Saturday

Thomas Harriot (English Astronomer, Mathematician) 1560 - 1621


Thomas Harriot Demographics:
  • Name - Thomas Harriot
  • Surname - Harriot or Hariot or Heriot.
  • Born - c. 1560 (Oxford)
  • Death - 2 July 1621 (London)
  • Occupation - Astronomer, Mathematician, Ethnographer, Translator
  • Nationality - English
  • Education - Oxford University
Thomas Harriot Facts:
  • Graduate of Oxford University.
  • Traveled on an expedition to the Americas, funded by Sir Walter Raleigh.
  • Worked for the 9th Earl of Northumberland.
  • The theory of refraction is attributed to Thomas Harriot.
  • The first telescopic observer.
  • First person to make a drawing of the moon viewed through a telescope (July 26, 1609).
  • Performed this telescopic feat before Galileo Galilei.
  • Some historians credit him with introducing the potato to Ireland & Great Britain.

Tags:
1560 - 1621 - Galileo Galilei - Moon - Oxford University - Potato - Refraction - Telescope - Thomas Harriot -


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Galileo Galilei (Italian Astronomer, Mathematician, Physicist, Philosopher) 1564 - 1642


Galileo Galilei Demographics:
  • Full name - Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei.
  • Surname - Galilei.
  • Born - 15 February 1564
  • Birthplace - Pisa (then part of the Duchy of Florence), Italy.
  • Died - 8 January 1642
  • Nationality - Italian.
  • Father - Vincenzo Galilei (famous lutenist & music theorist).
  • Mother - Giulia Ammannati.
  • Siblings - Eldest of 6 children.
  • Mistress - Marina Gamba.
  • Children - 3 children (son Vincenzo; daughters Virginia & Livia) by Marina Gamba.
  • Occupation - Astronomer, mathematician, physicist, & philosopher.
Galileo Galilei Facts:
  • Astronomer - one of the greatest of post-Greek times.
  • Thought of himself as a 'natural philosopher'.
  • Remembered as the father of modern science - being the first person to understand that theory drives science.
  • Experimented with telescopes.
  • By January 1610 he started looking at the sky.
  • Discovered Jupiter's satellites.
  • Described the phases of Venus.
  • Targeted by the church because of his anti-Ptolemaic views.
  • Placed under house arrest by the Pope.
  • Only at the end of the 20th Century was he religiously exonerated by the Vatican.
Quotes About Galileo Galilei:
"Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science." [Stephen Hawking]

Tags:

1564 - 1642 - Astronomer - Galileo - Galileo Galilei - Jupiter - Marina Gamba - Mathematician - Physicist - Pisa - Pope - Science - Telescope - Venus -

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Cosmic Rays (Discovered 1912, Astrophysics)

Cosmic Ray Facts:
  • First discovered by Austrian physicist Viktor Hess on the 7th August, 1912, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1936.
  • Arise from the Sun & galactic supernova remnants.
  • Can come from supermassive black holes.
Tags:
1912 - Black Hole - Cosmic Ray - Nobel Przie - Sun - Supermassive Black Hole - Supernova Remnants - Victor Francis Hess -


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Victor Francis Hess (Austrian Physicist, Nobel Prize 1936)


Viktor Hess Demographics:
  • Name - Victor or Viktor Francis Hess (pictured in 1912)
  • Born - 24 June, 1883
  • Death - 17 December, 1964
  • Occupation - Physicist
  • Nationality - Austrian-American
  • Father - Royal forester in Prince Öttingen-Wallerstein's service.
Victor Hess Facts:
  • Austrian physicist.
  • Discoverer of cosmic rays.
  • Won a half share of the Nobel physics prize in 1936 for work he undertook between 1911-1913.
Viktor Hess Awards:
  • Lieben Prize (1919)
  • Abbe Memorial Prize
  • Abbe Medal of the Carl Zeiss Institute in Jena (1932)
  • Nobel Prize in Physics (1936) for discovery of cosmic rays.
Tags:
1936 - Abbe Medal - Cosmic Rays - Lieben Prize - Nobel Prize - Physics - Victor Francis Hess - Viktor Hess


