How important is the science in science fiction? I talked to three big thinkers – physicist and philosopher David Deutsch, film-maker Olga Osorio, and scientist turned novelist Gianfranco D’Anna – for a piece in Physics World.
In March 2016 the city of Palu gave an incredible welcome to people from across the world for the Indonesian total solar eclipse. Following last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami in Palu, The New York Times has published some guidance on how to help those affected.
Image: Takobou/Wikimedia Commons
The dynamic Keisuke Tabata, of Kobe Shinwa Women’s University, will be talking about our recent Japan-Indonesia-China-Vietnam project at the annual convention of the Japan Association for Educational Media Study in November. The convention is being held at Kagoshima University on the island of Kyushu.
Our project involved an online movie read-through with university and high-school students. It also featured a workshop on cultural differences, including a discussion of the Lewis Model of communication.
Image: Richard Lewis/CrossCulture
A paper will also be published in the Bulletin of the International Education Research Center at Kobe Shinwa Women’s University. Thank you to Keisuke Tabata and his wonderful students, Ritsuko Anzai (formerly at Amagasaki Kita High School), and the fabulous team at Tadulako University in Palu, Indonesia.
Once again, timeanddate.com put together an amazing global team to cover the lunar eclipse on Friday night/Saturday morning. Company CEO Steffen Thorsen provided sublime telescope images from Santorini in Greece; Matt Woods at the Perth Observatory, and Jerome Jooste at the Old Republic Observatory in Johannesburg, gave us absolutely stunning pictures from Australia and South Africa; and Anne Buckle, Coby Wijnands and the rest of the phenomenal team at timeanddate.com HQ in Stavanger, Norway, pulled everything together – including some gorgeous graphics – in spectacular fashion.
Below is a clip at the end of totality, where Anne and I talked about the turquoise band, and Christopher Columbus…
As part of the build-up to the July 27th/28th total lunar eclipse, Sky & Telescope have published an interview I did with Noah Petro, Project Scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.
We are entering an eclipse season…
The moon’s orbit around the earth is slightly tilted. This means that – for most new moons and full moons – the earth, moon and sun are not aligned, and there is no eclipse.
About every six months, however, the moon’s tilted orbit lines up with the earth’s orbit around the sun. This period lasts for 34 days or so, which means we always have two or three eclipses during this time. In this current eclipse season we have two solar eclipses – which happen at new moon – and one lunar eclipse – which happens at full moon.
The solar eclipses take place near the beginning and end of the season, when the earth, moon and sun are still not perfectly aligned. This means they are small, partial eclipses that are only visible from near the poles. They occur on July 13th and August 11th (maps below, from timeanddate.com).
Partial solar eclipse, July 13th 2018
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Partial solar eclipse, August 11th 2018
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The lunar eclipse, on the other hand, takes place bang in the middle of the season, when the moon, earth and sun are aligned precisely. This gives us a big, total eclipse. In fact, if we throw in the fact that it’s a micromoon (where the moon is slightly further away and moving more slowly than usual), and the earth is at aphelion (its furthest point from the sun, which means its shadow is larger), it will be the longest total lunar eclipse for the next 105 years…
The lunar eclipse takes place on the night of July 27th/28th, and will be visible across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and parts of South America (map below). We’ll once again be providing live coverage on timeanddate.com, with live images from Santorini (Greece), Johannesburg (South Africa) and Perth (Australia) – weather and gremlins permitting, of course ^_^
We are tremendously grateful to Matt Woods and the team at Perth Observatory, and Jerome Jooste and his colleagues at the Old Republic Observatory in Johannesburg.
Total lunar eclipse, July 27th/28th 2018
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Did you know (1)…?
During the total phase of the eclipse, the moon will turn a reddish colour as light is filtered and bent through the earth’s atmosphere.
Did you know (2)…?
On the night of July 27th, the moon will appear to be next-door to Mars in the night sky (image below, from EarthSky).
Did you know (3)…?
On the same day, Mars will be at opposition, which is near its closest approach to the earth. In other words, the red planet will be shining brightly next-door to a red moon. So get reddy for a spectacular sight. (Sorry, I mean, get ready.)
My University of Shiga Prefecture (USP) colleague Dr Maki Taniguchi and I have been awarded a scientific research grant by the Japanese government. The grant (kakenhi number 18K00874) is worth 1.56 million yen over three years.
The goal of our research is to help people become better language-learners through personal goal-setting. Our “toolkit” is CEFR-J, the Japanese version of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which takes the complex process of learning a language and breaks it down into a series of manageable steps. We are working with university students and high schools to investigate how the CEFR framework can help individuals take responsibility and ownership of their language education, and boost lifelong learning.
Maki will be presenting a summary of our initial findings at this year’s conference of the International Society for Language Studies, which is being held at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada from June 28th to 30th.
Maki and I are enormously grateful to seven of our fabulous USP colleagues who helped us carry out a survey of first-year students at the end of last semester: Carl Boland, Armando Duarte, Walter Klinger, Yuichi Nishizawa, Hatsumi Seki, Ashley Stevens and Aya Yoshida (now at Kyoto University). Thank you!
Image credit: Andy Jamieson/Wikimedia Commons
The highlight of our live coverage of yesterday’s total lunar eclipse on timeanddate.com were the jaw-droppingly beautiful images from the Perth Observatory: a huge, huge thank you to Matt Woods, Roger Groom, Ken Stranger, Francesca Flynn and the rest of the brilliant team in Western Australia.
Below is the segment of our live coverage that covered the time of maximum eclipse.
Thank you also to Ed Krupp and his wonderful team at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, who provided us with stunning images from a northern hemisphere perspective.
Also, many thanks to Susumu Takahashi at the Dynic Astropark near Kyoto. Sadly, the weather was not kind to us here in Japan, but Takahashi-san did manage to capture this photo through the clouds near the time of maximum eclipse:
The next total lunar eclipse will be around six months from now on July 27th/28th.
On January 31st 2018 – for the first time time since September 2015 – the moon, earth and sun will become aligned and produce a total lunar eclipse. Across Asia and Australia the event will be visible after sunset; in North America, on the other side of the international date line, it will be visible before sunrise.
Once again, I’ll be part of timeanddate.com’s live coverage of the event. I’ll be at the Dynic Astropark, about 50 km north-east of Kyoto. We’re also hoping to have live feeds from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, and the Perth Observatory in Western Australia.
UPDATE (January 29th): here at our location in Japan, the weather forecast for January 31st is not good…
My latest article for Sky & Telescope begins 2,500 years ago in ancient Babylon, and ends with next week’s total lunar eclipse.