Tuesday, September 21, 2010

making a mark

I've been wanting to do this for a long time now. Finally worked up the nerve to make it happen! I chose the seven brightest stars in the M45 star cluster, better known as the Pleiades. That's five of the "seven sisters" from Greek Mythology plus their parents. (From an apparent magnitude standpoint, the other two sisters were a little too puny to include.) My star, 20 Tauri, is at the top right of the central "box."

Update: My tattoo is now featured in the astronomy section of Science Ink, a marvelous collection of math and science tattoos from noted science writer Carl Zimmer!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

postcards from an alien world

Most of the time if you hear me gushing about planetary vistas, it's about Saturn, its rings, or its lovely moons. But let's not forget about Mars! This week, scientists working with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling our ruddy neighbor since 2006, released a series of exquisitely detailed and hauntingly moody images of the Martian surface. Wired offers an informative write-up with long captions for a few of them, but I'm posting my favorites here. I encourage you to browse through all 236 of the latest shots on the web portal for HiRISE, the camera system in charge of these amazing views. I'm telling you, each page is better than the next!