Blog post by photographer Stephanie Chan. http://mosesmosesmoses.blogspot.ca/
Blog post by photographer Stephanie Chan. http://mosesmosesmoses.blogspot.ca/
Brand new Johnny Tomorrow story of cosmos will be presented at the BC Buds Festival at the Firehall Theatre.
Sat May. 11 3:30pm and 1015pm
Sun May. 12 3:30pm
New button merch will be available. If you don’t live in Vancouver and would like one, contact me and I’ll send one to you.
It is probably safe to say that without competition and rivalry stirring the human ego in its quest for dominance as a species on this planet, nothing would get done. Such was the case when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957 thus thrusting the Americans, who couldn’t be bested by the Communist regime that threatened their perceived way of life. If there was no Cold War would we have even gotten to the Moon? Would humanity have been content to sit on their front porch and admire the sun setting, and moon rising without ever venturing off towards them?
In 2010 I created Johnny Tomorrow for the Fringe Festival in the Planetarium. Initially a lot of my motivation for doing the show came from the same reasons. Perceived notions of competition with other artists, wanting to be on their level or better, but mostly the turmoil of an artist comes from within in trying to achieve a monumental task and the doubt of failure if you don’t get there. Creating a planetarium show from scratch was not an easy thing to do especially for one that has never done it before, but that’s exactly the scenario that newly formed NASA found themselves in when they were tasked with the goal of getting to the Moon before the Russians did. I guess that’s what they call healthy competition, but what happens when there is no competition? How do we motivate ourselves as a species to create a better world with exploration when there is no competition of dominance or some monetary justification? As I write this with the Mars Rover Curiosity just having spent one day on the Red Planet, it’s clear our task as a species is not to just seek out the burning questions of what else is out there in the universe, but to inspire the next generation so that they can be the ones to actually touch the surface of another world. We must restart the passion of exploration that has fueled our species since the beginning of time.
The Vancouver Planetarium is showing The Right Stuff this coming Friday at 8 pm.
Tom Wolfe’s book on the history of the U.S. Space program reads like a novel, and the film has that same fictional quality. It covers the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager to the Mercury 7 astronauts, showing that no one had a clue how to run a space program or how to select people to be in it. Thrilling, funny, charming and electrifying all at once.
Directed by: Philip KaufmannStarring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Veronica Cartwright
8 pmRuntime: 193minTickets: $10.75
I am a collection of molecules called Johnny Tomorrow, and I am a traveler of space and time.
Sometimes my mother would interrupt me playing with my action figures to tell me that Star Wars was on TV. Before we got a VHS machine an airing of Star Wars would have been the only time to view it, so you can imagine my excitement. I would rush out of my room in my Han Solo pajamas only to realize that it was Star Trek that was on. My mother always got them mixed up. Perhaps it was a generational thing. Star Trek debuted in 1966 at a time when space exploration was at the forefront of people’s minds. Really besides the fact that they are both set in outer space, Star Trek and Star Wars are two completely different franchises. When the Star Trek movies started to come out in the 80’s they paled in comparison to the Star Wars films which drew a line in the sand when it came to the Star Wars Generation in how they felt about Star Trek. The main problem with the movie franchise was that it was portraying characters that were in their prime back in the 60’s so it seemed immediately dated. It wouldn’t be until they smartly revived the franchise for a new generation to rekindle the flavour of the original TV show in its mission to seek out new life, new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before. Still though when translating the TV characters to the big screen, they never quite hit the mark. In 2009 J.J. Abrams released his reboot of the franchise in what would be the 11th to hit the big screen, and despite a string of unsuccessful attempts, this one worked. The core of the success is probably due to returning to the characters that everyone fell in love with back in the 60’s: Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest of the gang, but setting it on a timeline before the original franchise, telling us the story of their origins. The inclusion of Leonard Nimoy, playing the older Spock alongside the younger Spock, played by Zachary Quinto, reminded people of one of the greatest science fiction characters of all time.
On July 27th the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre will be presenting the Star Trek reboot inside the planetarium theatre with aid of Harold the Star Projector. The Zeiss-Jena-Mach 1 Universal Star Projector came to Vancouver in 1968 from Jena, East Germany weighing just over 2 tonnes. His two heads, four legs and 32 eyes lend to a very alien appearance, but just like Spock there is a human side to Harold. While the logical precision of Harold’s instruments shows the sky at any moment in time, there are humans that have given him colour, personality, and even emotion. David A. Rodger was the original planetarium director and narrator of many of the early shows. John Tanner presented the very first show in 1968, and still continues to navigate Vancouver audiences through the skies in 2012, and Bill Reiter has lent his talents to give Harold his “voice”.
I have had the pleasure of working with all of these talents in my travels of time and space and look forward to the meeting of Harold and Spock on Friday.
Auroras, viewed from the ISS.
The Supernova will be brightest on September the 9th, and it will take a good amateur telescope or 10x80 binoculars to see the 10th magnitude Supernova. The Pinwheel Galaxy is above the handle of the big dipper.
How to See a Supernova This Weekend From Your Backyard
Starting this weekend, the closest supernova found in at least 25 years will be visible from your backyard with just binoculars or a small telescope. The exploding white dwarf star is currently brightening in the Pinwheel Galaxy, nestled, from our perspective, within the Big Dipper.
Astronomers found the type Ia supernova Aug. 24 within hours, they believe, of its explosion. The team from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, credit the early detection to a specialized survey telescope at the Palomar Observatory in Southern California and advanced computing.
Most supernovas spotted at the Palomar Observatory are around 1 billion light-years away, far too distant to be seen by amateurs. At only 21 million light-years away, the newly discovered, violently exploding star is a close cosmic neighbor. In the video above Berkeley Lab’s Peter Nugent describes how to spot this supernova, set to reach peak brightness Sep. 9.
Video: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
A Hypernova in Betelgeuse?
Betelgeuse, one of the brightest stars in the sky, could burst into its supernova phase and become as bright as a full moon - and last for as long as a year. The massive star is visible in the winter sky over most of the world as a bright, reddish star, could explode as a supernova anytime within the next 100,000 years.
The red giant Betelgeuse, once so large it would reach out to Jupiter’s orbit if placed in our own solar system, has shrunk by 15 percent over the past decade in a half, although it’s just as bright as it’s ever been.
“To see this change is very striking,” said retired Berkeley physics professor Charles Townes, who won the 1964 Nobel Prize for inventing the laser. “We will be watching it carefully over the next few years to see if it will keep contracting or will go back up in size.” Betelgeuse, whose name derives from Arabic, is easily visible in the constellation Orion. It gave Michael Keaton’s character his name in the movie “Beetlejuice” and was the home system of Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Red giant stars are thought to have short, complicated and violent lifespans. Lasting at most a few million years, they quickly burn out their hydrogen fuel and then switch to helium, carbon and other elements in a series of partial collapses, refuelings and restarts.
Betelgeuse, which is thought to be reaching the end of its lifespan, may be experiencing one of those collapses as it switches from one element to another as nuclear-fusion fuel. “We do not know why the star is shrinking,” said Townes’ Berkeley colleague Edward Wishnow. “Considering all that we know about galaxies and the distant universe, there are still lots of things we don’t know about stars, including what happens as red giants near the ends of their lives.”
If Betelgeuse goes nova, it could offer Earth’s astronomers an up close look at how supernovae evolve and the physics that governs how they work. The problem is that it is not clear when that will happen. While stories have been circulating that the star could explode in 2012, the odds of that are actually quite small. Betelgeuse may explode tomorrow night, or it may not go nova until the year 100,000 A.D. It’s impossible to know.