ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
Want to help find Planet 9? (No, it's not Pluto. Nor, alas, Yuggoth.)

According to several sources of space news -- like,, & EarthSky -- NASA and the University of California, Berkeley are looking for a few good citizen scientists to check through images from WISE, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. Apparently, there are still things the human eye does better than a computer program -- and noticing moving bright spots is one of them.

The project is called Backyard Worlds: Planet 9. To learn more, or join in the search, check here.

Good luck! I haven't joined yet, but I'm seriously considering it. After all, this is pretty much how Pluto got discovered by Clyde Tombaugh back in 1930.
ankh_hpl: (DEquinox)
no end
to new horizons
Tombaugh’s ashes

                                    -- Ann K. Schwader

ankh_hpl: (Ankh)
dark god dwarfed
by human hubris
alas, Pluto

                   -- Ann K. Schwader

ankh_hpl: (Ankh)
Winners & Honorable Mentions for the 2014 Peggy Willis Lyles Memorial Haiku Contest (judged by Jim Kacian) were posted today at The Heron's Nest.

I am shocked silly delighted to report that a spec/science haiku of mine received 3rd place.

The judge's comments on the three Prize Winners & three Honorable Mentions can be found here. If you're at all interested in haiku (writing &/or reading), he offers a lot of food for thought.

I know I'll be referring to this page in weeks to come, & not just to recapture my frabjous moment . . .
ankh_hpl: (Ankh)
The SETI poll to name Pluto's latest-discovered tiny moons is over . . . and "Vulcan" & "Cerberus" are the winners.

Thanks to a late name proposal by William Shatner -- & his efforts on Twitter -- Spock's homeworld may provide a name for P4 or P5.   It wasn't placed on the ballot for its Trekkish connections, however.  It's also the name of the Roman god of fire.

Read all about the voting -- and why this poll doesn't assure these names for Pluto's smallest moons -- here.  This article from also features images & video of Pluto, with all its moons discovered to date.

See all the voting stats here .  (Me? I'm a Trekker, but I was still going for "Persephone" & "Eurydice.")
ankh_hpl: (Default)
Would you want to be called P4 or P5?   (Yawn.)  Well, neither do Pluto's two latest & tiniest moons . .. and  their discovery team (plus the SETI Institute) is trying to help.  Go to Pluto Rocks to learn more.

Traditionally, names for Pluto's moons come from Greek and Roman myths, & concern Hades or other variants of the Underworld.  Come vote for your favorites from 13 candidates, or suggest others on the write-in form

Voting closes February 25th, & you can vote once per day.   ( I'm going to start now.)

Social media comes to the cosmos!

ankh_hpl: (Default)
Curious about Asteroid 2012 DA14

Or totally unaware of our forthcoming -- and very close -- visitation by a 150 ft. diameter rock?

Either way, NASA's got the FAQ to ease your mind while increasing its supply of geeky space information.  Check out all the details, complete with videos, here.

And, as ever, keep watching the skies -- though don't expect to see this one without binoculars, at least.

ankh_hpl: (Default)
So . .. this Friday will be your last opportunity to see a blue moon until 2015.  The last time we saw one (in the United States, anyhow) was December 2009. 

Are you psyched?  Are you ready?

Do you even know whether or not the blasted thing IS blue?

For the curious, the confused, or the incurably geeky, has a useful Surprising Science article here.  I learned a lot  from it, but the most fascinating bit of info (for me) was how this sort of moon got to be called blue in the first place.

A possibly helpful article for poets, haijin, & writers of werewolf fiction.

ankh_hpl: (Default)
Looking to get away from it all?  Really away from it all -- permanently? 

Then you'll certainly want to check out's The Top 5 Potentially Inhabitable Alien Planets list, here.

This might sound like SF, but it's all good current science -- from the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo’s Planetary Habitability Laboratory.  Each listing has its own page, with a handy artist's conception pic if you're thinking of doing some extrasolar house-hunting.

ankh_hpl: (TID)
The SF/F ezine Abyss & Apex has just put up a new issue, with poetry by:

Sandra Kasturi
Robert Borski
Wade German
Alexandra Seidel
Ann K. Schwader
Howard V. Hendrix
Lida Broadhurst

I'm quite happy -- in a dark little way -- with my poem, "B53 Elegy."   Why eulogize dead WMDs?  Read & find out . . .
ankh_hpl: (Default)
As if we all didn't have enough to worry about, reports that NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a space telescope, found about 4,700 PHAs during its recent asteroid census.

