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Archive for the 'Science' Category

David Brin on why 2015 was the best year ever in space

Nautilus is an excellent online science resource I use for writing ideas and I recommend you take a look at it. Each month it publishes a series of articles around a common theme.

This month the theme is “space” and it has published an article titled 2015 Was the Best Year Ever in Space by SF writer David Brin giving his opinion on why last year was the best ever for space exploration. The article includes a few superb photos and videos.

While there are plenty of ideas for writing and about plans for the future, what really appealed to me is the sense of hope for the future the article conveys.

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October the First is Too Late

Today I find myself recalling that I enjoyed Sir Fred Hoyle’s novel, “October the First Is Too Late” – a classic, if flawed, story about time and the nature of reality. I had the hardback SF Book Club edition, obtained after I had read and enjoyed his novels “The Black Cloud”, “A for Andromeda” and “Andromeda Breakthrough”.

Nowhere near his best novel, the story is more a vehicle for some of his more controversial scientific views. In the preface, Hoyle says,

To the Reader:
The ‘science’ in this book is mostly scaffolding for the story, story-telling in the traditional sense. However, the discussions of the significance of time and of the meaning of consciousness are intended to be quite serious…
Fred Hoyle, 14 July 1965

Seems like an appropriate day to acknowledge a scientist and SF writer who had a significant influence on me as a teenager.

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Flying through the HD 100546 system

Another astronomy post turned up by my search for information on nebulae. This time, a great video simulation from the European Southern Observatory (whose website, incidentally, has a stunning colection of other videos and images).

ESO’s Very Large Telescope has obtained what is probably the first direct observation of a forming planet still embedded in a thick disc of gas and dust. (A proto-planetary dust cloud is not what I needed for my current story but this “fly-past” is just too good to pass on. It may be inspiration for someone writing a future deep space SF story!)

Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

The full ESO article on the planet is here.

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Thor’s Helmet nebula

I am currently rewrriting a short story set inside the Thor’s Helmet nebula, an emission nebula around 30 light-years across and some 15,000 light-years from the Solar System. While checking some technical details I discovered that a couple of days ago a stunning picture of the nebula was NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day”. Awe-inspiring!

As the above picture is copyright follow the link to view it. Below is a different view (released into the public domain by Roberto Mura):
800px-NGC_2359_in_CMa

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