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Showing posts from December, 2011

Icosahedral Planet Models

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I wanted to make a Christmas present for my middle-school-aged niece, and I wanted it to be science-related. So, I found these images at various places on the web (starting at the very nice page assembled by Steve Albers). I then wrote a computer program to turn the images into the maps you see here - projected onto icosohedra (20-sided solid objects).

It reminded me once again what a remarkable time we are living in. When I was born, *none* of these maps would have been possible. And many of them have only been made possible in the last decade (in fact, the Mercury and Vesta maps were just made this year).

Here is an example - our very own Moon:



You can find all the images at Google Plus

Edit: People who were not logged in to Google+ could not download all the pictures. So I've also uploaded the album to Flickr.

There are maps of:

Callisto Deimos Dione Earth Enceladus Europa Ganymede Iapetus Io Jupiter Luna Mars Mercury Mimas Phobo…

Lunar Eclipse over Horsetooth

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I went out early this morning to catch the last lunar eclipse until 2014.  This one is unique, because, from the United States, it occurred near sunrise.  So you can see the pink light on Horsetooth mountain from the pre-dawn glow in the east.  The moon went behind the mountains before totality.

This picture was taken at about 6:45 AM local time on a DSLR attached to an 80mm f/6 telescope (480mm focal length), a 1/2 second exposure at ISO 400 (and then computer-processed somewhat to enhance the contrast).