Analytics

GPS Tracking

I recently downloaded an app on my Android phone that logs GPS coordinates as I’m traveling. I was a bit unsure how well it would work, but a few test drives proved that it’s quite capable, at least in areas where cell phone coverage is good. I live in the Phoenix, Arizona area, and go hiking in South Mountain Park quite often. Since the park is just south of the metro area, and one of the mountains is peppered with cell phone towers, coverage is very good there. So I gave the phone a try, tracking my progress around a two and a half mile hike over relatively easy terrain. I then exported the data from the web-site where it is stored, converted it to KML format so that Google Earth could read it in, and plotted my path. The screenshot below shows the track I took, the elevation that…

Science Fiction

Pulp Fiction Lives On

I must have read the John Carter Martian series back when I was in high school, or maybe junior high, and even then they were old. Now Disney is releasing a movie of one of the stories, complete with the four-armed Tars Tarkas and lovely Dejah Thoris. When I first saw the trailer on television a week or so ago, I was taken by the coolness of the special effects, but didn’t make the connection with Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ characters until near the end. I must admit I’m loving the ability of Hollywood to go back to classic science fiction novels, and armed with an array of CGI technologies, bring even the most unusual characters and settings to life. And with a dozen or so titles in the Martian series, if this first one does well, perhaps we’ll see more of the next world out in our solar system from…

Analytics, Astronomy

Kepler-22b

With the new Kepler telescope findings having hit the news-feeds this month, I thought I would post an update to my original data. The tally of Kepler planetary candidates now stands at 2,326, with one particularly noteworthy find: Kepler-22b. Also known as Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) 87.01, or Kepler Input Catalog ID 10593626, this planet deserves special attention, as it is one of the first confirmed planets that resides within the habitable zone of its star. At only 2.4 times Earth’s diameter, and with an orbital period of around 290 days, it seems to be a pretty close match to the Earth. The Kepler web-site has a nice article describing the planet, with the image below showing how it stacks up against the inner planets in our own solar system. NASA Mission Page – Kepler (image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech) After reading about the new planet, and trying to find the raw…