Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Podcast: Exploring Space with Your Computer

My podcast for the IYA 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast series is up today. It's called "Exploring Space with Your Computer" and it introduces the free Orbiter space flight simulator and Stellarium, a free planetarium simulation program. It also briefly mentions several other free programs that are available for exploring space on your computer, including Celestia and WorldWide Telescope. I've documented the simulated flights in the podcast with a bunch of screenshots and I've placed those images in a Flickr set "IYA Podcast 4/14/09" for easy viewing.

In the podcast, I mention that further information will be available on this blog, and that is true - since 2005, I have written extensively here about Orbiter, and occasionally about Stellarium and other free programs and web sites for space exploration and astronomy.

In addition, I have a downloadable PowerPoint presentation called "Robots, Astronauts, and You: Exploring Space with a Computer." This 51-slide presentation covers a lot of the same material as the podcast but with more depth (and pictures). This is a version of a presentation I often use in my talks as a JPL Solar System Ambassador.

If you heard the podcast and have any questions about Orbiter or the other things I discuss, feel free to post them as comments here and I will try to answer.

And as I say in the podcast, you don't need a telescope or a spaceship to go play in space.

Web Links
I just saw the script for my podcast on the 365 Days of Astronomy web site, and unfortunately the links I added at the end of the script are not included (they also didn't mention the podcast background music, which I composed and performed). Here are the links:


Jacek Kupras said...

It was nice to hear you. Good idea. Good scenario. Well done.

Desh said...

Hi Mr. Flying Singer !

I was glad to find your astronomy site http://flyingsinger.blogspot.com as I was wandering through the blogosphere of Astronomy. Since I also share the astronomy field (I am an amateur astronomer from Sri Lanka), I could literally obtain a great knowledge from your pages. I appreciate the time and efforts that you have taken to build up the blog into such a higher standard.

I am happy to inform you that I also maintain an astronomy blog, especially dedicated to IYA 2009 at http://iya2009sl.blogspot.com I update the periodic IYA 2009 and astronomy happenings in Sri Lanka in addition to providing visitors a worldwide scope on IYA 2009 and Astronomy news.

In order to provide my visitors more information and knowledge, I decided to connect with your valuable and resourceful blog. Therefore I want to get your permission to put your link on my blog.

Meantime I would be obliged if you could put a link from your blog http://flyingsinger.blogspot.com to my blog in return. This will also let me to have more audience at the same time.

As I mentioned above my link is http://iya2009sl.blogspot.com and I'm waiting for your reply to be informed about the issue.

Thank you very much for your time amidst busy schedules.

I take this opportunity to wish you all the best for your career and future endeavors!

Yours sincerely,

J D Prasanna Deshapriya

outerhoard said...

I use Starstrider (www.starstrider.com) which isn't free, but does offer a free trial.

Actually, I haven't really used it since my old CRT monitor stopped working. I currently have an LCD monitor (because that's all the shops sell these days) and it turns out that Starstrider sucks on LCD.

The problem is the blacks. You just can't get proper blacks on LCD, not when every other light in the room is switched off as they must be to create that proper observing atmosphere. It totally spoils the illusion when behind the starfield you're looking at is not blackness but an ugly silvery sheen.

I really want to get another CRT monitor from somewhere (surely there are a few second hand ones around with plenty of life in them) so that I can explore a realistic-looking universe on my computer again.

Do you have any thoughts to add about monitors for astronomy enthusiasts?