Tagged: astronomy

Your cameras has 15 mega-pixels? Bah! Mine has 570 mega-pixels. - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Jan 18, 2010

Some engineers at Fermilab are having fun! [caption id="attachment_1126" align="alignright" width="350" caption="Prototype 570 Mp camera. Source: Symmetry magazine."][/caption] They're building a super-sized digital camera using CCDs (Charge Coupled Devices) that are particularly sensitive to near-infrared light to measure, among other things, redshifts of remote galaxies. The longer-term aim is to study the dark energy of … Read More

Dark Matter and statistics - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Jan 14, 2010

While I was on holiday, news broke (e.g. see the piece in The Guardian) about the possible detection of WIMPs.  Weakly Interacting Massive Particles are what many physicists think makes up 'dark matter'.  (What is dark matter? - basically, if you analyse the way galaxies move, you discover that the amount of matter you can 'see' with conventional techniques, … Read More

Climate change - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Dec 10, 2009

I feel that, as a physicist, I should be making some reasonable and informed comment on the Copenhagen summit. After all, climate is immensely physicsy. We have fluid flow, conduction, convection and radiation of heat, interaction of electromagnetic radiation with electrons in molecules, scattering of light by small particles, solar activity (on second thoughts, … Read More

The final frontier - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Nov 24, 2009

New Zealand is, hopefully, just a few days away from becoming a space-nation. The private company Rocket Lab  (what a great name - I like names that describe what a business actually does) aims to put up its Atea-1 rocket from Great Mercury Island sometime around November 30th. The payload will reach an altitude of 120 km before returning to … Read More

Gravitational Waves - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Oct 20, 2009

One of my undergraduate students has been researching gravitational waves this year. Last Friday, he gave a nice presentation on the subject.Gravitational waves are one of the many examples of waves in physics. We are perhaps more used to waves on the surface of water, or waves along a guitar string, or electromagnetic waves (such as radio waves and light), and, … Read More

Everything’s relative - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Oct 13, 2009

What does 'big' mean? How big does something have to be in order to reasonably carry that adjective? The answer, of course, is 'it depends'.For example, I am pretty tall. But after standing next to someone much taller than me on a tram last week, I realise that maybe I am not so tall after all. I got to see what it was … Read More

Who owns the moon? - Physics Stop

Marcus Wilson Oct 12, 2009

What gives NASA the right to hurl projectiles at 1.5 miles per second into the surface of the moon? Interesting, definitely. Useful, perhaps. Reasonable? I'm not so sure. Did this mission go through some kind of ethics approval?  … Read More