Just For Fun

1308 F1 cover

Reaching for the Stars from the Lens of a Telescope

1308 F1 coverToday’s digital camera sensors have the benefit of acting like a bucket that collects photons (light) - the longer the exposure, the more light (color and detail) is captured and displayed in the photograph. Long exposures from these cameras can capture light far too faint for our unaided eyes to see. These long exposures require precise tracking of the sky. Stars are like pinpoints of light. Tracking errors quickly elongate stars in a photograph, and then they look oblong or like streaks. The equipment that is available today allows amateur astronomers the opportunity to take astrophotography images that rival the detail taken by professionals just a decade ago.


Lightning and Miss Liberty

One hundred million volts, more or less. That is the potential that is developed as roiling masses of air and water and ice molecules furiously swap electrons during a thunderstorm. Charge separation, caused by the friction in the air, related to the mechanism of static built up by rubbing balloon on cat, fills the atmosphere with pockets of ions–positive and negative. As the voltages build, the normally-insulating air molecules stress and disassociate and filaments of current crackle across the sky, releasing mega-joules of energy in each stroke. The supersonic expansion of the ionized air along the stroke path, boiled to a plasma, cracks in a sonic boom, rolling across the sky as thunder.

The Lost (almost) Technology of the Edison Cell

With the wild fluctuations in fuel prices over the last few years, world concern over global warming, and simply the idea of creating new and more sustainable technologies, immense interest and progress has developed recently in the world of battery development.

In fact, it seems that every day we hear of a new breakthrough, and another step closer to that long sought elusive goal of a truly workable battery storage system!