking about something I know well.

It’s funny, thinking back to when I was in school, I never would have imagined that nearly all of my jobs involve a lot of speaking. When I worked in the call centre, I had to speak a lot. Then I taught English in Japan, a job that required me to speak in front of groups. And now, I’m going to be speaking in front of larger groups mostly about physics and astronomy.

As I do more videos, I will improve. My videos will get better. And as I speak more in my job, my presentations will get better.

I surprised myself on Monday. I used to always just sit there and listen to most people talking. However, I tended to take the lead in some ways in conversations during my training. I wasn’t worried about talking in front of fifteen people. My manager even mentioned that I am the astronomy expert out of my group of trainees, so I’m the one to go to if there are any questions. This is definitely going to be interesting. This is the first time I’ve gone into a job where my degree is allowing me to be the “expert.”

Let’s see where this goes. This job may be one of my biggest opportunities for the future! And I have to thank YouTube videos for helping me improve my speaking and confidence.

Plumes Spotted on Europa

Take a look at this image.

Credits: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center
Credits: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center

Just what is this? Well, it’s Europa superimposed on an image of Europa taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. See that white stuff coming from the bottom left? That seems so similar to what we’ve seen from Enceladus. That’s a possible water plume!

So, what does this mean? It means that water is making it to the surface of Europa. This also means that we may have a much easier time accessing the water than we thought. We already have an extremely good idea about the internal structure of Europa, which likely includes a very deep liquid water ocean. Europa is one of the best candidates for life in the solar system, and with upcoming missions to Europa and the other icy moons of Jupiter coming soon, we’ll have an excellent opportunity to know what the composition of this water is. It’s suspected to be salty, but how salty is it? And does it support life?

This is very exciting. What do you think?

Proxima Centauri b – Our Newest Neighbour

This is the biggest exoplanet news ever. 4.25 light years away, a tiny red dwarf star has revealed something extremely important: a potentially Earth-like planet. The ESO announced today that they have discovered a planet orbiting the nearest star to our solar system, Proxima Centauri.

Artist's impression of Proxima Centauri b. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser. Source.
Artist’s impression of Proxima Centauri b. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser. Source.

So, how big is this planet? At least 1.3 times the size of Earth, or possibly up to 3 Earths. This would mean it’s either an Earth-like planet or a Super Earth. It is most likely to be terrestrial and due to its proximity to its star, it’s tidally locked. One side always faces its star. However, it’s in that very special place in a star’s orbit where liquid water can exist. That’s the good thing. The bad thing is that ultraviolet and X-rays from Proxima Centauri could make the surface of the planet potentially uninhabitable. With that being said, life could thrive below the surface.

What would it be like on the planet, though? The side facing the star would be hot and blasted by radiation. The side facing away from the star would probably be extremely cold, possibly covered in ice. The area that’s perpetually at sunset would be the most habitable and comfortable. If there’s a significant atmosphere, then temperatures could be stabilised all around the planet, and likely to be a constant wind flowing from the day side to the night side.

Breakthrough Starshot, a project started by billionaire Yuri Milner, physicist Stephen Hawking, and others, now has a destination. This project, designed to send tiny probes at 20% the speed of light into interstellar space, could reach Proxima Centauri b in only 20 years, then another 4.25 years to transmit data back to the Earth. The probes would take pictures and send them back. However, the estimated launch date is 2060, so many of us today would unlikely get to see this. Well, I plan to be around in 2084. I’ll only be 107 years old. I want to see this planet!

This has a lot of people excited, including me. I really want to know more about this planet. I wish we could go now. To see the surface of a world orbiting another star would be the dream of any astronomer or astronomy enthusiast. This is big!