These pages chronicle the work and ruminations of Carolyn Collins Petersen, also known as TheSpacewriter.
I am CEO of Loch Ness Productions. I am also a producer for Astrocast.TV, an online magazine about astronomy and space science.
For the past few years, I've also been a voice actor, appearing in a variety of productions. You can see and hear samples of my work by clicking on the "Voice-Overs, Videos and 'Casts tab.
My blog, TheSpacewriter's Ramblings, is about astronomy, space science, and other sciences.
Ideas and opinions expressed here do not represent those of my employer or of any other organization to which I am affiliated. They're mine.
Visit my main site at: TheSpacewriter.com.
**I encourage comments and discussion; please keep it polite and respectful. I do moderate them to weed out spam, but I also refuse to post any messages that contain harassing, demeaning, rude, or profane language. I run a respectable establishment here.
Contact me for writing and voice-over projects at: cc(dot)petersen(at)gmail(dot)com
I Twitter as Spacewriter
Blog entry posting times are U.S. Mountain Time (GMT-6:00) All postings Copyright 2003-2011 C.C. Petersen
Spacewriter’s Recent Posts
- Writing about Astronomy
- The End of the Kepler Mission?
- Using the Sky
- A Little Solar Activity
- All Hail Albertus Alauda
- Hubble Spots Comet ISON
- The Once and Future Universe
- ► 2013 (34)
- ► 2012 (78)
- ► 2011 (107)
- ► 2010 (95)
- ► 2009 (225)
- ► 2008 (291)
- ► 2007 (114)
- ► 2006 (72)
- ► 2005 (56)
- ► 2004 (96)
- ► 2003 (74)
- ► 2002 (21)
|« Jan||Apr »|
Like space music?
Check out my favorite
space music artist:
- 21st Century Waves - Technology Booms and Human Expansion Into the Cosmos
- About.Com Space/Astronomy
- Adot’s NotBlog
- Astronomy Blog
- Astronomy Cast
- BLooloop: CCP
- Captain Disillusion
- ChandraBlog - Chandra X-ray Telescope
- Cosmic Log
- Cosmic Mirror
- Cosmic Variance
- Discovery Space
- DP’s Astronomy Blog
- European Southern Observatory
- Friends of the Griffith Observatory
- Gemini Observatory
- Griffith Observatory
- Hairy Museum of Natural History
- Hubble Space Telescope
- Kids Directory
- Loch Ness Productions - Cosmic content
- Loch Ness Productions on Facebook - the world’s foremost fulldome video producer for planetarium shows
- Mike Brown’s Planets
- MIT/Haystack Observatory
- MWA Vodcast
- NASA Climate Change
- National Public Radio
- Observing the Sky
- One Astronomer’s Noise
- Prince of Pithy
- Science Made Cool
- Significant Snail
- Solar System Watch
- Space Times News
- Space Weather FX Vodcasts
- Star Stryder
- Stop Unethical Recission
- String Theory
- The Daily Galaxy
- The Mathroom (possibly NSFW)
- The Meridiani Journal
- The Planetary Society Blog
- The Way Things Break
- Understanding Science
- Universe Today
March 27, 2003 at 11:43 am | Leave a Comment
I was up early this morning (about 5:30 a.m.) and while I was making some tea, I glanced out the window and saw a lovely waning crescent Moon. It was somewhat low in the southeast sky and just glowed like a fractured jewel.
Have you ever noticed the Moon during the day? Most people think of the Moon only gracing the evening sky. Oftentimes movies or book illustrations show either a Full Moon or some variation of crescent Moon against a starry or dark backdrop. But, during a part of its monthly cycle, the Moon is visible during the day. If you don’t believe me, start looking for the Moon each night or day and make a note of where and when you see it in the sky. Do this for a couple of months and you’ll see a pattern to its appearances.
When I was in high school the Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon. Of course we couldn’t see the action from our backyards, but many of us did gather around the television and watch as those first steps were taken onto the lunar surface. In these days of instantaneous coverage of distant events, this doesn’t seem very spectacular. But back then, it was pretty amazing technology. We all grew up thinking we’d be living on the Moon in our adulthood. Although that hasn’t happened yet, we can still gaze at the Moon and wonder about what it would be like to live there. Science fiction readers already know: we’d be living underground in carefully constructed and protected air-tight cities. Oh, we might have a few observation screens to look out on the surface, but the safer way to exist on the Moon is underground.
