Tracing the Sun’s family tree

Its been two weeks since my last post – I was busy finalizing my next research article and it is now ready for publication. The days were flying along. My daily routine goes something like this: drive my 4yr old to kinder in the morning, then go to work, most mornings go quickly if there are talks and meetings, then lunch, by 2pm back to kinder to pick up my son, return home for a quick milk feed for the baby, and back at office for the afternoon before going home. At home, once the kids are asleep I spend the evenings doing some work too – for how late depends on the work and if there are any deadlines!! The weekends are even busier with the house work, and I need to spend some time with my family too…

Videos of talks

A post about videos of talk today… 

Last week, I mentioned that I gave a talk at SETI Institute, my host institution on my research about my research in the field of multiple asteroid systems. The talk was recorded and it can be seen on line on the SETI website or directly here. You can subscribe to the lecture video channel (and know when a new video is available) via iTunes or RSS. 

Night talk under the starlight

“Nasir rolled over on his back, with my glasses, and began to study the stars, counting aloud first one group and then another; crying out with surprise at discovering little lights not noticed by his unaided eye. Auda set us on to talk of telescopes – of the great ones – and of how man in three hundred years had so far advanced from his first essay that now he built glasses as long as a tent, through which he counted thousands of unknown stars. ‘And the stars – what are they?’ We slipped into talk of suns beyond suns, sizes and distance beyond wit. ‘What will now happen with this knowledge?’ asked Mohammed. ‘We shall set to, and many learned and some clever men together will make glasses as more powerful than ours, as ours than Galileo’s; and yet more hundreds of astronomers will distinguish and reckon yet more thousands of now unseen stars, mapping them, and giving each one its name. When we see them all, there will be no night in heaven.'”

Fragment taken from “Seven Pillars of Wisdom“, T.E. Lawrence

The Phoenix mission on Mars


Yesterday at UC-Berkeley, I attended a talk given by Peter Smith, PI of the the Phoenix mission. Peter gave us an overview of the mission, its concept and a few information about the scientific results. A serie of articles will be most likely published soon in a special issue of Science, so i will not go through the scientific results in  details in this post. To summarize them and to impress people during your next dinner, you should know that the mission allows the detection of water ice in the soil, shows the absence of sulfate on the surface but the presence of a weird salt called perchlorate and detected falling snow in the atmosphere. More details can be found in the wikipedia web page which is quite impressive in quality and completeness. The team is using the remaining funding to analyze gigabytes of data/images which were received, so more discoveries will be announced in the following months and years. The key result is that no life was detected in the Arctic soil of Mars. 🙂

Space junk!

I’m sure most readers who follow the Cosmic Diary blogs heard about the satellite collision last week. Thankfully, the experts are saying that the debris poses little risk to the astronomers currently living in the ISS and that the next shuttle launch–currently scheduled for no earlier than Feb. 27–shouldn’t be affected. This collision mishap has

Talk at SETI today – Tomorrow at UC-Berkeley


I have just given my talk at SETI Institute. I don’t know why it is more stressful to give a talk in your host institution than somewhere else. 🙂 Anyway it went quite well since I talked about my recent work for the study of multiple asteroid systems. This is one of the most interesting works I have done over the last 6 years. I am glad I found a way to summarize it in a concise and logical way.

And the Debate Continues ..

It has been 400 years since Galileo observed the sky with the telescope, and since that time, the way people look at the sky shifted. In the case: which one is accepted as true in scientific notion, is it Heliocentric or Geocentric? But i will not write about the historical review of Helio-Geocentric, nor Galileo. Nonetheless, after 400 years, the debate about helio-geocentric still ensues, at least in Indonesia.

In 2007 i wrote a popular articles about which one is true based on astronomy finding (written in Indonesia), To my surprise, that article incite a never ending debate about geocentric & heliocentric. There are numerous argument flying around, but from what i have learnt, the case against the heliocentric (or pro geocentric) mostly stemmed from the lack of basic understanding of science. Disregard that both helio or geocentric can be accepted because to some degree both are explainable, and science cannot claim absolute knowledge, science is always open to falsification. So the case is not pro or against one or the other, but to give the proper understanding about the phenomenon.

As for Galileo, his endeavor to uncover the knowledge, is like the astronomers from the ancient time up to the recent, always try to unveil the universe in the scientific understanding, so it is always open to debate, because while they uncover some new knowledge, another mystery wait to be answered. Long ago human perceived that the Earth is the center to the universe, but they have to move the center to the Sun. But , we learn that there is no center of the universe, as the Sun also moves to the center of the Milkyway Galaxy, and that our galaxy is merely one from many many galaxies in the universe, and so on and so on. Well, that is the legacy of astronomy, to unveil the mystery of the universe that we know (and not fully understand yet). One can argue about one thing compared to another, and the debate continues ..

But, wait! Am i discussing about the debate of helio-geocentric? well yes, because on Feb 15th is the Galileo’s birthday, but there are other debatable issues that i found interesting to write.