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Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The rogue planet: a short science "crime" story 
(written in Eng?ish)  

Listen to the podcast episode
on Itunes
on Podcast Machine

The place: Sheriff Cosmo's office. 
The characters: cop1 (Sheriff Cosmo); cop2 (Agent McSpace); cop3 (Agent 'CSI' Stern); the rogue planet (CFBDSIRJ214947.2-040308.9); the gang (AB Doradus moving group). 
The background: a group of concerned good citizens – a bunch of astronomers from France and Canada - has reported to the authorities the presence of a suspicious planet which is roaming alone in the interstellar space something like 80-160 light years from Earth. The international group of geeks has snitched last september when its members published a research paper on the journal 'Astronomy&Astrophysics'.
After a long chase, Scheriff Cosmo's men have apprehended the rogue planet, the charge being vagrancy and possession of a false ID card. 
The scene: Agent McSpace and Agent 'CSI' Stern are reporting to Sheriff Cosmo.

A cartoon: the rogue planet lost in space complaining about the bad quality of Apple maps (by sciencemug)
The rogue planet (by sciencemug)
[The picture is adapted from a Public Domain image by sciencemug (source: Wikimedia Commons)]

Agent McSpace- ... It was wandering as reported, besides the suspect had an ID card which stated that it is a brown dwarf, but that's false... 
Sheriff Cosmo- If it's not a brown little cosmic body – I think they prefer to be called like this, McRude – what is it our prisoner? 
Agent 'CSI' Stern- It is probably a 4−7 Jupiter mass free-floating planet with a temperature of about 700 K and a log g of about 4.0, Sheriff. 
SC- Translate for the non-brains, please... 
CSI- Essentially it's not a brown dw... little cosmic body, Sir, but a ball of gass 4 to 7 times more massive than Jupiter, thus 1300 to 2200 times more massive than the Earth, but anyway 4200 to 7300 times less massive than the Sun. 
SC- Ok, in short a big guy among planets and a loser among stars. 
CSI- More or less Sir. 
SC- Go on, what about all those strange parameters you mentioned. 
CSI- What, the temperature and the log g? 
SC- Yeah, that stuff. 
CSI- Well, Sir, the surface temperature of the prisoner is about 700 Kelvin... 
SC- Hey CSI, I'm a Fahrenheit guy... 
CSI- Sorry Sir, it means a bit more than 800 °F. 
McS- Ahem... 
SC- Yes Agent McSpace? 
McS- I'm european on my mother's side, Sir... 
SC- So? 
McS- Well, Sir, I was born and raised according to the SI system... 
SC- Oh for Newton's sake... ok, Stern, convert that Kelvin thing into... what is it McSI? 
McS- Celsius Sir, thank you Sir. 
Stern looks at McSpace and, with a hint of condescension, says- It's a bit less than 430 °C, McEuropean. This means that our prisoner's surface temperature is 8 times lower than our Sun's one, while it's similar to that of Mercury and about 5 times higher then the Jupiter's one. 
SC- What about the log g 4 matter? 
CSI- Oh, right Sir. Log g 4 means that the prisoner's surface gravity is about 10 times higher than Earth's gravity, Sir. 
SC- Gotcha. Anyway, how come that we made acquaintance with this hobo full of gas?
McS- We were 'introduced' each other by Doc Delorme...
SC- Who?
McS- You know him Sir, remember? He's the guy who organized the surveillance initiative we authorized a while ago, the 'Canada-France Brown Dwarfs Survey which searches the sky also in the infra-red wavelenght (CFBDIR)'. He and his pals full of good will contacted us because, during one of the patrols in their space-block, they spotted a cosmic body that was floating alone.
SC- Aah right, right... So our prisoner was, is that body. I see... Well, nothing like a fistful of zealous astronomers to keep our asses informed about the sky, don't you think?
McSpace and Stern smile while nodding.
SC- Anything else gentlemen?
McS- Yes Sir. The prisoner could be affiliated with a gang, the 'AB Doradus moving group'.
CSI- Actually there's an 87% probability of such an affiliation, Sir – points out Stern pretending not to notice McSpace's eye-rolling.
McS- The gang is formed by about thirty co-moving stars. Its leader's a physco, it's been diagnosed with a personality disorder, it's infact a trinary star* (1)... Full name's 'AB Doranus' but everybody calls it 'AB Dor'. It and its other fellas have been spotted for the first time in 2004.
SC- By who, still nosy civilians?
McS- Yes Sir, three space-voyeurs from USA and Australia... They gave us the information in exchange of a one-year free supply of donuts, a pile of autographed pictures of Stephen Hawking and a paper published on 'The Astrophysical Journal'**.
SC- Uhm, fair deal, I'd say... Ok then, these gangsta-moving stars, where do they usually hang out?
CSI- Many of the AB Dor's group members can be found in the northern hemisphere. They are about 15-20 parsec (48-65 light years) away from us, Sir, partially surrounding our Sun (1-2).
SC- Do you think they can become a problem?
McS- No Sir, they're just some random 50-120 million years old youngsters (1). Basically it's only a small flock of star-kids who waste their time loitering around together in the universe.
SC- And our prisoner, how old is it?
CSI- Well, its ID card says it's 20-200 million years old. Anyway it must be 50-120 million years old too, since it's most probably one of the AB Dor's affiliates and they accept only people of their age. 
Sheriff Cosmo stops swinging on his chair and stands up- Alright gentlemen, take the spectral fingerprints of this spherical cosmic little fart, take its mugshot too and file it as 'CFBDSIRJ214947.2-040308.9'. Once the paper work's done, kick the tramp out of here with a warning, there's no point in keeping it in at the expense of the state.
McS- Yes Sir.
CSI- Indeed Sir...

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Immagine di Einstein con scritto "Happy birthday Einstein_14-Mar-1879" (by sciencemug)
Happy birthday Einstein! (by sciencemug)
[The picture of Einstein is adapted from a Public Domain image by sciencemug (source: Wikimedia Commons)]

Guess who said: "Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics, I assure you that mine are greater"... Go here if you want to know more about him and read other quotations of his.

Friday, March 1, 2013


by @sciencemug
by @sciencemug
[The picture of Curiosity is adapted from a Public Domain image by sciencemug (source: Wikimedia Commons)]

Curious about Curiosity (hahahah, I've made a joke...)? Go here!

"CAT'S" is a joint by the way, only the foam of red space-cats hang out at that place... Yes, as you probably already suspected, cats are indeed aliens who a long time ago decided to do humanity 'a favour': to hypnotize it and exploit it. And they did. Quickly. And relentlessly. Then, our new furry lords from outer space thought they had fulfilled their plan and decided to show us their benevolence and to thank their gods with two ancient sacred rituals of theirs: the 'vomit slimy balls of hairs over precious carpets and inside expensive shoes' ritual and the 'sharpen the nails on couches and/or courtains and/or human skin' ritual. In short, humanity's will was annihilated. We were cats' puppets. But in 1935 a man came, his name was Erwin Schroedinger. He was born normal, dominated by cats as the rest of us, only, after an incident with a radioactive book of quantum mechanics, his brain was re-wired so he could overcome the feline hypnosis. Erwin then became conscious of our situation, he rebelled and created a wapon. 
A weapon that finally allowed humanity to fight back.  
A box. 
The rest is history and PiPs passed me the flu so I'm under medications and uuuh, look at that... A huge flock of banana peels is migrating west!