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Ultracool Subdwarfs (Astronomy, Stellar Science)

Ultracool Subdwarf Facts:
  • Small cool stars.
  • First recognised as unique in 2003.
  • Masses about one tenth of the Sun.
  • Move fast.
Tags:
Astronomy - Star - Stellar Science - Subdwarf - Sun - Ultracool Subdwarf


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Charles Hard Townes (Physicist, Nobel Prize 1964)


Charles Hard Townes Demographics:

  • Born - July 28, 1915 (Greenville, South Carolina)
  • Wife - former Frances H. Brown (married in 1941)
  • Daughters - Linda Rosenwein, Ellen Anderson, Carla Kessler, & Holly Townes.
  • Nationality - American
  • Father - Henry Keith Townes, attorney.
  • Mother - Ellen (Hard) Townes
Charles Townes Facts:
  • Researcher at University of California, Berkeley.
  • Won the 1964 Nobel physics prize for his work on lasers.
  • Built the Infrared Spatial Interferometer at Mount Wilson Observatory in southern California.
Image - Charles Hard Townes (Nobel Prize 1964) (Public Domain)

Tags:
Charles Hard Townes - Infrared Spatial Interferometer - Laser - Nobel Prize - Physics - University of California

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Betelgeuse (Red Giant, Constellation Orion)

Betelgeuse Facts:
  • Bright red giant in the constellation Orion.
  • Has shrunk by more than 15% over the last 15 years (1994 - 2009).
  • 20 times as massive as the Sun.
  • Shrinkage could be a prelude to a massive supernova explosion.
See the short video below about large stars including Betelgeuse.



Stars listed in ascending size:

Tags:

Betelgeuse - Orion - Red Giant - Star - Sun - Supernova


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Elysium Planitia (Mars, Geoastronomy)

Elysium Planitia Facts:
  • Elysium Planitia is a huge smooth Martian plain on Mars.
  • The area includes volcanoes - Albor Tholus, Elysium Mons, Hecates Tholus.
  • Second largest volcanic region on Mars - largest is Tharsis Montes.
  • Believed to have ash-covered water ice on the surface.
  • This ice may be the remains of water floods & lava flows in the Cerberus Fossae fissures (from about 2 - 10 million years ago).
  • The surface of the Elysium Planitia is broken into 'plates' - similar to broken ice floating water.
Tags:
Cerberus Fossae - Elysium Planitia - Geoastronomy - Ice - Mars - Plain - Volcano



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Ariadnes Colles Region (Mars, Astronomy)

Ariadnes Colles Region Important Facts:
  • Region on the planet Mars.
  • Covers around 28,000 square km.
  • Found south of the huge smooth martian plain Elysium Planitia.

Tags:
Ariadnes Colles Region - Astronomy - Elysium Planitia - Mars


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Mesas (Large, Raised, Flat Geological Structures)


Mesa Facts:
  • Word derived from - Spanish & Portuguese for "table".
  • Refers to an elevated area of land with a flat top & with sides that are usually steep cliffs.
  • Characteristic landform of dry, arid environments.
  • The largest example of a mesa is considered to be the Grand Mesa (in western Colorado, United States).
  • The equivalent name for these landforms in Spanish is meseta.
Common Mesa Locations:
  • Africa - North & South
  • Arabia
  • Australia
  • India
  • Spain
  • Sardinia
  • United States - Badlands, Colorado, Southwest.

