Month: November 2013

Dr. Brian Cox explains the science behind Dr. Who (and why I recently began loving this show).

I have gone from really enjoying Doctor Who to loving it and being thrilled at the fact that I have a show to look forward to and mull over during it’s post-Thanksgiving pause. Something about the fact that a big part of his mythology has been revealed and, at the same time, rewritten is wonderful. I need to know why, most importantly. When my girlfriend and I talk about math (she’s studying Micro-Bio & has to take calc and organic chem etc), it’s apparent she is good at things with rules and such, such as algebra.. and I am better with things like geometry and trig (though I would need a refresher in trig). The reason is I need to know why.. why is everything. Algebra does not adequately explain “why?” to me. Why and what is this equation for? It’s real world principals? I just have a hard time getting behind a subject that requires faith. Hard to explain. With geometry, I can see that everywhere. I know where the boundaries are and can visualize it so easily.. most times figuring it out longhand, on my own, without looking up equations or rules. If equations are required, I will usually approach it my own way. Shows how different one person understands or learns things as compared to another.

The reason I bring this up is because I have felt that during our binge watching of Doctor Who, my girlfriend has been a bit more into it than myself. I never understood why. We usually enjoy the fact that we have very similar taste and both love good, unique story telling that requires effort and thought to connect with. So it bothered me a little, like an itch I couldn’t get to.

However, with the last couple episodes, so much has come full circle. The mythology and who the Doctor is and represents somehow became more tangible. It’s easier to understand why this story is even being told. I like that. It’s not cheesy (though sometimes the aliens and sets are, at least until the last few seasons) and he is not just some silly, eccentric guy that happens upon situations that he fixes. He isn’t just some bleeding heart. I think an extra dimension has been added to him.. there’s pain, depression and suffering that he has endured.. he is the embodification of time. Everlasting. The Doctor, like time, is fortunate enough to see every beautiful things before it vanishes (I think that’s why I enjoy this show and enjoy traveling).. however, as you probably have assumed, he get’s to watch every beautiful thing die. He sees each time evil has one.. has sacrificed himself and other lives to save everyone else. That’s a lot of weight.

Through it all, with the last two episodes in mind, you see the oncoming storm that he sometimes calls himself. Those eyes of the next Doctor (Peter Capaldi) that we saw for a split second in the 50th anniversary episode.. was probably the best part of the whole episode. It made me less sad about the soon-to-be .. (spoilers).. fall of the Eleventh (but ah-ha, he is not the Eleventh! It made me almost excited for that event. Each doctor regeneration brings out some new aspect of himself. He remains the same being, same soul, yet.. different.

I feel as if it may be a mistake watching “Th Thick of It”.. This is the show Peter Capaldi is famous for. It makes me hope that he brings some of that rage into his performance. I say it’s a mistake because I find myself looking forward to it.. almost fast-forwarding into the upcoming season with my brain as the author. However, it will not be as I imagine it. I hope he remains essentially the same.. but I also hope that with this new information and the revelation of the Doctor’s secret in hand, that he becomes the impending darkness or oncoming storm. I am excited to see the new doctor.

Anyhow.. all of the above musings and ramblings have nothing to do with why I am posting this. I just found a cool video on accident on the same day in which I realized I love Doctor Who. The video also happens to have one of the most famous scientists explaining the science behind Doctor Who. If you do not know who Dr. Brian Cox is then look up his talks on the Large Hadron Collider as well as his TEDTalk on why space exploration is important. Interesting stuff.

Finding this wonderful video just happened to give me a diving board to propel my newfound increase in adoration from this show into an opportunity to write and think out how wonderful it feels to have a new show to obsess over.

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Comet ISON survives..?

o-NASA-570

The obituaries may have been premature. While the satellite SOHO saw nothing reemerge where ISON was supposed to burst like a phoenix, other observations have picked up a single point of light moving away from the Sun.

Link to the http://www.space.com article: http://www.space.com/23780-comet-ison-survival-sun-roasting.html

Suddenly all previous predictions and assumptions are thrown out the window. We are truly watching a unique event that has had millions of years in the making. Pristine, untainted outer remnants of our solar systems creation venturing dangerously close to the Sun is similar to a bee pollenating planets.. bringing the things vital for the creation of planets and life. We still have novice information on how all this works.. so what happened? What WILL happen?

It could still be basically dead – stripped down to a rocky core that will barely emit light. It could have had a lot of ice, along with the tail it had, blown away.. hence, it could be going through a rebirth.

Only time will tell. I am so glad to be alive at a time where we have the ability to view this (and understand it).

I just want to take pictures. That’s all.. but has ISON been reborn? Or is it a zombie comet?

All 13!

All 13!

I’m really excited about Dr. Who, mainly just because of this split second cameo from the 12th.. er 13th.. 14th?.. Doctor. Mainly ‘cos of the intense scowl. It could be because of the drama happening during the time in which Peter Capaldi is finally shown, or it could represent what kind of Doctor this will be.

Either way, woot. =)

RIP Comet Ison..

image

After dipping into the Sun’s atmosphere, the comet slowly faded from a raging ball of ice and rock down to a small point of light.. then disappeared to never re-emerge. I had hoped its tail would survive and be visible, but the combination of new solar storms/mass ejections along with the fact that it evaporated very early on during its close pass to the Sun has left its tail unprotected from solar wind and obscured by its strong glare. Sigh..

That hurt my heart.

Comet ISON: Staying Alive

Comet ISON: Staying Alive

It’s about 2 hours to perihelion (the point in ISON’s orbit where it comes closest to the Sun), and Comet ISON is still hanging in there and brightening dramatically. It is currently lost in the glare of our parent star for ground based telescopes, yet a few satellites are keeping their cameras locked on the comet.

From what I know, it’s reaching breakneck speeds of nearly 650 miles per second. It has also been dodging coronal mass ejections (when the Sun goes BOOM) in the last couple days, one of which blew the tail off the less famous, yet very well known Comet Encke. However, it recovered and quickly grew a new tail.

There is a somewhat bright outlook for ISON, though it is still possible that it could break apart (which would still put on a night sky show) or vaporize (boo). It will cover nearly 4 million miles in the next couple hours before it dives nearly 700,000 miles from the boiling Sun.

I have been awaiting this for a year. It has all the good hallmarks of a drama.. prediction ranging from being brighter than the full moon to evaporating weeks before it even reaches the Sun.

I will leave this on a good note, though. Comet Lovejoy (from 2011) was also a sungrazing comet and it survived to put on an amazing show with an amazingly long tail for southern hemisphere viewers. Lovejoy was only a couple hundred meters wide while ISON is a few times larger. Here’s to hoping ISON pops out from behind the Sun to give us an amazing Thanksgiving treat!

ISON

ISON’s location for November 27th (too close to the sun to get a good look). It has sprinted from Virgo towards the sun for it’s Thanksgiving rendezvous.

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On December 1st, if all goes well, it should be at a +1 magnitude at least and getting high enough to see it right after sunset and right before sunrise. It will continue to rise each day for better viewing, but may immediately begin to dim.. or flare up. Who knows?

Good luck!