Monday, March 24, 2014

Check Out These Online Astronomy Classes and Contests

Check Out These Online Astronomy Classes and Contests

Sombrero Galaxy in infrared light Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope

Universe Today has posted a feature highlighting a number of online Astronomy courses and contests, most of which are photo-related. Check them out to learn more about the great, expansive universe all around our little blue planet.


(This story via Universe Today)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Large Abandoned Cruise Ship Still Missing in Atlantic; No Wonder MH370 Hasn't Been Found

The 1,400 ton cruise ship MV Lyubov Orlova has been lost in the Atlantic since February 2013. Despite large-scale searches by multiple countries, satellite providers, and salvage hunters, the 100m long ship has not been found. An article in the British press described it as populated by “disease-ridden cannibal rats”. This is conjecture based on old ships having rats and there being no other food sources on board.

MV Lyubov Orlowa Petermann Island

While the missing ship is not likely to kick off the zombie apocalypse, it does pose a potentially dangerous threat to shipping, coastal facilities, oil platforms, and the environment. The search is still on, but it is amazing that an object this large can be lost for so long. Giving that Malaysian flight MH370 is a fraction of this size that was lost in a larger area, it is little wonder there has been little progress in the search. The dimensions of both craft are large by human standards, but are extremely small in the context of the size of an ocean.

The Lyubov Orlova, was built in the former Yugoslavia and named after a famous Russian cinema star. It was originally used to ply the arctic and antarctic with wealthy Russian passengers. In 2010, it was seized in St. Johns, Newfoundland for unpaid port fees. Sold at auction for $275,000 in 2012, it was to be towed to the Dominican Republic to be scrapped. On the first day en route, the towline snapped. The ship was wrangled and eventually towed to international waters and set adrift where it was soon lost.

Many experts believe that the ship will never be found. With the ferocity of Atlantic storms, it could already be sitting on the bottom of the ocean. If not, then currents could have carried the ship north to the arctic or south towards Africa and Antarctica. We may never know the fate of the Lybov Orlova.