An Open Chatbot for Astronomy: @botastro

Hubot is an open source chatbot created by GitHub. It's used by various companies, groups, and other techie types, to control systems, gather information, and put moustaches on things - all via chat interfaces. Hubot can be adapted to work via IM, GTalk, Twitter, IRC, and other platforms. 'Chat Ops' is a growing trends, and because... Continue Reading →

LSST, Public Data, and NAM Hack Day 2014

Today is the start of the UK National Meeting in Portsmouth. I’ll be there tomorrow, and running the NAM Hack Day on Wednesday with Arfon Smith - which is going to be awesome. Today at NAM, the nation's astronomers will discuss the case for UK involvement in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope project - the LSST. The... Continue Reading →

Orbiting Links

I've added a new section to Orbiting Frog today: Orbiting Links (http://links.orbitingfrog.com). This new page displays an automated set of URLs currently being shared by the astronomers of Twitter. This is a work in progress, but it seems to be producing good results so far. Orbiting Links is created by taking a small set of my favourite astro-Tweeters, and following... Continue Reading →

Make Your Own Spectrometer

Note: This experiment involves sharp objects and should only be performed by children if under supervision. As long as care is taken, this is a fun experiment with effective results. It can be done without the razor blades, but the results are not as good. Spectrometers are used, like prisms, to spread light out into... Continue Reading →

Air Pressure and Coke Cans

I recently did a piece on measuring the speed of light using your microwave. Well here is some more physics you can play with in your kitchen. This time let’s create a vacuum and then use it to crush something. I like crushing things. Don’t we all? What you will need: A regular drinks can... Continue Reading →

Measure the Speed of Light Using Your Microwave

Astronomers studying star formation, like myself, use telescopes that can see though the pretty, optical exteriors of nebulae into the dark interiors where very cold dust radiates in the submillimetre and microwave regimes. Microwaves, fall on the electromagnetic spectrum, between radio waves and infrared waves. They are usually around the size of a few centimetres... Continue Reading →

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