Do you ever wonder how many pictures there are with you in the background? Like, the ones taken at crowded bars during other people's birthdays; or when you stroll through someone else's shot at a tourist attraction; or when you get good seats at a game? You're probably in the background of thousands upon thousands of photographs—and you're probably making a stupid face in every single one of them. On top of this, your picture also is being taken daily in ways you may not be aware of: from 400 miles above, by the satellites used to observe the earth. Lucky for your face, you're too small to appear, given [...]
"The burst was so bright when it first erupted that our data-analysis software shut down. So many photons were bombarding the detector each second that it just couldn't count them quickly enough. It was like trying to use a rain gauge and a bucket to measure the flow rate of a tsunami … When I first saw the strange data from this burst, I knew that I had discovered something extraordinary. It was an indescribable feeling when I realized, at that moment, that I was the only person in the whole universe who knew that this extraordinary event had occurred." -Phil Evans, a postdoctoral research assistant at the [...]
"A redundant satellite is falling back to Earth and experts have no idea where it will come down. Scientists are no longer able to communicate with the German satellite ROSAT, which orbits the earth every 90 minutes, and estimate there is a one in 2,000 chance it will hit someone." Scientists expect the satellite will hit at some point between Friday and Tuesday, so, uh, be careful out there.
Tomorrow, the watch begins for incoming 13,000-pound satellite UARS. Who would have thought the future would be so much fun? A world-wide alert for plunging space trash! Oh right, almost every science fiction author. "If you do come across what you suspect is a satellite piece, NASA doesn't want you to pick it up. The space agency says there are no toxic chemicals present, but there could be sharp edges." Yeah, NASA doesn't want you to SUE THEM for cutting your finger on their pointy space trash (after it lands on your house). In other news, UARS has done a lot of science up there in the last twenty [...]