Warping it up!

Fini Alring's Glossy Tech Zine

Robotic Planet Hunting Telescope on Antarctica

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

“Antarctica claims some of the best astronomical sky conditions in the world — devoid of clouds with steady air that makes for clear viewing. The very best conditions unfortunately lie deep in the interior on a high-altitude plateau called Dome A. With an elevation of up to 4,093m, it’s known as the most unapproachable point in the earth’s southernmost region. Now astronomers in a Chinese scientific expedition have set up an experimental observatory at Dome A after lugging their equipment across Antarctica with the help of Australia and the US. The observatory will hunt for alien planets, while also measuring the observing conditions at the site to see if it is worth trying to build bigger observatories there. The observatory is automated, pointing its telescopes on its own while astronomers monitor its progress from other locations around the world via satellite link. PLATO is powered by a gas generator, and has a 4000-litre tank of jet fuel to keep it running through the winter. The observatory will search for planets around other stars using an array of four 14.5-centimetre telescopes called the Chinese Small Telescope Array (CSTAR). Astronomers hope to return in 2009 with new instruments, including the Antarctica Schmidt Telescopes (AST-3), a trio of telescopes with 0.5-metre mirrors, which will be more sensitive to planets than CSTAR.”

Martian Ice Lake Found

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

The HRSC on ESA’s Mars Express obtained this perspective view on 2 February 2005 during orbit 1343 with a ground resolution of approximately 15 metres per pixel.

It shows an unnamed impact crater located on Vastitas Borealis, a broad plain that covers much of Mars’s far northern latitudes, at approximately 70.5° North and 103° East.

The crater is 35 kilometres wide and has a maximum depth of approximately 2 kilometres beneath the crater rim. The circular patch of bright material located at the centre of the crater is residual water ice.

The colours are very close to natural, but the vertical relief is exaggerated three times. The view is looking east.

Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)

Source: ESA | Water ice in crater at Martian north pole

Harvesting and reusing idle compute cycles

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

Excerpt from source: More on the University of Texas grid project’s mission to integrate numerous, diverse resources into a comprehensive campus cyber-infrastructure for research and education. In this article, the authors examine the idea of harvesting unused cycles from compute resources to provide this aggregate power for compute-intensive work. They will also place this concept in context by offering an overview of a popular commercial software package designed to help achieve this task: the United Devices Grid MP platform.

Several early grid computing projects were focused on the idea of harvesting unused cycles from compute resources and providing this aggregated computing power for work that comprised lots of tasks — from hundreds to millions — that could be executed individually.

Today, there are several commercial and open source grid computing software packages that support this form of distributed computing on the desktop or other nondedicated computing resources. In this article, we will take a look at a popular commercial software package designed to help execute this function: the United Devices Grid MP platform.

Grid MP has several interesting and unique features, including:

* Support for heterogeneous desktops/nodes
* Nonintrusive client execution
* Tolerance to failures of desktop resources

We will provide an overview of the Grid MP features designed for harvesting idle cycles from nondedicated resources, and we’ll describe the types of applications that can effectively use the type of “desktop grid” we’re discussing.

Read the full article:
* Grid in action: Harvesting and reusing idle compute cycles

Also see:
* BOINC (SETI@Home, Einstein@Home, ClimatePrediction.net, LHC@Home, Predictor@Home, Cell Computing (JP))
* Team GiGA Productions Computing Group

New and Improved SETI

Monday, January 3rd, 2005

Slashdot reader nomrniceguy writes “The new year is sure to be memorable for SETI, as glossy new instruments come on-line. At Harvard University, a survey telescope designed to sweep massive swaths of the sky in a hunt for extraterrestrial laser flashes is becoming a reality. In Puerto Rico, the famed Arecibo telescope is getting a new feed that will speed up searches by seven times. And in California, the SETI Institute and Berkeley’s Radio Astronomy Lab will soon be scanning the star-clotted realms of the inner Milky Way with the first-stage implementation of the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) and will eventually boast 350 antennas, each 20 feet in diameter. This impressive antenna farm will be spread over about a half square-mile of terrain.”

Slashdot | New and Improved SETI

It’s the most interesting signal from SETI@home

Thursday, September 2nd, 2004

Finally our hard work gave some results, aliens have attempted to send us a message!!
It is most likely not an actual alien message, but it is the most interesting we have had yet, according to Dan Werthimer, a radio astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and the chief scientist for SETI@home.
(UPDATE: It is now confirmed that this was not as interesting as first reported, these things happen from time to time..)

Article: Mysterious signals from 1000 light years away?| New Scientist