Posts tagged: Galileo

[Faith's blog] If you only see one petrified middle finger in your life…

To be honest, I’ve never really understood why people go to crazy lengths to get the autographs of celebrities. It’s just their name in squiggly, illegible handwriting, after all – not worth hours waiting in line, if you ask me. But you know what would be an exciting way to interact with famous people, especially those long since deceased? Go check out their petrified middle finger! Ok, maybe that isn’t the most widely available option, but you Galileo fans out there are in luck. Make your way to Florence, Italy, and you will find nothing short of a Galileo Disneyland, including his tomb, an entire museum devoted to him and, you guessed it, his middle finger!

Galileo's Finger
Galileo’s middle finger preserved and on display
Photo Credit: Instituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

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[podcast] Making Data Beautiful

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To kick off our special summer series about data, we interviewed 2006 Nobel Laureate John Mather about the importance of imagery in communicating science and sharing data with the public.  More than just “pretty pictures,” data can be used to tell a story and explain the mysteries of the cosmos.  Not every piece of data would be considered a work of art, but the information contained is at the very heart of NASA science.  

Working with COBE and the James Webb Space Telescope, Dr. Mather is no stranger to the power of data and the importance of scientific imagery.  We got the scoop on how data is used in communication and why every bit of data is beautiful in its own way.  

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[podcast] A Tale of Three Telescopes

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The telescope on everyone’s mind during this month’s Space Shuttle flight was certainly the Hubble Space Telescope, as astronauts inspected, repaired, and upgraded the satellite for years of additional scientific observations.  But two additional telescopes were aboard Atlantis for this historic flight – a museum-quality replica of one of Galileo’s telescopes, and a 200-year-old telescope built by master craftsman Jesse Ramsden.

To give you the scoop about these telescopes, we interviewed Marvin Bolt of the Adler Planetarium.  Hubble may be NASA’s best-known telescope, but it wouldn’t be here without 400 years of innovation.

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[Sara's blog] Gearing Up for 100 Hours

If you look at a calendar, it seems like every day is a holiday somewhere in the world. Today is Flag Day in Aruba. It’s also celebrated as the Pillsbury Doughboy’s birthday. And tomorrow is National Chocolate Caramel Day… I’m not kidding. It also seems like every year is the “year of” something. Some of these have cultural or mythological significance. Others are decreed by national or international governments. 2009 has been chosen as the International Year of Astronomy by the International Astronomical Union and endorsed by the United Nations. So it’s official, but what does it mean? Why should we care?

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[podcast] 400 Years, 100 Hours

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2009 has been chosen as the International Year of Astronomy because it marks the 400th anniversary of a big event in astronomical history – the first recorded observations of the night sky with a telescope. Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope at the Moon, the stars, and Jupiter, and changed our perceptions of the Universe forever. In celebration, there will be a variety of special events throughout 2009. The first big global event will be the 100 Hours of Astronomy, held April 2-5, 2009.

In honor of this special year, we decided to interview Galileo himself about what he did and why it was important to astronomy. We hope you’ll look into 100 Hours of Astronomy events in your own area, and perhaps take a look through a telescope yourself.

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