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Archive for January, 2007

Review: Photographic Moon Book

Friday, January 19th, 2007

While surfing the web, I came across a great resource for lunar observers and anyone else interested in our Moon. The book is “Photographic Moon Book” and was written and illustrated by Alan Chu. The book is a 225 page 100 megabyte PDF. Most amazing about this high quality reference book is that it is free. This particular edition of the book was just released this month so my coming across it just now was a happy coincidence.

The book is divided into several sections. About This Book provides the reader with a brief introduction to the book itself.

An Overview provides a general introduction to the Moon and to observing the Moon.

The Lunar Features & Events section consists of 33 MAP subsections that in addition to abundant observation details also contains selenographic information. Following the maps are four EVENT subsections that each discuss in detail libration, the lunar terminator, the crescent Moon, and eclipses and occultation.

The book then jumps to the Farside of the Moon making use of Apollo images, then pausing to cover lunar features named after Chinese persons.

Lunar Spacecraft provides a very brief overview of the unmanned and manned missions to the Moon. A map of the location of lander missions to the Moon, both manned and unmanned, is also provided.

The Methods of Imaging section is an introduction to photographing the Moon.The author provides information on a couple different techniques as well as camera related settings.

The book’s appendices consist of the following sections:

  • Data of Lunar Images provides photographic and observational information about the author’s lunar photos used in the book,
  • Data of the Moon provides a numerical summary of the Moon’s characteristics,
  • Glossary contains a number of useful definitions,
  • References provides a list of books and web sites for more information,
  • Crater List provides the name, longitude, latitude, and diameter for named craters,
  • Index that looks to be quite thorough.

Coming across this excellent lunar reference was really a treat and I give it two thumbs up. Thank you Alan Chu for creating this excellent reference guide to the Moon and making it available to the public for free.

Download Site for Photographic Moon Book

Ad Astra, Jim

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My astronomy web site Astronomical Adventures

Saturday, January 13th, 2007
Astronomy web site Astronomical Adventures

Finally. After years of ignoring my astronomy oriented web site Astronomical Adventures I finally spent some serious time on it performing a complete overhaul of the site. I replaced the ancient HTML tables design (created and not modified since 1999) with a CSS tableless layout conforming to the XHTML 1.0 Transitional standard.

In addition to the redesign, I added three new articles to the site. One article, The Milky Way Galaxy, is a very basic introduction to our Milky Way galaxy. I also wrote an article The Location of the Solar System in the Milky Way which illustrates and explains our location in the galaxy. The final article is a tutorial. The Drake Equation Tutorial explains the Drake Equation and its parameters. The Drake Equation is associated with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence in the galaxy. In addition to the tutorial I have for download both an OpenOffice Calc and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet version of the Drake Equation so that people can play with the equation for themselves.

I must confess that the driver for this undertaking were the preparations I undertook for my participation in the 2006 Windycon Science Fiction Convention. I wrote about my participation in that convention in the entry Windycon Science Fiction Convention Programming Schedule.

So pay a visit to Astronomical Adventures and let me know what you think.

Ad Astra, Jim

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Space Art – Space Video: Martians by ZIA

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Martians by ZIA

Who is that girl? Why it’s Elaine Walker of ZIA wearing her Martians video spacesuit. If only NASA had spacesuits that stylish.

Space art is more than just inspiring pictures of planets, spaceships, and astronauts exploring a new frontier. Space art is also music and music videos. The group ZIA has just released a video with a message. Titled Martians, the song and video promote the exploration of space, specifically Mars. Quoting the band’s founder Elaine Walker, ‘This video has a simple message, “Look! We could actually live here!”‘ I, for one, think that Elton John got it wrong when he sang that “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids.”

The Martians video was filmed on the location of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project on Devon Island in the Canadian arctic. Devon Island is considered to be one of the most Mars like locations on Earth. The island is also home to the Haughton impact crater, a feature of considerable interest to the project’s geologists. You can find out more about Devon Island at

Sit back and enjoy ZIAs Martians music video

Ad Astra, Jim

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