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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Astronomy Video Lectures

Hey guys! This month I have a collection of cosmology video lectures and astronomy video lectures.

They include: Precision Cosmology. The Elegant Universe. Einstein's Cosmic Speed Limit. Tour of the International Space Station. From Earth to Mars. Measuring Milky Way Galaxy. Documentary and lecture of Apollo 40th Anniversary. A Trip to the Moon. The Lessons of US-Russian Cooperation in Space. Launch of Atlantis. NASA's Terra Satellite. LCROSS Lunar Impact with the Moon. NASA's Meet a Hubble Engineer. Bonus: NASA's Sun Song.


Precision Cosmology


Lecture description:
In his "little ride" from Earth into the far reaches of space and time, Max Tegmark demonstrates the success of new technologies such as orbiting space telescopes and super computer number crunching that enable scientists to test their theories of the universe. Tegmark remarks, "30 years ago, cosmology was largely viewed as somewhere out there between philosophy and metaphysics. You could speculate over a bunch of beers about what happened, and then you could go home, because there wasn't a whole lot else to do." But "now we're so spoiled, with a few clicks of the mouse, we can zoom out 'til the whole galaxy is just a little dot, and other dots are not stars but other galaxies."

Tegmark illustrates not just our planet's place in space, but the layout of the entire known cosmos as well, relying in particular on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and NASA satellite maps, which help animate 3D renderings of the universe over time. Scientists are closing in on a "consistent picture of how the universe evolved from the earliest moment to the present," expanding, cooling and clumping over its 14-billion-year history. Tegmark pays tribute to MIT colleague Alan Guth, whose inflation theory predicts not just a really big universe, but an infinite one, with parallel universes. As fantastic a concept as this appears, Tegmark says, "I feel inflation is testable." Scientists can increasingly take the measure of a vast cosmos, with real numbers.



The Elegant Universe


Movie topics:
Einstein's Dream: A Theory of Everything. Newton's Embarrassing Secret. A New Picture of Gravity. A Strange New World. The Quantum Cafe. Gravity - The Odd Man Out. Strings to the Rescue. Science of Philosophy?

String's the Thing: Two Conflicting Sets of Laws. One Master Equation. The Birth of String Theory. The Standard Model. Wrestling with String Theory. The Theory of Everything. Multiple Dimensions. Five Flavors of String Theory.

Welcome to the 11th Dimension: The Wold West of Physics. The Potential of Strings. Getting to One Theory. Parallel Universes. Escaping Gravity. Riddle of the Big Bang. Signs of Strings. Too Elegant to be Wrong?



Einstein's Cosmic Speed Limit


Video description:
In its first year of operations, NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has mapped the entire sky with unprecedented resolution and sensitivity in gamma-rays, the highest-energy form of light. On May 10, 2009 a pair of gamma-ray photons reached Fermi only 900 milliseconds apart after traveling for 7 billion years. Fermi's measurement gives us rare experimental evidence that space-time is smooth as Einstein predicted, and has shut the door on several approaches to gravity where space-time is foamy enough to interfere strongly with light.


Tour of the International Space Station


Video description:
NASA Engineer Michael Barratt provides a 20-minute tour of the International Space Station, documenting the full 167 feet of the space station's pressurized modules. Barratts commentary describes to Mission Control in Houston how equipment and supplies are arranged and stored, and provides engineers with a detailed assessment of each module-to-module hatchway.


A New Age of Exploration: From Earth to Mars


Lecture description:
Studies of astronauts in flight, training on Earth, and on long engagements at the International Space Station, reveal "significant physiological deconditioning," Newman says. Microgravity produces musculo-skeletal loss, especially in the vertebrae and leg bones, as bipeds become "more like snakes, using a swimming type of motion." Muscles also atrophy from 20-30%. It's possible some of this loss could be restored once on the moon (where people are 1/6th their weight), or on Mars (3/8th their Earth weight). But Newman wants to do something about these conditions before humans reach these destinations.

