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Movie Gravity Reminded Me Of These Awesome ISS Pictures Taken From Earth

Movie “Gravity” released past week is one of the best space movie as far as I can remember aided by  superlative 3D special effects. If you havn’t watched the movie yet, it is highly recommended that you should visit your nearby 3D Theatre and enjoy the thrill of being in space via movie Gravity. I am not going to write a review of the movie in this post, but I just wanted to post few pictures of International Space Station (ISS) which has been featured in this movie. It is difficult to imagine that one can view ISS and shuttle from the ground with naked eye, but it is possible to see ISS as well as shuttle and in fact any satellite if timed appropriately.

 What you see above is the image of sun and the speckle you see are the images of solar transit of ISS and shuttle Atlantis after undocking from ISS and returning back to earth. This stunning image has been taken by photographer Thierry Legault during Sep 2006 in France. If we zoom in, we can see the ISS very clearly.

There is another image of ISS taken by Thierry Legault during 2009 where ISS image can be seen more clearly. These images are awesome considering that the distance between the observer and the object was about 550 km.

And ofcourse, as you saw in the movie, ISS is not the only space station, there is Chinese space station named Tiangong-1 which means “Heavenly Palace” in Chinese and was launched in 2011. Tiangong-1 is at the same orbital height as ISS. Thierry Legault imaged Tiangong just like ISS and can be seen below. Hopefully you enjoyed these pictures, thanks to Thierry Legault’s awesome photography!

Image credit: Thierry Legault | http://legault.perso.sfr.fr

Leave a Comment October 8, 2013

Keck In Motion


I have posted about Very Large Telescope (Chile) in past, this time posting a beautiful video showing Keck observatory in action. Keck observatory is located at the summit of dormant volcano in Hawaii and is used for probing our near and distant universe with great precision (nanometer precision level). The observatory hosts worlds largest optical and infrared telescopes; telescopes are about eight storeys high and weigh more than 300 tons while the diameters of their primary mirror are about 10 m! The telescope uses adaptive optics (AO) which changes it’s shape depending on changes in environmental conditions and thereby eliminates any kind of aberrations or distortions in images resulting from turbulence in earth’s atmosphere. For adaptive optics to work, a bright, nearby reference star is required but since bright stars are limited in the sky, astronomers at Keck have created their own little neighborhood star– by using a laser and exciting sodium atoms in upper atmosphere (90 km above the earth’s surface) resulting in  a bright artificial star which adaptive optics can use as their reference. In this cool video, you can see the Keck observatory in action. In the beginning of video, you see the hexagonal object, that’s the keck 2 telescope. Enjoy the video along with the cool music!

Leave a Comment February 18, 2012

R.I.P. Mr. Jobs


Rest in Peace Steve Jobs and thanks for bringing together innovation, design and aesthetics. There might have been other innovators who must have thought of laptops, tablets and phones without any keys and buttons, but you thought about it, designed it and brought those ideas to life.

Comicstrip credit: Abstrusegoose.com

Leave a Comment October 27, 2011

Mirror O Magic Mirror Tell Me What To Wear…


Magic mirror which you have read about in fairy tales is not far from becoming reality. Nieman Lab ( a collaborative effort between NY times and Nieman Journalism foundation at Harvard) has come with an interactive mirror which can deliver world news to you right in your bathroom while you are brushing your teeth , can help you in deciding your outfit, can scan your bar-coded medicines and tell you when you need to refill your prescription, can provide you coupons for off the shelf medicines…. The mirror uses Microsoft’s kinetic motion-sensing technology, voice sensing technology and Time’s APIs for dynamic updates. So what do you think of magic mirror, will you install one in your bathroom if it comes out in the market?

Leave a Comment September 4, 2011

Weekend Video: “Antikythera In Lego” and Water Sculpture

I have not been able to add new posts recently but I won’t be skipping posting some beautiful and interesting videos. They are fun to watch and it doesn’t take much time for me to post them. I will be busy in coming days, so you can expect more videos and picture posts instead of longish posts. For this edition of weekend videos there are two awesome ones. The first one is a video showing working replica of world’s oldest computer “Antikythera— all made using Lego. This precise replica was created by Apple software engineer Andrew Carol and the video above explains the working of Antikythera. Antikythera is an ancient 2000 year old mechanical computer which was used to precisely calculate astronomical positions. The precision of measurements is even comparable to 19th century Swiss clocks. The amazing machine was found from a ship-wreck  in 1900-1901. It took almost 20 years to clearly understand and appreciate this complex but precise machine. Equally amazing is Andrew Carol’s recreation of this amazing machine using just the legos!

The second video is just magical– beautiful sculptures and calligraphy created by using water and colors. Artist Shinichi Maruyama uses adhesive forces between water molecules to create beautiful sculptures which he calls Kusho or “writing in the sky.” Enjoy!

Leave a Comment January 31, 2011

What If Your Toothpaste Tastes Like Rain…

What if your toothpaste flavor or color could tell you whether its raining outside or snowing and  accordingly help you plan your day? I know, it sounds crazy, but researcher David Carr at MIT media lab has designed a prototype toothpaste “tastes like rain”  which can change the flavor depending on the outside temperature. In the current prototype, the toothpaste dispenser is connected to a computer which gathers weather forecast information and compares it to previous day’s conditions. Depending on the temperature comparison results, linear actuators are activated which squeeze out different flavors or colors. For example, if its mint flavor–> colder than yesterday; Cinnamon–> hotter; mixed flavor or different color stripe–> its going to rain. Whether you really need your toothpaste to be a weather forecaster or such a product will ever make to the market (probably not) that’s a different story, but it’s a creative idea indeed!

Leave a Comment January 7, 2011

Weekend Video: Facts About Projection


This weekend’s video edition is a short 3 minute documentary about a profession which might soon become extinct, the profession of 35mm film projectionist. I remember how I used to enjoy watching movies during my undergrad days at IIT Kanpur, India when Student Film Society used to screen movies during the weekend using 35 mm film projections. Later they replaced it with digital projectors and I quickly realized that I was missing the magic. I hope you enjoy this short created by Temujin Doran who himself is a projectionist. Keep up the good work! Have a nice weekend!!

Leave a Comment November 7, 2010

Picture of The Day: High Speed Photography

Any guesses what are these pictures about? Of course you can see some kind of liquid being splashed, but what is it and how were these pictures taken? These are images of bursting balloons filled with colored/plain water! These beautiful and amazing images were taken by photographer Edward Horsford who resides in London. In order to get the frozen images of bursting balloons he uses a high speed trigger, strobe, camera, balloon and  pin to prick the balloon. Timing of flash is important and therefore he designed the trigger himself which is sound activated; the trigger picks up the sound of the popping of the balloon which sets the flash on. For more details about his technique you can follow this article.

Picture credit: Edward Horsford

Leave a Comment October 16, 2010

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