National Museum of the Air Force

12 09 2012

Boeing P26A, National Museum of the Air Force, Dayton, Ohio. Photo credit: JR

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I just moved from Indiana to New Jersey for work. On the way east, we stopped at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. I have lots to say about it and no time to say it (did I mention I just started a new job?), but I finally managed to post a few passable photos out of the collection for your enjoyment. I thought the Museum of Flight was a challenge to photograph, but the Dayton museum made taking photos in Seattle look like a cake walk. I promise promise I will come back and talk about curatorial narratives, the arrival of the Space Shuttle trainer, and much more as soon as I get these article revisions out the door.

Wallpaper Wednesday

12 09 2012

Helmos Observatory, Peloponnesus, Greece. Photo credit: Harry Katzjaeger

Today’s wallpaper is apropos of nothing in my life right now. Rather, it’s a beautiful image of the night sky above Helmos Observatory, home to the 2.3 meter telescope ARISTARCHOS. Helmos might be placed in one of the most beautiful parts of the world (if you don’t believe me, check out the observatory’s image gallery).

Click on the image to go to the appropriate National Geographic wallpaper download page.

Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory

5 09 2012

The public viewing schedule through February 2013 at the Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory at Rutgers is available online. I’ll be making my first night visit on September 12 (weather permitting), so look for a post about the history of the observatory and its instruments in the next couple of weeks.

Wallpaper Wednesday

5 09 2012

Dawn Orbiting Over Vesta. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Today NASA announced that Dawn has escaped the asteroid Vesta’s gravitational pull. The spacecraft is now “officially” on its way to Ceres, the first dwarf planet detected by humans. Stop by the mission website to watch Dawn’s Greatest Hits, a splashy video highlighting the research accomplishments at Vesta, the most interesting of which were a series of discoveries that led to the conclusion that Vesta resembled a minor planet more than an asteroid. Dawn’s work at Ceres will be exciting: what started out as a comparison between an asteroid and a dwarf planet has turned into a comparison between two different types of small planets. Check out When is an Asteroid not an Asteroid? for more on that story.

Dawn’s Greatest Hits:


Farewell Portrait of Giant Asteroid Vesta:


Click on the image at the top of the post to download the wallpaper.

Observatories and Instruments