A few entries back I mentioned Hermann Oberth, the great German rocket scientist, and his idea for an orbiting space telescope. He also came up with an idea to put observatories on the Moon — away from Earth’s atmosphere and in near-perfect vacuum. That idea hasn’t exactly died out, and I have no doubt that someday astronomers will live and work on the Moon. Or, if that idea doesn’t suit an observer, he or she will be able to simply “log in” to the lunar observatory for their given observing run from the comfort of an Earth-based location. That’s how a lot of them do it now — using HST or an observatory halfway around the world (or around the block) but watching the action from outside the observatory.
Still, there’s some romantic adventure in going off to do your observing in some distant land, so I imagine there will be folks who will want to go to the Moon for their work. Now all we have to do is get back there!
March 24, 2003 at 11:00 am | Leave a Comment
While war rages in Iraq under a campaign of “shock” and “awe” the universe has handed us its own version with the death of a massive star and the formation of a spinning black hole in its place. The nature of the birth announcement was a tremendous explosion of energy called a gamma ray burst. This picture is merely the first “frame” of the event — showing what the star might have looked like as its first death cry echoed out across the light years.
Astronomers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, and NASA released details of the huge gamma ray burst that they witnessed using the High-Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) satellite. The burst took place on October 4, 2002, at 8:06 AM EDT.
This is shock and awe on a scale grander than anything we can possibly imagine, and if it is what scientists think, then the gamma ray burst was the birth cry of a black hole. According to Dr. Derek Fox of the California Institute of Technology, “then HETE has just allowed us into the delivery room.”
Gamma ray bursts shine hundreds of times brighter than a supernova, or as bright as a million trillion suns. The mysterious bursts are common, yet random and fleeting. The gamma ray portion of a burst typically lasts from a few milliseconds to 100 seconds. An afterglow, caused by shock waves from the explosion sweeping up matter and ramming this into the region around the burst, can linger for days or weeks in lower-energy forms of light, such as X-rays or visible light.
This gamma ray burst has been dubbed GRB021004 and was quickly observed not only by HETE but by the Automated Response Telescope (ART) in Wako, Japan, observing the region just 193 seconds after the burst.
Dr. Fox pinpointed the afterglow from images captured by a telescope on Mt. Palomar, near San Diego and alerted other observatories. Ultimately more than 50 telescopes around the world zoomed in on the dying afterglow of this tremendous explosion.
Gamma ray bursts have been under intense study for years because of their powerful, but mysterious nature. This latest burst, caught from the beginning is bringing scientists much closer to understanding what they are and what causes them. Stay tuned!
Portions of this note were taken from a press release. It can be found here.
March 17, 2003 at 18:10 pm | Leave a Comment
Not so very long ago, this orbiting observatory was a twinkle in a science fiction writer’s eye. In the 1920s, German rocket scientist Hermann Oberth wrote a book called Die Rakete zu den Planetraümen, in which he described a telescope attached to a station in geosynchronous orbit. While the Hubble Space Telescope isn’t in geosynchronous orbit, it certainly fits Oberth’s dream of off-planet astronomy observing.
I first found out about this book when I was interviewing another scientist — the late Lyman Spitzer of Princeton University. Dr. Spitzer was also a science fiction fan, and in the course of several pleasant conversations with him, we both shared our favorite book titles. My love for science fiction (which, along with my dad’s habit of taking me out to the see the stars), kindled my interest in astronomy and space science. In high school I read things like Clarke’s Childhood’s End and many of Robert A. Heinlein’s juveniles as if they were treasures. Today I have hundreds of back issues of science fiction magazines in my library and a fair collection of SF books. Periodically I take some old favorite down from the shelf, cuddle up on the sofa, and lose myself in some distant planetary system, exploring with beings that only a writer could imagine.
Yet, there’s a reality that springs from science fiction that we cannot deny. Many of today’s missions — from orbiting shuttle and space station endeavors to flybys of distant planets — once existed as ideas in the realm of science fiction. It took humans a few decades to catch up to some of the SF dreams outlined in this body of literature, but there is much more to accomplish. I would love it if science fiction were a sort of self-fulfilling blueprint for the future of the human race, although I realize that many SF dreams will never come true. But, that body of literature sits there — beckoning us to our future. If we’re on our toes, it’ll keep us moving ever onward and outward.
Older entries »
This blog a wholly pwnd subsidiary of Carolyn Collins Petersen, a.k.a. TheSpacewriter.
Copyright 2013, Carolyn Collins Petersen
Image of Horsehead Nebula: T.A.Rector (NOAO/AURA/NSF) and Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA/NASA)
“It is by Coffee alone I set my day in motion. It is by the juice of bean that coffee acquires depth, the tongue acquires taste, the taste awakens the body. It is by Coffee alone I set my day in motion.”
Spam prevention powered by Akismet