Image Credit - Red Mesa School District

Tags:
Cliffs - Colorado - Geology - Mesa - Table - United States


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European Space Agency (ESA)

esa

European Space Agency Facts:
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) is dedicated to space exploration.
  • ESA was established in 1975.
  • It is one of the many European intergovernmental organisations.
  • ESA is currently is owned by 18 member states.
  • It participates in the International Space Station program.
  • The main ESA launch vehicle is Ariane 5 which is operated through Arianespace.
Locations of ESA Functions:
  • ESA Mission Control (ESOC) - Darmstadt, Germany.
  • Earth Observation missions - ESRIN in Frascati, Italy.
  • ESA science missions - ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands.
  • European Astronaut Centre (EAC) - located in Cologne, Germany.
  • European Space Astronomy Centre - located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

Tags:

Ariane 5 - ESA - European - European Space Agency - International Space Station - Space - Space Exploration


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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Astronautics)


NASA Basic Facts:
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  • Agency of the United States government.
  • Responsible for the nation's public space program.
  • Established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act on July 29, 1958.
  • NASA became operational on October 1, 1958.
  • Responsible for the US space program.
  • Also responsible for long-term civilian & military aerospace research.
NASA Space Projects Include:
  • Apollo missions to the moon.
  • Ares I & V launch vehicles.
  • Earth Observing System
  • Heliophysics Research Program
  • International Space Station (supporter)
  • Skylab space station
  • Space Shuttle
Tags:
Apollo Missions - Astronautics - NASA - Skylab - Space Shuttle - United States - USA


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Earth (Solar System Planet)


Interesting Earth Facts:
  • Known as the Blue Planet.
  • Formed approximately 4.54 billion years ago.
  • 3rd planet from the Sun in our Solar System.
  • Has one natural satellite called the Moon.
  • Currently the only place in the Universe where life is known to exist.
  • The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted 23.4° away from the perpendicular.
  • This tilting of the Earth's axis produces seasonal variations.
  • The Earth orbits the Sun once for every ~ 366.26 times it rotates about its own axis.
  • 71% of the Earth's surface is covered with salt-water oceans
Tags:
Earth - Life - Moon - Ocean - Season - Solar System - Sun - Universe


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Moon (Earth Satellite)


Interesting Moon Facts:
  • Only natural satellite of the Earth.
  • Mass is 1/81 of that of the Earth.
  • It is also in synchronous rotation with Earth.
  • The Moon always shows the same face toward the Earth.
  • The gravitational influence of the Moon produces the ocean tides.
Moon Exploration:
  • The Soviet Union's Luna programme was the first to reach the Moon using an unmanned spacecraft.
  • The Luna 2 mission, in 1959, successfully impacted upon the Moon's surface - the 1st man-made object to reach the Moon.
  • The Luna 3 mission, also in 1959, rounded the Moon & sent the 1st photographs of the far side of the Moon.
  • The Luna 9 mission, February 1966, was the first probe to make a soft landing on the Moon.
  • United States' NASA Apollo programme has achieved the only manned missions to the Moon.
  • Lunokhod programme (1970-1973).

Related Links:
Waxing or Waning Moon (Mnemonic)
Theia Giant Impact Hypothesis (Collision With Earth Producing Moon)



Tags:
Apollo Programme - Earth - Gravitation - Lunokhod Programme - Luna Programme - Moon - NASA - Ocean Tides - Satellite - Soviet Union - United States

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Theia Giant Impact Hypothesis (Collision With Earth Producing Moon)


Theia Collision With Earth:
  • According to the giant impact hypothesis, Theia was a hypothetical planet which was destroyed after colliding with the Earth 4 billion years ago. It is believed that some of Theia's debris may have then formed the Moon.
Theia In Greek Mythology:
  • Theia means goddess or divine.
  • Theia had a mythological role as the mother of the Moon goddess Selene.
  • Alludes to the use of the name Theia as the hypothetical planet which may have collided with the Earth creating the Moon.
Image from Rufus Gefangenen (cc)

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Falsifiability

Falsifiability has the same meaning as refutability. It relates to the logical possibility that an assertion can be demonstrated to be false, whether by observation or physical experimentation.

Falsifiability is a very important concept in the fields of science and the philosophy of science.


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