PHAs = Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.  Are you feeling any better yet?

Me neither.

Find all the rather alarming details (including videos, diagrams, & a quiz) here

ankh_hpl: (Default)
Curious about the so-called "supermoon" we'll be enjoying this Saturday?

Or completely unware that one is due?

Either way, check out this fascinating article to get all the details -- including why this biggest full moon of the year poses no danger to our planet.

(Yes, I know it's a letdown.  But there are still who knows how many asteroids out there, just waiting.) 

ankh_hpl: (Default)
Thank you, [ profile] science_at_nasa

How could I have gotten through my Friday without knowing the fate of Camilla the rubber chicken at the edge of space?

Check here for all the actual scientific details.  With video!

ankh_hpl: (TID)
I haven't posted any of these alerts for awhile, but found this on yesterday & thought I'd pass it along.   Sadly, it seems to be mostly for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

From tonight (or last night) until  March 15th, Venus & Jupiter will be approaching each other in the night sky just after sunset.  March 15th is the date of the actual conjunction -- possibly the best for several years -- which should be visible at mid-northern latitudes for about 4 hours after sunset..  Look toward the western horizon.

You can find all the details -- plus pix & video -- here.


ankh_hpl: (Default)
Did not realize until listening to our local NPR station this morning that the Kepler space telescope was being controlled by students at CU Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

I am not an alumna of CU, but the idea of the planet hunter extraordinaire being guided from a location about half an hour from my home gives me a geeky little thrill.

You can see the Star Trek-like control center & listen to the whole story here.

ankh_hpl: (Default)
It's bigger than Earth -- quite a bit bigger, in fact -- but NASA's favorite planet hunter may have located its first world inside the "habitable zone" of a distant star a lot like our own sun.

Read all the details from NASA's Science News here --  and check out helpful diagrams plus an artist's conception of Kepler-22b.

Or, as we might be calling it in the very distant stardrive future, home sweet second home.

ankh_hpl: (cover)
. . . or a reasonable facsimile.  Yes, at least one planet outside of the Star Wars universe really does orbit two suns -- and NASA's Kepler mission has found it, about two hundred light-years from Earth.

Thanks to [ profile] science_at_nasa, you can read all about this remarkably cool discovery here.

Or, there's a very interesting animation and other facts about Tatooine Kepler-16b here.

ankh_hpl: (Default)
. . . in a not terribly genre online journal, The Pedestal Magazine.  

Genre or no, I found C. John Graham's pantoum, "Noise," to be utterly fascinating in both construction & language.  If you enjoy poetry, space science, or both, do yourself a favor & check it out here.

Happy Friday!

ankh_hpl: (Default)
Our favorite -- or at least MY favorite--  planet-hunter, NASA's Kepler spacecraft, has found what may be the darkest planet ever: TrES-2b

Reflecting only one percent of the starlight which strikes it, this "hot Jupiter" of a world is a fascinating & as yet inexplicable place.  Read much more about it here, or here.

(And, if you're as fond of H.P. Lovecraft as I am, be glad that this particular mystery is a good 750 light years away.)

ankh_hpl: (Default)

Meant to post this yesterday, but as LJ still had its case of the Blue Meanies . ..

Over at the Innsmouth Free Press site, editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia has a fascinating brief article on the recent discovery of a fourth moon for dwarf planet Pluto, & the completely unsuitable names being suggested for it.  (We all know this is probably Yuggoth, right?)

In the process, she also discusses Lovecraft's classic sonnet series, Fungi From Yuggoth -- and, to my amazement and delight, also urges readers to check out another sonnet sequence with a stronger SF flavor.  In the Yaddith Time has been out for a few years, now, but I'm still thrilled when someone notices it.

There is also a link to my flash fiction "Scream Saver," in case anyone missed it during its appearance on Innsmouth Free Press

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