She's working on such countermeasures as unique spaceflight exercises, special drugs, human augmentation, next-generation spacesuits, and creating artificial gravity. She shows a nifty, pedal-powered artificial gravity device on which an astronaut spins, to combat deleterious physiological effects. Newman says it takes the brain around 30 days to adapt to zero gravity, and to switch back to Earth gravity. Our astronauts don't get the hang of being home right away. Says Newman, "The funny thing is when a crew comes back, and they let go of their toothbrush and it just falls down."



Measuring Milky Way Galaxy


Lecture description:
Dr. Mark J. Reid, Senior Radio Astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has been involved in research that has recently determined that the Milky Way is actually much bigger than previously thought.



Documentary on Apollo 40th Anniversary


Lecture on 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11



A Trip to the Moon


Lecture description:
There are just 12 people who have walked on the moon. Harrison Schmitt was one of them. He was the only geologist in the astronaut corps and in March 1970 and became the first of the scientist-astronauts to receive a crew assignment as backup crew for Apollo 15. During the Apollo 17 flight, Schmitt probably took a photograph of the Earth called The Blue Marble, one of the most widely distributed photographic images in existence. After the completion of Apollo 17, Schmitt played an active role in documenting the Apollo geologic results and also took on the task of organizing NASA's Energy Program Office. In August 1975, Schmitt resigned from NASA to seek election as a Republican to the United States Senate representing New Mexico. He served one term and, notably, was the ranking Republican member of the Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee.

In this lecture Schmitt shares his own experiences of "a trip to the moon" and weaves in with this engaging and personal account a discussion of some of the policy challenges facing space exploration, now and into the future. He looks back at his own personal explorations in space and describes what it feelslike to be in space. As he puts it: "Being there is the essential human ingredient." The talk is followed by questions from the audience.



The Lessons of US-Russian Cooperation in Space


Lecture description:
Yevgeny Zvedre looks at the history of cooperation in space between USA and Russia (and the Soviet Union before that). He then discusses the potential and trajectories for such cooperation into the future. Mr. Zvedre stresses that even though the space race beween USA and the USSR is legendary, there is also much cooperation in this arena and that we are very likely to see far more cooperation in the future.



NASA's Terra Satellite


Video description:
The Earth-observing satellite Terra celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2009. This video highlights how Terra has helped us better understand our home planet. It carries five instruments: aster, ceres, misr, modi, mopitt. Aster is "Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer". Ceres is "Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System". Misr is "Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer". Modis is "Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer" and Mopitt is "Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere". They collect together 72 types of measurements.



Launch of Atlantis


Video description:
Onboard cameras capture the amazing journey of Atlantis into space, and the dramatic return of the solid rocket boosters. Liftoff!


NASA Selects a Target Crater for Lunar Impact of LCROSS Spacecraft


Video description:
NASA has selected the crater Cabeus, near the moons South Pole, as the spot where it will search for water on the moon. The crater is the optimal target for the impacts of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and its spent Centaur rocket, in the early morning hours of October 9, 2009.



LCROSS Lunar Impact


Video description:
NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, created twin impacts on the moon's surface early Friday in a search for water ice. Scientists will analyze data from the spacecraft's instruments to assess whether water ice is present.

The satellite traveled 5.6 million miles during an historic 113-day mission that ended in the Cabeus crater, a permanently shadowed region near the moon's south pole. The spacecraft was launched June 18 as a companion mission to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


"The LCROSS science instruments worked exceedingly well and returned a wealth of data that will greatly improve our understanding of our closest celestial neighbor," said Anthony Colaprete, LCROSS principal investigator and project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "The team is excited to dive into data."


NASA: Meet a Hubble Engineer: Jackie Townsend


Video description:
Jackie Townsend is instrument manager for Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). She talks about her job as an engineer. How she has to deliver required fixes or new technology on time and not exceeding budget. Then she tells how she needs a group of electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and optical engineers to accomplish her job.



NASA: Meet a Hubble Engineer: Ben Reed


Video description:
Ben Reed is materials assurance engineer. Most of his job is failure analysis. For example, an instrument fails in the space and he has to understand why it happened. He also notes that English is very important for an engineer. An engineer must convey his message clearly.



NASA's Sun Song



Have fun with these video lectures! Until next month!


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