September 2011

100 Year Starship Meeting

September 30, 2011

Arrived yesterday afternoon at the Orlando Hilton for the 100 Year Starship Symposium. I’ll try to get updates out on my Twitter feed @centauri_dreams when possible. The WiFi here has been mostly good but it did go down this morning for a time, so bear with me.

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Lost in Time and Lost in Space

September 29, 2011

by Dave Moore Dave Moore, a frequent Centauri Dreams contributor, tells me he was born and raised in New Zealand, spent time in Australia, and now makes his home in California. “As a child I was fascinated by the exploration of space and science fiction. Arthur C. Clarke, who embodied both, was one of my […]

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A New Confirmation of General Relativity

September 28, 2011

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity remains much in the news after a weekend of speculation about the curious neutrino results at CERN. Exactly what is going on with the CERN measurements remains to be seen, but the buzz in the press has been intense as the specifics of the experiment are dissected. It will be […]

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A Machine-Driven Way to the Stars

September 27, 2011

Are humans ever likely to go to the stars? The answer may well be yes, but probably not if we’re referring to flesh-and-blood humans aboard a starship. That’s the intriguing conclusion of Keith Wiley (University of Washington), who brings his background in very large computing clusters and massively parallel image data processing to bear on […]

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The SN 1987A Experiment

September 24, 2011

If neutrinos really do travel at a velocity slightly higher than the speed of light, we have a measurement that challenges Einstein, a fact that explains the intense interest in explaining the results at CERN that we discussed on Friday. I think CERN is taking exactly the right approach in dealing with the matter with […]

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On Neutrinos and the Speed of Light

September 23, 2011

If you’re tracking the interesting news from CERN on neutrinos moving slightly faster than the speed of light, be advised that there is an upcoming CERN webcast on the matter at 1400 UTC later today (the 23rd). Meanwhile, evidence that the story is making waves is not hard to find. I woke up to find […]

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Exoplanet Discoveries via PC

September 22, 2011

Because the financing for missions like Kepler is supported by tax dollars, it’s gratifying to see the public getting actively involved in working with actual data from the Kepler team. That’s what has been going on with the Planet Hunters site, where 40,000 users from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds have been analyzing […]

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NEOWISE: Rethinking the Dinosaur Killer

September 21, 2011

With a fierce interest in nearby brown dwarfs, I often neglect the significant part of the WISE mission devoted to asteroids. WISE (Wide-Field Infrared Explorer) has catalogued more than 157,000 asteroids in the main belt and discovered 33,000 new objects as part of its NEOWISE activities. Here the benefits of infrared wavelengths become apparent, for […]

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A Wary Look at Habitable Worlds

September 20, 2011

The confirmation of a planet circling two stars, recounted in these pages yesterday, is actually the result of a long process. Jean Schneider (CNRS/LUTH – Paris Observatory) noted in a follow-up comment to the Kepler-16b story that investigation of such systems dates back to 1990 (see citation below), while Alex Tolley has pointed out that […]

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Circumbinary Orbits and Stellar Radii

September 19, 2011

I’m just back from a long trip and am only now catching up on some of the news stories from late last week. Among these I should mention the discovery of the world with the double sunset, identified through Kepler data and reminiscent of the famous scene from Star Wars, where Luke Skywalker stands on […]

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