Announcing Astrosphere

As we kick off another trip around the sun, some Friends of Skepchicktm have an exciting new project in the works. It’s called Astrosphere, and it’s a 501(c)(3) fundraising umbrella to support various new media projects in astronomy and science education.

Their stated mission is as follows:

Astrosphere New Media Association is dedicated to promoting science and skeptical thought through internet-based technologies and distribution. We focus our efforts on the creation of technologies and content that enable better astronomy communications and greater astronomy content access for the public. These technologies can take many forms, and include (but are not limited to): blogs, podcasts, social networks, interactive data tools, and community content sites (such as wikis).

Current projects Astrosphere hopes to support include the Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy podcasts, Astronomy Island in Second Life, the Galileoscope educational website, and Beyond2009, which will, among other things, host the archived material from the International Year of Astronomy.

They are just getting off the ground, and they need help to cover basic overhead costs (P.O. boxes, server fees, accounting software, a new computer) to continue operating existing projects, and eventually maybe even to pay the incomparable Dr. Pamela Gay a little bit for all the hard work she’s been doing for free on her own time on all these amazing projects.

So, if you are able, please throw a few dollars to this very worthy cause. Donations are tax deductible. If you can’t help monetarily in these lean times, a tweet or a blog post to help spread the word can go a long way.

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  1. The local amusement park here has a ride called the Astrosphere which consists of a Scrambler covered in blacklight paint in a giant dome with a laser light/projection show on the walls and ELO’s Fire on High blaring. You’re gonna have to do pretty good to top that.

  2. Stellar wind bubble is the astronomical term usually used to describe a cavity light years across filled with hot gas blown into the interstellar medium by the high-velocity (several thousand km/s) stellar wind from a single massive star of type O or B. Weaker stellar winds still blow bubble structures though, and these are also called astrospheres. The heliosphere blown by the solar wind, within which all the major planets of the Solar System are embedded, is in fact a small example of a stellar wind bubble.

    Stellar wind bubbles have a two-shock structure[1]. The freely-expanding stellar wind hits an inner termination shock, where its kinetic energy is thermalized, producing 106 K, X-ray emitting plasma. The hot, high-pressure, shocked wind expands, driving a shock into the surrounding interstellar gas. If the surrounding gas is dense enough (number densities n > 0.1 cm − 3 or so), the swept up gas radiatively cools far faster than the hot interior, itil practice exams, forming a thin, relatively dense shell around the hot, shocked wind.

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