Benford Beacons

Is SETI doing it wrong? According to the Benford clan, probably. That is, if the aliens are cheapskates...

Based on the assumption that any technologically advanced civilizations out there who might be broadcasting would do so in the most efficient, effective and cheapest way possible, the Benfords (Gregory, James and Dominic) have posited that instead of sending out continuous narrow-band signals, aliens would instead send pulsed broadband transmissions (1-10 gigahertz) directed at specific locations in space.

If this is true (and it's certainly a reasonable idea), it would mean that SETI is on the wrong path with its current focus being on narrow-band transmissions.

The full story (along with related links) can be seen here.

Posted by The Author | at 4:17 PM | 0 comments

The Most Amazing Galactic Images Ever currently has a competition of sorts running, the slightly misleading name of which is the title of this post. Basically, readers view a series of astronomical pictures, rating each one as they go along.

If nothing else, it's at least worth a look, as some of the pictures really are quite "amazing".

Posted by The Author | at 11:58 AM | 0 comments

Speaking of the ISS...

Earlier this year, on May 29th, an amateur astronomer by the name of Anthony Ayiomamitis took this incredible shot of the International Space Station during daylight hours, using only a 6" telescope. And four days earlier, on May 25th, he captured another amazing shot, this time of the ISS transiting the sun!

As the capabilities of amateur astronomers become increasingly efficacious, the only thing separating our eyes from even more dazzling pictures is time.

Posted by The Author | at 1:21 PM | 0 comments

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's...the ISS!

It outshone everything else in the late evening sky. And it was moving...

It took mere seconds for me to recognize the object for what it was. I quickly ran inside the house to grab my girlfriend, who had never laid eyes on an orbiting satellite or spacecraft before. When I finally got her outside, the International Space Station (ISS) was almost directly overhead, moving towards the NE.

Personally, I thought it was grand. Not only did we, as a species, put it up there, but actual members of the species are currently living up there! I babbled on for several seconds regarding these intrepid men and women, but to no effect. Unmoved by my sentiment, she muttered a mostly disinterested "cool" and proceeded to question the authenticity of the sighting, believing in the possibility of this brilliantly shining, fast-moving object being nothing more than a common aircraft.

This prompted me (once the ISS faded from view) to go straight to and to pull up the sighting information for proof. Needless to say, it took mere seconds for her to recognize the object for what it was...

Finally, the aforementioned webpage is a great resource for ISS sighting information. Simply enter your country, region, then your city for upcoming viewing times. Speaking of which, I'm off to see the next one here.

Happy viewing everyone.

Posted by The Author | at 7:56 PM | 0 comments