Tag Archives: solar-system

iPad Astronomy


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Star Walk for the iPad could quite possibly be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. You can use the app to look at the solar system and learn any number of things about what you’re seeing. The coolest thing, though, is when you hold the iPad up to the night sky. Pan the iPad across the sky and see the stars enter the iPad and display their names and other information.

The features are aplenty, but the main ones include:

  • 3D Earth View for manual selection of location
  • Star Spotter Function (Digital Compass for 3GS)
  • Cutting-edge graphics
  • Time machine
  • Moon phases
  • Intuitive interface
  • Night mode
  • Deep sky objects (Messier)
  • Meteor showers

Even if you know nothing about Astronomy, you’re going to enjoy this app. This is an amazing way of navigating the night sky. Learning has just become even more fun.

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Do You Believe in Aliens?

I spend most of my time attempting to bring friends the latest news, hottest new hardware and software, and the very latest in technology advancements. While it’s true that I post a few humorous things at times, I know that I still need to take time to lighten up. I decided that, tonight, we’d end the week on a slightly more thought-provoking note.

Do you believe in aliens? I’m not talking about illegal immigrants, folks. I’m referring to “intelligent” life on other planets. Extraterrestrials!

How can you say (with certainty) that humans are the only sentient beings in the universe? Isn’t that rather presumptuous?

The question of the day is: do you believe that intelligent life exists in this universe (beyond planet Earth)? Have you ever had a close encounter of the first, second, or third kind? Are you an ET, yourself?

While I’ve never been a witness to any such event, I do believe that “aliens” exist (just as much as I believe that Jesus existed, even though I’ve never met the dude). I also believe we have some intelligent life floating around the Internet:

Is your computer feeling not-so-very-intelligent right now? Smarten ‘er up through the software center before too long.

Astronomy for Amateurs


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During our open mic session at the last Gnomedex, my good friend Derek Miller came up on stage to show off some backyard Astronomy that his Dad has done. Derek reminds us all that you don’t have to work at NASA to get amazing photographs of things found in our solar system. All you need is passion for what you’re looking at, and a telescope!

Derek was inspired to show off his Dad’s work after seeing the Bad Astronomer himself, Phil Plait, on stage during the conference.

You can find the amazing picture Derek’s Dad took on his blog. There’s a very cool picture, as well, on Phil Plait’s blog.

Are you a backyard Astronomer? If you have gotten cool pictures like these, leave us a link in the comments section so we can all enjoy them!

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Interactions with an Omnidirectional Projector


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This is a hemispherical dome in which users can interact with data from Virtual Earth and WorldWide Telescope. This was done using a regular projector and a wide-angle lens – and Microsoft technologies!

The Ominidirectional Projector allows you to control 360 degrees of data displayed on the ceiling and walls with voice and hand gesture commands. The system is designed to be simple and easy to build. The entire system is composed of a projector pointing upwards in the center of the room. Around the lens are IR camera sensors that can detect the hand signs that the user makes. By making hand puppets above the projector’s lens, a user can control the world around him.

The most popular program being displayed with the projector is an interactive virtual display of the Galaxy. The user is capable of flying past stars and zoom in on planets or even zoom out to show the entire Milky Way or even zoom out to the Big Bang.

Unfortunately, the Omnidirectional Projector is still in development stages, but Microsoft intends to make the system be able to work in a standard room instead requiring a domed room.

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